B'nai Brith Canada


B'nai Brith Canada

B'nai Brith Canada is the Canadian section of B'nai Brith (the Canadian organization uses no apostrophe in "Brith"). It was founded in 1875 and is the country's oldest Jewish service organization. In recent years it has been a rival to the Canadian Jewish Congress as "the voice" of Canada's Jewish community, and is considered to be the more outspokenly conservative body of the two, particularly in its publication the "The Jewish Tribune" (compared to the more moderate "Canadian Jewish News"). B'nai Brith Canada (BBC) is also considered to be closer to the Likud in its views of Israel and Zionism than the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), which is officially non-partisan with regards to Israeli politics. In Canadian politics, although both groups are officially non-partisan, several former senior officials in the CJC, such as former President Irwin Cotler, have run as candidates for the Liberal Party of Canada, while Frank Dimant, executive director of B'nai Brith, considered running as a candidate of the conservative Canadian Alliance in the 2000 federal election. In October 2004, Adam Aptowitzer resigned from his position as the Ontario chairman of B’nai Brith Canada’s Institute for International Affairs after making statements on a television talk show defending the use of "terror" tactics by Israel against Palestinians; B'nai Brith Canada disavowed his opinions. [ [http://www.pluralism.org/news/article.php?id=8328 B'nai Brith Official Resigns After Controversy Over Statements on Israel (Canada)] ]

In 2007, B'nai Brith Canada faced what was described as an "internal rebellion" by a group calling itself Concerned Members of B’nai Brith Canada. Among other things, members of this group felt the organization was not governed responsibly and objected to its growing ties with the Conservative Party of Canada. The critics also charged that a new constitution had been passed despite a majority of members having voted against it at a general meeting. Henry Gimpel, a former Toronto lodge president, told "The Forward" that " [t] here’s too much of [B’nai Brith Canada] being run by one person.”Sheldon Gordon, " [http://www.forward.com/articles/12003/ B’nai Brith Canada Faces Revolt] ", "The Forward", November 13, 2007] Frank Dimant responded to criticism over the constitution by saying that BBC followed proper governance procedures, and that B'nai Brith International's court of appeal determined that the constitution was properly enacted. The internal rebels were accused of spreading defamatory information, and warned they could face removal from the organization. [ [http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14190&Itemid=86 Paul Lungen, "B’nai Brith expels members for ‘conduct unbecoming’"] , "Canadian Jewish News", 6 June 2008, accessed 6 Junes 2008.]

Gimpel and seven other BBC members were expelled in June 2008, for what a disciplinary committee determined to be "conduct unbecoming a member". Another of the expelled members was Harvey Crestohl, a former president of B'nai Brith Canada. Crestohl described the process as "the most undemocratic, dictatorial procedures ever produced by a human rights organization in the free world", while Gimpel referred to the committee as a kangaroo court. [ [http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14190&Itemid=86 Paul Lungen, "B’nai Brith expels members for ‘conduct unbecoming’"] , "Canadian Jewish News", 6 June 2008, accessed 6 Junes 2008.]

B'nai Brith Canada has 4,000 full dues paying members. The organization is struggling financially and had to mortgage its head office in January 2007 in order to raise $850,000 to meet expenses.

References

External links

* [http://www.bnaibrith.ca Bnai Brith Canada]


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