Alan Simons
Author | Writer | Social & Allyship Advocate

Canada. The lack of Jewish leadership. ‘Powerlessness and silence go together’

June 6, 2021: Nothing is the same anymore. Or is it?

Ninety-eight years ago, in 1923, David Lloyd George (1863-1945), Prime Minister of the UK, said:

“Of all the bigotries that savage the human temper there is none so stupid as the anti-Semitic.

“In the sight of these fanatics, Jews of today can do nothing right. If they are rich, they are birds of prey. If they are poor, they are vermin. If they are in favour of war, that is because they want to exploit the bloody feuds of Gentiles to their own profit. If they are anxious for peace, they are either instinctive cowards or traitors. If he lives in a strange land, he must be persecuted and pogromed out of it. If he wants to go back to his own, he must be prevented.”

Today, as Jews we are experiencing an upsurge from the antisemites, the media, the hate-mongers, and tenured university bigots, who publicly vilify and delegitimize diaspora Jews through carefully crafted language, ostensibly using Israel as their tool to inflict hate.

The written word in using language as a means of propaganda is as old as time immemorial. The English language is as fluid as it gets. The definition of words live and breathe and change with the religious climate and culture of the country. Canada is no exception. And Jews are at the forefront of receiving an onslaught of misinformation and deception directed at them.

J.J. Rousseau, the 18th-century French philosopher said, “The Jews in Dispersion have not the possibility of proclaiming their own truth to humankind; but I believe that when they once have a free Commonwealth, with schools and universities of their own where they can speak out safely, we shall be able to learn what it is that the Jewish people have to say to us.”

Today in Canada, Jews, both students and academics at universities cannot speak out safely.

Today in Canada, Jews, both cerebral and the common ordinary Jew have no means or tools to express themselves in a manner the masses understand.

Today in Canada, Jews have no national leadership, other than from those who expound a message of self-aggrandizement, understood only by other Jews.

Today in Canada, Jews have no advocacy group that is looked upon with admiration by non-Jews. Those times of being at the forefront of human rights, civil rights, equality, and standing up for the common Jewish man and woman in Canada, disappeared ten years ago.

Today in Canada, Jews have failed to prepare our youth effectively for the eventualities of what may lie ahead for future generations.

Today in Canada, we Jews are still trying to communicate, to coexist with each other, let alone trying to figure out what we have to say to all the millions of non-Jews!

Communication is about giving-taking, asking-answering, sending-receiving. It’s not something we Jews are known to be good at. Yes, I recognize Jews sit on various inter-faith committees that encourage dialogue and cooperation. And the work they are doing in their field is mind-boggling until the name of Israel is asserted by them!

Many years ago, Frank Luntz, the US-based political and business pollster pointed out, “Why do Jews make such lousy communicators? For hundreds of years, we used the great art of language development to entertain as well as educate. It is no coincidence that so many of the great intellectuals, academics, writers and performers come from our ranks.”

“Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

He added, “The ability of Jews to understand and connect with people transcends international boundaries. It is in our culture and in our blood. But over the years, we have developed some very destructive communication habits that have seriously undermined our efforts and the causes we believe in. Our words lose their resonance and our style and tone offend. We assert when we should inform. We reject when we should interject. We push people away when we should pull them in.” As he remarked, “Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

Today in Canada, Jews need a national leader to bring us together, who can use the language of today, who doesn’t hide in a corporate office, a leader amongst the diaspora ranks, who stands head and shoulders above us, to communicate to non-Jews on our behalf. Sadly, no one in Canada is there such a person willing to come forward on our behalf, unless they see an Israel component to the message.

“You Jewish people. What exactly do you want?”

How many times have we heard this question from non-Jews? Well actually, we don’t know what we want, do we? This is abysmal since as Jews we’ve had more time than anyone else to come up with the answer. Perhaps we will never reach an answer. Perhaps there isn’t one. Perhaps we don’t want to. Perhaps we are so ingrained in believing no one cares about who we are. And after so many centuries of us having to endure pogroms and genocides, we have turned to indifference.

What this all boils down to is this: With the ever-increasing antisemitic mob mentality out there that is unable to differentiate between ignorance and conscientiousness, diaspora Jews, are in for a rough time if we don’t get our act together and find a leader who can communicate to non-Jews, to the Canadian people at large in a common language, but not as a victim, which no longer works in today’s society.

To quote Margaret Atwood. “A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.”

Enough is Enough!

About the Author
Simons is an author, writer and social & allyship advocate. He publishes an online international news service, now in its 15th year, dealing with issues relating to intolerance, hate, antisemitism, Islamophobia, conflict, and terrorism, as well as an online community news site. As a diplomat, he served as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Rwanda to Canada, post-genocide era. He has lectured and designed courses in the areas of therapeutic management, religion in politics, and communications. He recently published his sixth book.
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