When, if ever, should Canadian Jewish organizations publicly criticize Israel?

As a country of sharply divided opinions, Israel is no stranger to public demonstrations, protests or rallies—but this year has been different. Israelis have been taking to the streets, decrying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial judicial reform plans, for eight straight months. The debate, meanwhile, has bled beyond the country’s borders, seeping into Diaspora communities—and Canada is no exception.

Canadian communal Jewish organizations have been subsequently thrust into a difficult position. Should they voice rare public criticism of Israel and its government, or keep quiet and let Israelis sort out their own affairs? Underscoring both options is a deeper dilemma: Given how divided even Jewish Canadians are on the topic, on whose behalf do these organizations speak? Either road can quickly lead to blowback.

In the second episode of Five Questions About Israel, a podcast miniseries hosted and sponsored by Dan Brotman of the Windsor Jewish Federation and Yaron Deckel of the Jewish Agency for Israel, we bring on three expert guests to opine on the topic. Rabbi Harry Brechner is the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanu-El in Victoria, B.C.; Limor Friedman is an Israeli-born journalist and entrepreneur in Vancouver, B.C.; and Shai DeLuca is an interior designer and TV personality.