Rami Kleinman:"The Art of Green Zionism"
Is Israel popular in Canada, according to your impression? I think among the Canadian people, Israel is very popular. However, among the Canadian media Israel is not so popular. Unfortunately CI3C (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) comes across as one sided and in an unapologetic way stands with the Palestinians, However, from many meetings which I have had with government ministers in all levels of government I can say there is strong support for Israel that unfortunately is not always expressed through the voice of the government & the Canadian media. The Canadian media reflects the European media in a constant battle to prove their uniqueness & independence of the United States.
Is Anti-Semitism a problem in Canada? Do Canadian citizens deny the Holocaust? I think there is no difference between Canada and anywhere else in the world. The bad seeds of anti-Semitism have unfortunately been planted in Canadian society as well, although I think a lot of it is spread through Islamic fundamentalist groups who are active in Canada. This compared by negative images coming from the Middle East through the unbalanced media, creates a fertile ground for the old radical anti-Semitism. However, we must remember we are living in a world where unfortunately almost everyone hates everyone else. We as a nation, especially after the establishment of the State of Israel, must make any and all efforts to build bridges with other ethnic groups based on our national sovereignty, our rich history, and our tremendous success in the last 55 years in building a vibrant and successful country in all fields. Every Jew in the world should serve as an ambassador of the Jewish people.
Who are the Gentiles who express love or solidarity with Israel? What motivates these Gentiles to be pro-Israeli? I would say there is a lot of interest in the state of Israel from all parts of society. Israel unfortunately appears in the media on a daily basis and frequently as one of the main news items. This creates positive and negative interests in Israel. Israel as a phenomenon in the history of all nations is another reason for people to show interest in Israel. The two main groups of non-Jewish people who support the state of Israel are a. the group who bases it on their religious biblical belief i.e. bible believing Christians and b. the group of people who sympathize with Israel's position and struggle to survive within a very hostile region, plus recognize the contribution of Israel to the family of nations.
What can you tell us about the state of Jewish philanthropy in Canada (your personal experience)? Canadians are true givers and still show great involvement in Jewish & Zionist causes. Based on figures that have been published lately we see that Canada is still a leading country in giving to philanthropic organizations.
Why are people eager to support JNF? I think that people support JNF because they believe in the work this organization is doing, and what this organization represents. Beyond that I find that a lot of our supporters today are second & third generations of JNF supporters and a lot of them are committed to the legacy that their parents & grandparents started. JNF played an instrumental part in the establishment of the state of Israel and the establishment of national pride. There is a very interesting commitment that goes to the family legacy and the organizations longevity.
Are there essential differences between the Canadian Jewish community and its American counterpart? Where do you prefer to serve? I think there are a lot of differences between Canada and the United States, as there are a lot of differences between Australia and England. Every community and every country has its own character and as long as all of them work for the benefit of the state of Israel and the Jewish people I am willing to work with all of them.
The future of Judaism in Canada? The future of Judaism in Canada is concerning me, as I am concerned to the future of Judaism anywhere in the Diaspora. The Canadian Jewish community is facing a big challenge in ensuring Jewish continuity. The entire world pays a great price for modernization & globalization, but by no means would I turn the wheel back 60 or 100 years. Instead, I think we should focus on strengthening the connection between the Jewish community around the world to the state of Israel. Where Israel serves as a cultural and spiritual center for the Jewish people, and then develop a new sense of Jewish Nationality among the Jewish people in order to create a supplement beyond the religious impact of Judaism in their life.
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