Israel Political Brief May 6, 2012: President Shimon Peres Canadian Visit, Ottawa, Toronto & Montreal — Iran Top Issue with Pro-Israel Government

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Peres Flies to Canada; Iran Top Issue

Peres flies to Canada for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders. The Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.
Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres
Israel news photo: Flash 90

President Shimon Peres is flying to Canada Sunday for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders, with the Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.

Canada is considered one of Israel’s best friends, and Ottawa has been solidly behind the Netanyahu government  even when the Obama administration has been at odds with Israel.

President Peres will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition leader Thomas Muclair to discuss recent developments in Iran’s nuclear development as well as what the President’s office described “changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors.”

He will “express gratitude to the Canadian leadership for its stance alongside Israel,” a spokesperson added.

Peres is expected to promote economic and scientific cooperation between Israel and Canada and attend the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Society of Canada and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities in the field of science and technology.

Jewish communities in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal will host the President, highlighted by an  Independence Day reception.

President Peres will deliver a speech to the Jewish community in Toronto Wednesday evening, after meeting with Ontario Premier Dalton James Patrick McGuinty during the day.

The Montreal Jewish community will host him at  a synagogue Thursday morning before he concludes his trip with a meeting with Quebec Premier Jean Charest.  Israel has been the victim of frequent anti-Israel protests in Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province.

Most of the province’s Jews live in Montreal, and the Jewish population in Quebec has fallen from a peak of approximately 120,000 in 1971 to less than 93,000 today, according to the Canadian Jewish Federation.

Full Text September 13, 2011: Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs Statement on Cameron Johnson’s Anti-Semitic Remark at York University Lecture

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statement on the Recent Controversy at York University

Source: Newswire, 9-13-11

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs was recently made aware of a lecture given by Professor Cameron Johnston yesterday at York University, which reportedly included an anti-Semitic remark.

In response, Sheldon Goodman, the GTA Co-Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs issued the following statement:

“Upon hearing of this incident, we immediately contacted York University as well as Professor Johnston directly. While York is currently looking into the matter, it appears that a very unfortunate misunderstanding has taken place. We believe Professor Johnston’s use of an abhorrent statement was intended to demonstrate that some opinions are simply not legitimate. This point was, without ill intentions, taken out of context and circulated in the Jewish community.

“Professor Johnston, himself a member of the Jewish community, may regret his wording but should not see his reputation tarnished. This event is an appropriate reminder that great caution must be exercised before concluding a statement or action is anti-Semitic.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is now the spokesperson for all issues concerning the organized Canadian Jewish community, including those formerly handled by the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canada-Israel Committee, and the Quebec-Israel Committee.

Statement from Professor Cameron Johnston
September 13, 2011

In lecture, I discussed that the course focuses on the texts and not “opinions”.  In fact, I stated that for this course opinions are not relevant and I questioned the common idea that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I pointed out that everyone is not entitled to their opinion by giving the example of someone having an anti-semitic opinion which is clearly not acceptable. This was an example of the fact that opinions can be dangerous and that none of us really do believe that all opinions are acceptable.

For the record, I am also Jewish which undoubtedly influenced my choice of this example of a reprehensible opinion.

Regards,
Cameron Johnston

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