World Jewry is blessed with many things. Among those blessings are our leaders in public office and the private sector.
In the public sector, we are blessed with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, who has fought on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People on the battlefield, in the Knesset, at the United Nations and in countless political arenas. His pedigree is proven, in that his brother made the ultimate sacrifice in 1976 when rescuing Jewish hostages at Entebbe who were hijacked by Palestinian terrorists.
In the private sector, we are blessed with Canadian philanthropists such as Barry Sherman, chairman and CEO of Apotex, who has reportedly donated tens of millions of dollars to many worthwhile Jewish charities and causes. He and his wife, Honey, have been active, dedicated and generous supporters of Israel and causes important to the Jewish People.
At this time, Netanyahu is sparing no effort to peacefully persuade the world to help prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal, which he believes poses not just a military threat, but an existential threat to the State of Israel and its Jewish, and other, inhabitants.
The prime minister is so convinced that Israel is facing a mortal danger that he has diverted much of his time and attention from his country’s many economic and social issues in order to change the minds of world leaders. In this respect, he is being joined by leaders of other political parties in Israel.
The United States and other world powers have decided to end their sanctions on Iran in return for its promise to slow down its nuclear research and ambitions. Netanyahu does not trust Iran and strenuously opposes this deal. His opinion is informed by his battles with terrorist groups funded by Iran and the wealth of data made available to him by his intelligence advisers.
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is arguably the most outspoken friend and supporter of Israel currently on the world stage. His government has decided to keep those sanctions in place, at least for now, notwithstanding what the other major world powers have decided to do. His foreign affairs minister, Rob Nicholson, issued a statement saying that Canada “will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words.”
In contrast, Barry and Honey Sherman, are hosting a fundraiser Aug. 26 at their home for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, whose party “welcomes this deal.” Trudeau is seeking to unseat Harper in the federal election on Oct. 19. By throwing support behind Trudeau and inviting others to follow him, Sherman is, in effect, seeking to unseat Harper and promote a deal that another Jewish leader, Netanyahu, contends puts Israel’s very existence at risk.
Netanyahu and Sherman are pulling their Jewish supporters in opposite directions. Which leader should Canadian Jews follow?
Many have openly spoken and written against the Shermans’ support for the Liberals, arguing that Netanyahu knows best and that Harper is owed our support. An invited guest wrote to the Shermans, rejecting their invitation and urging them to reconsider.
The Jewish Defence League of Canada has, not surprisingly, decided to trust Netanyahu and follow his lead. They will be picketing outside of the Sherman residence, hoping to persuade other invited guests to reconsider their support of the Liberals and to stand firmly and supportively behind one of Israel’s closest friends and ally, Stephen Harper.
This will not be a protest against the generous work of the Shermans and their philanthropic accomplishments. It will be a protest against a political party that is supportive of a deal considered dangerous for Israel and world Jewry.
I will be joining the protest, because I have no reason to doubt Netanyahu, and I have every reason in the world to support Harper.
Guidy Mamann is an immigration lawyer in Toronto.