Edmonton anti-Zionism cases don't compare to those across Canada

Well, that’s a wrap! As we closed out the Edmonton Jewish Film Festival last night, I wish to thank our sponsors and all who took time in between Oilers’ playoffs games to join in our celebration of Jewish and Israeli culture.  

Many are notifying our Federation office (and Edmonton Police Service) of anti-Zionist posters, stickers, and other material being seen around the city, or reporting activities in schools that intimidate those who feel a connection to Israel. However, we haven’t encountered the level of vitriol being witnessed in other major Canadian cities. This week alone Toronto saw a Jewish girls' school hit by gunfire, another Montreal Jewish school was attacked by at least one bullet, and an incendiary device was thrown at the front doors of a Vancouver synagogue.

We emphasize if you do witness an incident, please report it to the online hate tool that EPS has available. We are taking all safety precautions for our events and our Jewish institutions and are in continual conversations with police. If you recognize that our streets, buildings, and campuses have not undergone the same increase observed across Canada in the past few weeks, I urge you to send a message to the Edmonton Police Commission and the University of Alberta board of trustees, expressing gratitude for their proactive measures.  

Conversations around our office are about how we can better equip students and parents with knowledge and skills to deal with the anti-Zionism they are encountering, and to identify when misinformation and speech intended to intimidate and harass cross the line. We are talking about the volume of reports coming in and appreciate that you are keeping us informed.  

I want to extend appreciation to our summer interns, who recently underwent a month-long burst of activity and showed their capabilities. Almog Mazor will continue with ongoing support for the Jewish Community Centre (JCC) consultations (and surveys to follow) and Makhabbat Aitkenova continues to assist in the delivery of communications and marketing that are the backbone of our activities and programs. They have both hit the ground running.  

The Integrated Bursary Program committee will meet this week to begin deliberations, ensuring that we help the most vulnerable in our community. This is a group of volunteers and professionals who take care of and concern when reviewing anonymized applications. The JCC consultations with the architects will start and will provide a cross section of our audiences to help with planning and design. You can register for the number of different sessions on the new JCC web page.

Mark your calendars for June 20, 7 p.m. I am thrilled that we can bring speaker and LGBTQ2+ activist Jonathon El-Khoury to Edmonton for our Pride event. An outspoken Zionist and Christian minority living in Haifa, Israel, he is a delightful person who will give an informative and engaging presentation.  

Shabbat Shalom,