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Partners for Imperium:

Bnai Brith Canada and the Christian Right

By Stephen Scheinberg
Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and inde-
fensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend
Hagees endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well.
John McCain, Republican presidential candidate.

Do we still need to point out that [for Hagee and his associates] Jesus
can return only after Armageddon and to this end it is best if Israel
continues to be at war? Hagee and his lobby is not impartial. [they]
reject the two-state solution [and] direct their funding and assis-
tance toward a clear political agenda in Israel.
Colette Avital, Labour MK
and former presidential candidate in Israel.

We [Jews] and Israel are not alone because of you and the tremendous
leadership of Dr. McVety and Dr. Hagee.
Frank Dimant, Executive VP of
Frank Dimant, Executive Vice-President of Bnai Brith Canada. Bnai Brith Canada.

ohn McCain, who in the 2000 primaries actively However, like most of the major volunteer organiza-

J opposed the Christian right for their intolerance,


vigorously sought their support eight years later,
only to have to soon disown it. The remarks of
Reverend John Hagee, attacking the Catholic
tions, the membership of the lodges began to
sharply decline. It was the phenomenon that Pro-
fessor Robert Putnam refers to in his book Bowling
Alone. That is, the bowling leagues and other such
Church and Muslims, or saying that Hurricane activities of voluntary associations no longer
Katrina was Gods retribution for homosexual sin, attracted the younger people who were working
were not the precipitating comments. When a longer hours and preferred enhanced home enter-
recording was produced of Hagee stating that God tainment (a phenomenon called cocooning). Espe-
had sent Adolph Hitler to help the Jews reach the cially when there were two working parents, main-
Promised Land, this proved too much for McCain to taining organizational activity became more diffi-
stomach. i Yet here in Canada, Bnai Brith, led by cult. ii
Frank Dimant, carries on an active association As its membership declined, Bnai Brith cast off
with Hagees close Canadian associates, who are Hillel, the camps and BBYO which then all looked
cut from the same clerical cloth. Their alliance is to the Jewish federations for funding. One excep-
based on a common outlook of what they believe is tion to this trend has been Bnai Brith senior hous-
good for Israel and to a lesser extent, on a common ing, which operates buildings in Toronto and Mon-
social conservative political agenda linking them to treal. In this case, generous government grants
the Conservative Party. make it possible for BBC to leverage relatively small
contributions into worthwhile projects. Yet for the
most part BBC, despite the adept use of publicity,
is no longer an important organization in Canada.
Bnai BrithFrom Pluralism to Partisanship
Forty or fifty years ago BBC (Bnai Brith Canada) BBCs great loss has been in membership, with
was a major membership organization. It had many of those who persist being octa- and nonage-
lodges and institutions that it sponsored from one narians. One exception to this would be members
end of Canada to the other. The Hillel campus of sports lodges who have little or no connection to
foundations, Bnai Brith Camps, and the Bnai BBC affairs, other than the convenience it affords
Brith Youth Organization were all part of this them in access to facilities and leagues. I think it is
endeavor. Annual conventions were important fair to say that there are only a few active BBC
events, often held in a Catskill resort, and some- lodges remaining in all of Canada, and the scope of
times they even featured vigorous election contests. their activities is limited by the age of members and
DR. STEPHEN SCHEINBERG is Professor Emeritus in History,
diminishing financial resources.
Concordia University. He currently serves as co-Chair of Canadian Presiding over Bnai Briths declining fortunes
Friends of Peace Now. He was a long-time national officer of B'nai since 1978 has been Executive Vice-President
Brith, including two terms as Chair of The League for Human Frank Dimant, the son of Holocaust survivors who
Rights. He resigned his post as National VP and Chair of the was born in Munich just after the war. Dimant
Montreal Executive last year.
continued on following page

July/Aug. 2008/ 5
matured within Montreals Betar, the extreme right- ing, with a bare quorum, Dimant introduced a reso-
wing Jewish youth group associated with the Revi- lution to forge an alliance with the Christian right
sionist-Zionist movement of Zeev Jabotinsky and in Canada. Knowing something of their American
Menachem Begin. Revisionism advocated an Israel counterparts, I challenged the motion, but was the
on both sides of the Jordan (that is, including only one to do so. I turned to well-known Liberal
much of todays Jordan). Jabotinsky, with his human rights lawyer David Matas of Winnipeg, but
famed Iron Wall concept, also believed in a persis- he was not similarly alarmed, perhaps because his
tent battle with the lands occupants, and was hos- own unabashedly pro-Israel position was consistent
tile to socialism. Some in the movement even flirted with such an alliance, or perhaps he did not share
with fascism and Mussolini, but so did many other my fears. Dimant and others tried to assure me
Jews.1 Several of Dimants Betar associates made that the alliance was only for Israel advocacy.
aliyah, especially to the West Bank settlement of I soon learned that was not the case. One day I
Ariel, where Dimants friend Montrealer Dina Shalit received a phone call from NDP MP Svend Robin-
is assistant to the mayor and major fund-raiser. son, inviting me as Chair of the League for Human
Ariel has enjoyed millions of dollars of support from Rights to come to Ottawa to testify in favour of his
Hagee and his fellows. bill to include gays and lesbians among those pro-
Dimant took his present position thirty years tected from hate speech. I readily agreed, because
ago, an extremely long tenure in such a position it had always been BBC policy to support their
but testifying to his skill at wielding power. He dis- inclusion, but I was in for a surprise. It was clear
tributes offices and awards, and even helps his loy- that the main group opposed to Robinsons bill was
al followers gain places in Bnai Brith International, the Christian right, and that BBC, that is Mr.
organizes meetings with government officials, and Dimant, would not support the bill without protec-
also has ties to the Conservative Party, which could tion being given to the speech of anti-gay clergy. I,
help secure a nomination for parliament. At least though much embarrassed, had to notify Robinson
two of his followers, to my knowledge, have nomi- that I was unable to appear at the hearings as a
nations for the next election. representative of BBC. It would have been a good
In the 1980s, when I first came to BBC, attracted time to resign, but perhaps mistakenly, I hung in.
by its work for human rights, it was a pluralistic Meanwhile, Dimant received a honourary doctor-
organization. Around the League for Human Rights ate from the Canada Christian College, but unlike
table I found mostly liberalsa few, such as myself, most recipients of such degrees, he often uses the
with more activist backgroundsand a sprinkling title Dr. Joint tours of Israel, exchanges of speak-
of conservatives. Most of the conservatives were ers and of course mutual support of the Conserva-
part of the other side of BBC political work, the tive Party have furthered the linkage. The anti-gay,
Institute for International Affairs, and since most of anti-feminist, pro-censorship stance of Reverend
that groups work was Israel advocacy, it was where Charles McVety of the Canada Christian College did
Dimants own Betar views predominated. I think not seem to bother Dimant, who heads a League for
many, like myself, in the League accepted this, Human Rights.
believing that the Institute was Frank Dimants A key person in furthering the alliance was
small corner of Bnai Brith, but unfortunately that Joseph Ben-Ami, a bearded, pleasant individual
corner has become what todays Bnai Brith is all and an Orthodox Jew who took on the role of BBCs
about. government affairs representative in Ottawa. He
The League for Human Rights had, since its had worked previously for Stephen Harper and
founding, liberals as its directors, first journalist then for Stockwell Day as a policy aide, and played
and social democrat Sol Littman, and then active a leading role in Days leadership campaign. I
Liberals Rev. Roland de Corneille and Alan Sheff- believe that Ben-Ami was central to the effort to
man. An outstanding human rights expert, Dr. build this alliance. He would go on to work for two
Karen Mock, headed the League during much of my of the numerous front organizations established by
tenure. To be sure, Dr. Mock often had to fight Rev. McVetythe Canadian Centre for Policy Stud-
Dimant to maintain her programs and finances, but ies and the Institute for Canadian Values.iv
she did so much to raise BBCs profile and bring in McVety seems to believe that his multiple groups
grants that Dimant did not threaten the people she will further the belief in the power and influence of
had gathered around her. Frankly, there was also the Christian right here in Canada. According to a
a certain shared sentiment between those of us in 2006 article in Walrus, McVetys Institute was
the League and Frank Dimant. We, as well as established as a direct riposte to bill C-38 which
Dimant, resented those community machers who legalized same-sex marriage.v
might prefer to smooth matters over rather than to In any event, McVety and some of his pastoral
confront anti-Semitism in an uncompromising colleagues, especially Reverends John Tweedie and
fashion. It was something that the right and left Dean Bye, became favoured speakers at BBC
had in common.iii events. They helped create the illusion that, at long
Beginning of the Alliance 1Italian Jews were over-represented in Mussolinis March on
This state of pluralism in Bnai Brith lasted until Rome. Professor George Mosse, one of the leading experts on
about five years ago. (It has now been totally elimi- Nazism, once stated that given the opportunity, many Ger-
man Jews would have become Nazis. Italian and German
nated with the expulsion of eight dissenting mem- Jews were not that much different from other Italians or Ger-
berssee sidebar.) At a rump national board meet- mans. Steve Scheinberg

6 / Outlook
last, Canadian churches were giving
their unconditional support to Israel. Bnai Brith Expulsions
The truth of the matter is that they do
not represent the mainstream denomi-
nations; they are only (fortunately) a
T
here has been a less political movement within the ranks of
minority faction among Canadian evan-
Bnai Brith , pitting some of its rank-and-file members against
gelicals. It is the Evangelical Fellow-
Frank Dimant and his board. The board has now expelled eight
ship of Canada that represents three
dissidents who prefer to style themselves whistle-blowers. Their
million Canadians, and McVetys
ranks include at least three former national presidents of the organi-
denomination and church are not part
zation, Harvey Crestohl of Montreal, Morley Wolf of Toronto and one
of it. According to Don Hutchinson, a
of the most honoured volunteers in the history of BBC, Lou Ronson,
director of the Fellowship: Theres a
who is now 93 years old. Lou is a thoughtful, and distinguished indi-
broad spectrum on the evangelical
vidual who joined BBC back in 1939, was a Vice-Chair of the Ontario
meter. Charles may be representative of
Human Rights Commission and has undertaken countless community
one end, probably one extreme end of
responsibilities. Dimants paranoia seems unlimited. Can one imag-
that spectrum. vi Certainly, they are at
ine purge trials in any other Canadian volunteer associationshades
the extreme end on Israel affairs, at
of Joseph Stalin! Almost all of the objects of the purge have stronger
least in Canada, and even in the U.S.
and longer associations with Bnai Brith than Dimant and his chosen
many evangelical leaders, in July 2007,
board. Certainly Dimant & Co. might have taken another course
declared that both Israelis and Pales-
that of tolerating internal dissent as long as the discourse remained
tinians have legitimate rights stretching
civil and not libelousbut toleration is not in their vocabulary.
back for millennia to the lands of
At this point the dissidents are now heading towards a civil
Israel/Palestine. Both Israelis and
process. They are demanding audited financial statements and mem-
Palestinians have committed violence bership records and claim that as a public corporation, BBC must
and injustice against each other. The produce them. It is likely that this action might wind up in the
only way to bring the tragic cycle of vio- courts, but that would be expensive for the individuals, while Dimant
lence to an end is for Israelis and Pales- would be able to draw on the individual and corporate contributions
tinians to negotiate a just, lasting which sustain not only BBC but also his own substantial salary, which
agreement that guarantees both sides goes unreported. Imagine if those who bought tables at Bnai Brith
viable, independent, secure states (let- dinners (the major source of BBC funding) knew that their contribu-
ter to New York Times, July 29, 2007, tions would be used to subvert internal democracy.
signed by 34 evangelical leaders). The internal political issue is not ideological but rather a battle for
control of the organization. The dilemma of Dimant and the Bnai
Brith board is that they would like to be more like the Anti-Defama-
The Canadian Dispensationalists
McVety and his associates are asso-
tion League (ADL) in the U.S., governed by a macherocracy (big

ciated with the dispensationalist brand


donors and their hangers-on) or for that matter like CJC-CIJA. The

of the evangelical movement, a group-


problem in achieving that end is that Bnai Brith Canada does not

ing sometimes termed Christian Zion-


have ADLs credibility in research, human rights programming, and

ists. They are fundamentalists, believ-


staffing to merit respect on such grounds. BBC is a membership

ing in the authority of an error-free


organization burdened with a constitution and legal responsibilities

scripture and opposed to abortion


attached to that status. Meanwhile, Bnai Brith continues to portray
access, gay marriage, or use of embry-
itself as a representative body of Canadian Jews, while it denies the
onic stem cells for medical research,
right of those it supposedly represents to a role in the governance
while favouring traditional roles for
of the organization. CJC , the one-time parliament of Canadian
women and protection of the public
Jewry, was never really a membership organization, but BBC was
from what they deem to be pornogra-
and is. It cannot claim to represent a large section of Canadian Jews
phy. In addition to their fundamental-
while trying to strip them of any voice. Who, then, will it represent
ism, the dispensational premillenarians
some wealthy Jewish Tories?
believe that God has related to his chil-
The board purports to operate under a constitution that was never
dren through a series of covenants or
properly approved, according to the dissidents. Bnai Brith Interna-
dispensations, including Gods original
tionals court, a not very judicial body, issued a one-paragraph deci-
covenant with Israel, which remains in
sion supporting Dimant and his board, although the dissidents had
effect. In the words of theologian
submitted a lengthy and documented appeal which surely deserved
Stephen Sizer, they believe that the
not only a full hearing but a more thorough rebuttal. It is probable
boundaries of the land promised to
that the court did not want to disturb or interfere in the operations
Abraham and his descendants will be
of one of its constituent groups.
literally instituted [my emphasis] and
Democracy is in short supply in Jewish organizational life, and
that Jesus Christ will return to a literal
there are both important social and individual forces undermining it.
and theocratic Jewish kingdom cen-
CJC went through a process of having a group of representatives
tered on Jerusalem. Of course, this
declare they would be irrelevant to future decision-making. BBC
will only follow on a great apocalypse, with its latest purge trials carry us and our community to new
the battle of Armageddon and other depths, as a group supposedly dedicated to uniting brothers and sis-
such benign events which the dispen- ters of the covenant has now purged some of its brothers and sisters
continued on following page
without the least regard for natural justice.

July/Aug. 2008/ 7
sationalists, following Gods word, are mandated to terror and destruction. Even George W. Bush
implement.vii would have problems with that formulation.
The appeal of these extremist Christians to the Reverend Byes Return Ministries features a
Jewish right is obvious, since the prophecies of the rather strange Aliyah department. Now, many
former cannot be implemented until the return of Jewish organizations have such departments, but
all the Jewish people to all the lands of ancient what is a Christian ministry doing in the business
Israel. Perhaps the Tigris and Euphrates are in of encouraging and supporting Jews who will emi-
their sight. Thus Dimant, the follower of the rather grate to Israel? It is estimated, Bye continues,
secular Zeev Jabotinsky, but himself an Orthodox that upwards of six million Jewish people are still
Jew, embraces the support of those who will join dwelling (or sleeping like Jonah) in North America.
with him in the fight to preserve all the settlements, That is, North American Jews must recognize they
illegal outposts and, if possible, all the Palestinian must all return to Israel and he warns: the time
lands of the West Bank. No matter that the agenda of the U.S.A. being a safe haven for the Jews has
of Canadas Christian right is totally at variance ended! I am not sure whether Bye is making a
with the values held by most Canadian Jews or threat or a promise, but his reading of the signs is
probably even many of those who remain in the that 9/11, Katrina and the evacuation of 5000
depleting ranks of Bnai Brith. Jews from New Orleans, Hurricane Rita, and the
Canadian dispensationalist clergy are part of evacuation of Jews from Houston, all indicate that
Hagees Christians United for Israel and claim to this is the time for them to leave North America. He
have taken a lead in establishing that organization, adds that we dont throw them overboard [like Jon-
beginning with a telephone call from ah] but lovingly assist them home to
McVety to Hagee in November of 2005 The agenda of Israel. I believe that Byes implicit
to notify him that there would be a
Toronto Night to Honour Israel the
Canadas Christian judgment, then, is that like Jonah
North American Jews have turned
following May. Hagee is said to have right is totally at their backs on God and must recog-
replied that theres no reason why we nize that their only true home is in
cant do the same thing in every major Israel. Unfortunately for Dean Bye,
variance with the
city of North America. Subsequently, values held by most most of the Jewish community has
on February 7, 2006, 400 pastors and not responded to his generous propos-
others joined together at Hagees Cor- al that they leave their homes for
Canadian Jews.
nerstone Church to establish Chris- aliyah to Israel.ix
tians United for Israel with Christian rightist lead- Bye is echoed by the Rev. John Tweedie of Brant-
ers Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson prominently ford, Ontario, who is the chairman of Christians
includedviii and with Charles McVety named United for Israel International, which links the
National Chairman for Canada. Others in the Cana- American movement of Hagee, Pat Robertson, the
dian group are John Howarth (Executive Director), Falwell brothers and Rod Parsley to their foreign
who is on the faculty of McVetys college, Reverend sympathizers. Tweedie recently told a Jewish audi-
John Tweedie of Brampton (National Chairman) ence: God will help Gentile neighbours to help
and Reverend Dean Bye of Centralia, Ontario. Jews to come home. The Jewish listeners probably
It might be instructive to look in some detail at didnt even get it, that Tweedie, like Bye, was say-
the ideas of some of these Christian right leaders ing that their real home was not in Canada but in
who have collaborated with Bnai Brith, such as the Israel. Later he earned their applause, criticizing
Reverend Dean Bye, who heads the aptly named the evacuation from Gaza and contending that
Return Ministries. Byes brand of theology is best Israel cannot pull out anymore.x This was, of
revealed in a 2006 article Weathering the Times. course, the same uncompromising position of all
He takes as his text the ordeal of Jonah, which he the dispensationalists who require all the lands of
interprets as Jonah turning his back on God and ancient Israel for their prophecies to unfold.
fleeing on board ship to Tarshish, but Jonah was In an article for the Evangelical Christian Maga-
tossed overboard (to be swallowed by a great fish) zine Tweedie further expounded his beliefs in an
because he was the cause of the great tempest article Why Israel? What Time is It? Tweedie
which beset the ship. Throughout history, writes employs the well-known Doomsday Clock of the
Bye, the weather has been one means which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists which the scientists
LORD has used to remind man that He is God and utilize to express the dangers threatening
to call man to the attention of the times. Like humankind, now including climate change as well
Hagee he attributes recent natural disasters to God as nuclear incineration. But Tweedie uses it in
calling mans attention to the times and their sins, quite another way: If these experts suggest the
including most prominently the conceding of world is moving closer to Doomsday, then what
Israels most extensive land claims: although time is it on the prophetic calendar? His answer is
America, along with many other nations, stands that it signifies that the signs point inevitably to
guilty of a multitude of sins, pressuring Israel to Armageddon but unlike those of us who are alert-
divide Gods land is a terrifying example of blatant ed by the clock to prevent disaster, Tweedie com-
arrogance and lack of respect for His covenant with forts his flock with the words of scripture: And you
Israel. Such pressure invites weather patterns will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that
that bring devastation. The Roadmap to Peace in you are not frightened for those things must take
the Middle East has, in fact, become a roadmap to
continued on page 37

8 / Outlook May/June 2008/ 8


was an opponent of the Court It is no surprise that Reverend
Challenges Program, and the McVety also has close ties to the
IMPERIUM...

government obliged him and oth- Conservative Party. Liberal MP


Continued from page 8

place, but that is not yet the end er social conservatives by cancel- Garth Turner claimed that
Even the rise of Hamas and ing it.xiii Incidentally, Bnai McVety told him that he can call
Hezbullah are welcomed for Brith had always favoured this and get Prime Minister Harper on
even these developments can be program, which allowed womens the phone within minutes. Turn-
seen as fitting into the prophetic groups, visible minorities and er may not have accurately cap-
timetable. Tweedie does not others without access to large tured McVetys remark, but it is
similarly welcome either efforts sums of money to launch Char- surely true that he has influence.
to divide Jerusalem or establish ter challenges. A good many of the partys candi-
a Palestinian state, directly criti- McVety and Dimants most dates in the last election were
cizing President Bush and his recent collaboration was also one social conservatives, including
Annapolis conference, but even of the most extreme examples of several current cabinet members,
here he seems to take comfort how far their partnership had for example Attorney General Vic
because an international push gone. The former led a protest in Toews, Public Safety Minister
for a Palestinian State may well front of the Charles Darwin exhi- Stockwell Day and Flaherty. It
become the political slippery bition of Torontos Royal Ontario was perhaps through Day that
slope that leads eventually to Museum. He charged Darwin McVety made his connections to
World War 3 or, in the biblical with racism, inspiration of Nazi Ben-Ami and then his alliance
scenario, to Armageddon.xi doctrine and even genocide. with Bnai Brith.xv
Reverend Charles McVety, McVety also took over the nearby It would be a mistake, howev-
president of Canada Christian Varsity theatre for a showing of er, to exaggerate the influence of
College, is the best known of an anti-Darwinist film (Expelled: this right-wing religious alliance
Canadas dispensationalists and No Intelligence Allowed) and Bnai within the Conservative Party.
the closest to Bnai Brith. The Brith staff and members attend- Harper certainly knows that they
college has conferred an hon- ed. However, BBCs major ges- are not a major source of new
ourary doctorate on Frank ture of support for the protest votes and certainly not as influ-
Dimant, and this year McVety was to make it the page one story ential as their American cousins.
also announced that it was in their newspaper The Jewish McVety is reported to be unhap-
establishing a Chair in Israel Tribune. This article did not py that the government is not, at
Studies. It is not surprising that quote one scientific critic of least for the present, pursuing
the first occupant of the chair McVety or even a rebuttal from a his anti-abortion agenda or fight
will the very same Dr. Frank ROM spokesman. It did not indi- against gay marriage. It is likely
Dimant.xii cate any understanding that that he will therefore continue to
social Darwinism, eugenics and pursue the strategy of securing
Tory Ties Nazi racial doctrines could not be more religious conservative nom-
McVety is well known because attributed to the father of natural inees, in order to have more clout
he often leads the charge on selection. Nor did the Tribune within the Conservative Party.xvi
behalf of religious conservatism indicate that the film had been Both BBC and its Christian
on Parliament Hill. There he has called by the New York Times, a allies are probably more satisfied
recently fought for curtailing gov- conspiracy theory rant, and was with the Harper governments
ernment grants on the basis of similarly panned by other review- support for Israel. Much of the
morality tests, although current ers.xiv right wing in the Jewish commu-
legislation clearly excludes Thus Dimant has overtly allied nity had resented the Liberal
pornography. He strongly himself and Bnai Brith with the Partys attempts to be even hand-
opposed gay marriage, and had benighted forces of the creation- ed in the Israeli-Palestinian con-
also expressed himself against istor as they now prefer, intel- flict. They wanted, and have
protecting gays from hate ligent designlobby. Is this just received, Stephen Harpers full
speech. McVety takes credit for political pandering to his friends commitment to Israel. Bnai
the push to raise the age of con- at Christian College, or a new Brith shows its appreciation on
sent in Canada, presenting Harp- appreciation for their rather dis- the front page of The Jewish Tri-
er with a petition with over credited views? A mere gesture of bune, which frequently runs pho-
700,000 signatures, but blames recognition of McVetys protest tos of Harper or Stockwell Day on
its delay on the Liberals fighting on an inside page of the Tribune its front page but not those of the
so hard to keep sex with 14-year- was not enough for Dimant, who Liberal or NDP opposition lead-
olds legal, a charge without evidently wanted to make his ers. This Tory government which
foundation. McVety was also a backing more evident. Lower has at times been outspoken in
VIP guest of Finance Minister down on the same front page was defence of human rights in Tibet,
Jim Flaherty when the Tories a more typical BBC story, with Darfur and elsewhere has been,
scuttled the Liberal plan for a President Gerry Weinstein prais- not so strangely, silent on Pales-
national child care program in ing the Harper governments tinian human rights, an issue
favour of its own more conserva- apology to the aboriginal peoples. they have never addressed but is
tive policy of giving tax breaks to The object, as always, was to surely high on any objective list-
women with children. McVety show BBC support for the Tories. continued on following page
July/Aug. 2008/ 37
ing of human rights problems to mainstream Jews, who are not Hagee declare in the latters
around the world. Moreover, the settler enthusiasts, that Hagee, words that Jeremiah declared
PM unabashedly defended Israel McVety and the like are anything that the Jews must return to
during the second Lebanon War other than good Christian friends Israel before Messiah comes,
and recently, in good of Israel. It makes Jewish audi- and Byes Aliyah department
McCarthyite fashion, stated that ences feel good to have Christian works to return us to Israel, I
members of Parliament who were pastors stand before them and understand that North America
critical of Israel during that con- defend Israel, even if they do should be Judenrein (empty of
flict included anti-Semites. Liber- have some nutty doctrines. The Jews) in order to fulfill their
al Bob Rae condemned the blan- problem is that Jewish audiences prophecy. They love us but
ket smear and asked the gov- do not realize that they are act- would love to see us, not as
ernment to name the anti- ing in the here and now to realize Canadian friends and neighbors,
semites. I also dont think its these doctrines. Thus Labour MK but as residents of Judea and
fair to say that everybody who Colette Avital was happy to see it Samaria. Again, quoting Weber,
has concernsabout Israeli for- revealed that Reverend Hagee dispensationalists could use the
eign policy is anti-Semitic; if that argued that Hitler and the Holo- same argument as anti-Semites,
were true, three-quarters of the caust were the instruments of but claim they were not being
population of Israel would be God for restoring the Jewish peo- anti-Semites. In other words, in
anti-Semitic by the Prime Minis- ple to Israel. But Avitals main working to fulfill their doctrines
ters definition.xvii Harpers concern is that the Christian they get rid of the Jews.
smear, however, probably played Right is not acting for the inter- Jews in Canada should follow
well among the Christian and ests of Israel as a whole but for John McCains path and sever
Jewish right. specific leaders and policies. relations with the Christian
As of now, the Harpercons Similarly Rabbi Eric Yoffie, pres- Right. He said that he had origi-
keep the Christian Right and its ident of the Union for Reform nally sought their support
allies at arms length, unless Judaism, slammed Hagee and because they were strong sup-
their aid is needed on particular his ilk as extremists saying that porters of Israel, but he should
pieces of legislation. It is clear Israels greatest friends and have known that it is a condi-
that open espousal of their agen- most important defenders are tional support for a particular
da by the Conservative Party not the fundamentalists and brand of Israeli politics. Jews in
would be counter-productive and extremists and those who take Canada or the U.S. have little in
work against securing a majority their orders directly from God, common with those who brand
government, as it had isolated but those who work for an end to the Roman Catholic Church the
the old Reform Party. Still, a con- this terrible conflict.xix The great whore or a false cult sys-
servative Jewish-Christian right Christian Right actively opposes tem or argue that Hurricane
alliance offers a means for the a two-state solution, an option Katrina was Gods retribution for
Tories to cultivate substantial favored (under the right circum- homosexual sin. Their anti-
blocks of voters and gather some stances) by a majority of Israelis. quated and repressive social
funding. However, the two allied Moreover, noted Christian agenda is not that of most Cana-
groups are held together more by scholar of dispensationalism dian Jews, even if it suits the
Israeli than Canadian politics. Timothy Weber points out that right-wing agenda of Frank
Dispensationalists place Israel dispensationalists are support- Dimant and the Harpercons.
front and center on their agenda. ing some of the most dangerous Some small numbers of Cana-
Their vision of the second coming elements in Israeli society, dian Jews still support Bnai
cannot be achieved until all Jews including those who would lib- Brith because they believe that it
return to all of the ancient land erate or even bomb the Temple is an effective lobby for Israel. It
of Israel. It is also clear that the Mount, perhaps bringing us clos- makes much noise lobbying, not
Jewish right, with its commit- er to their longed-for Armaged- for Israel but for the settlements
ment to settlements and all of don. Weber also points out that and against accommodation.
the land of what they term Judea they believe that anyone who Moreover, no lobbying organiza-
and Samaria (West Bank) has a pushes for peace through terri- tion that ties its fortunes so
similar interest.xviii Some critics torial compromise is ignoring or closely to one Canadian political
have pointed out that the apoca- defying Gods plan for the end of party can be effective in the long
lyptic doctrines of Hagee-MeVety, the age.xx Thus support for run. At some point the Liberals
et. al. force Jews to accept Christ Hagee, Tweedie and their follow- will return to power and will have
or be destroyed, but the prag- ers is not support for Israel but little use or time for an organiza-
matic Jewish right prefers the support for a particular right- tion so closely related not only to
dispensationalist money and wing agenda. their political opponents but also
support in the here and now. It is also troubling that despite to the venomous illiberalism of
Ariel and other settlements are their professions of friendship for the Christian Right.
the recipients of millions of dol- the Jewish people, their doctrine i McCain Rejects Endorsements From
lars from North American Christ- contains elements of anti-Semi- Hagee, Parsley, Huffington Post, May
ian rightists who believe the set- tism. In fairness, I must add that 22, 2008.
tlers are doing Gods work. they do not understand it that ii Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The
It is not so obvious, however, way, but when Bye, Tweedie and Collapse and Revival of American Com-

38 / Outlook
munity (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, gelical Christian Magazine, November- in keeping cordial relations with both
2000). December, 2007, p18. On McVety and the Jewish and Christian rightists.
iii The foregoing is based on my many film censorship see Ian Austen, Tax Whether a Harper majority government
years of participation in Bnai Brith. Bill Fuels a Canadian Debate on Film would deliver on the Christian right
iv See Wikipedia entry on Joseph Ben- Censorship, New York Times, May 3, social agenda is an open question. Cer-
Ami. 2008. On McVetys social conservative tainly, however, he does deliver on
v Marci McDonald, Stephen Harper and activism see Dennis Gruending, Israel.
the Theo-Cons, Walrus,Oct 2006. McVety, Charles Evangelical Heavy- xvii Tonda MacCharles, Rae Objects to
vi Tim Shufelt, When Lobbyists Speak weight Roams in Harpers Halls of Pow- Harpers Smear, The Star, May 10,
in Tongues, Ottawa Citizen, April 12, er, 2008.
2008. www.harperindex.ca/viewarticle.cfm?r xviii The Jewish right has cultivated this
vii The basic doctrines are nicely laid out ef.00144 alliance with American dispensational-
by Bill Moyers xiv Adina Klein, ROMs exhibit is sugar ists for many years, but it was late in
Journal,www.pbs.org/moyers/jour- coating Darwins theory, McVety coming to Canada. See Colin Shindler,
nal/1005207/profile.html charges, Jewish Tribune, June 17, Likud and the Christian Dispensa-
viii John Howarth, Christians United for 2008. The story by Brianna Goldberg, tionalists: A Symbiotic Relationship,
Israel: A New Call to Put Gods Word Protesters Rail Against Darwin Exhibi- Israel Studies, Vol. 5, #1, 2000, pp.
into Action, Evangelical Christian Mag- tion, National Post, June 13, 2008, 153-182.
azine, February-March 2007, p. 29. showed critical awareness of McVetys xix Colette Avital, They Only Appear to
ix Dean Bye, Weathering the Times, on charges and noted the critical reviews Be Supporters, Haaretz, June 3,
website of Return Ministries, of the film. 2008. Eric Yoffie, Christian Zionism?
www.return.co.il/article3/html xv Ann Porter, The Harper Government: Is it Good for North American Jews
x Rick Kardonne, Israel Cannot Pull Out Towards a New Social Order, Dawn and Good for Israel? CCAR April 2,
Anymore, Pastor Declares, Jewish Tri- Ontario, May 22, 2006/ 2008. <www. urjorg/articlesindex
bune, May 21, 2008. xvi Here I take issue with Marci McDon- cfm?id 19553>.
xi John Tweedie, Why Israel? What ald, Gruending and others who believe xx Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to
Time Is It?, Evangelical Christian Mag- that Harper is more directly tied to the Armageddon: How Evangelicals
azine, January-February 2008, p. 18. Christian Right. He may indeed share Became Israels Best Friend, (Baker
xii See CUFI website or www.campus- some of their social conservative out- Academic, 2004) excerpt on
watch.org/article/id/5102 look but he keeps his distance from www.beliefnet.com/
xiii For sex with 14 year olds see Evan- them. Jason Kenney is his point man story/151/story_15165.html

Jottings by Sylvia Friedman


POYLN
Continued from page 30

male madness and patriarchal Well, Summer has finally arrived here on the West Coast, thankfully
abuse. As opposed to the insa- making life a lot more pleasant. And since its time to think about vaca-
tiable sexual appetites in the tion, lucky for me there isnt very much to tell you.
work of his friend Isaac Bashevis * First off, we would like to apologize to all our contributors who met
Singer (Bashevis suggested that the deadline for this issue but do not appear in these pages. We found our-
the title character in his story selves with an abundance of riches and were really hard-put to decide
Gimpel the Fool was based on whether to publish a double-sized issue or postpone printing a number of
Trunk), Trunk is reluctant to talk articles to the next issue. Unfortunately, our budget made the decision for
about sexuality, even though he us, and we had to choose the latter option. This definitely was a case of the
expatiates in great detail on how Yiddish expression: A khisorn, di kaleh iz tsu sheyn (A fault, the Bride is too
difficult it was to get his mothers beautiful!)
wedding dress on her. Poyln * We received a nice little note from ABE PADOLSKYS son BARRY.
takes place in an extremely patri- Abe, formerly from Winnipeg, has been living in Ottawa for the last sever-
archal world where husbands al years. Barry writes, Outlook is amazingly good! I read excerpts to my
and wives are usually locked in father who was 100 years old on March 2, 2008. And as my mother
bitter conflict or estrangement would say, keyn ayn-hore. We wish you good health, Abe, biz a hundert-un-
and male prodigies are extrava- tsvantik-yor!
gantly worshipped. * BEA LEVIS of Toronto, who is one of the most active people we
Poyln inaugurates a new series know, was forced to take a leave of absence in order to have a hip opera-
on Jewish Poland at the Universi- tion, and we are happy to report that it was successful. Husband TERRI
ty of Toronto Press, and even in thought it would be a good idea to take a rest at the same time, and had a
translation the book moves to the fall which landed him in the hospital as well, but unfortunately, not in the
sweet inflections of Yiddish same hospital, thus forcing their daughters KIM and DONA to run from
thought and phrasing. There are one bedside to another. We wish you ALL a speedy recovery!
a few infelicitous constructions, a And we understand that BEN SHEK also had a misshap and broke his
few typos; I wish that the schol- upper arm, but happily, not so badly so that he can still manage to use his
arly notes were devoted to some- computer. I hope your arm mends quickly, Ben.
thing more historical and contex- * It has come to our attention that our readers in the United States did
tual than the location of place not receive their January-February 2008 issues of Outlook. It seems that the
names and definitions of terms of whole kit and caboodle got misplaced or lost somewhere, so we will be
Jewish belief and ritual. The mailing out replacement copies shortly.
translator, Anna Clarke, is an Have a great summer, at least whats left of it. Bye for now!
Emeritus Professor of Carleton Sylvia
University.
July/Aug. 2008/ 39