Foreign Policy and Ethnic Interest Groups: American and Canadian Jews Lobby for Israel

By David Howard Goldberg | Go to book overview
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3
The Canada-Israel Committee: History, Mandate, and Organizational Structure

THE DISTINCTIVE CANADIAN ZIONIST

Canadian Zionism, although operating from a much smaller population base, exhibits many of the same qualities as its American counterpart. As in the U.S., the Canadian Zionist community's evolution was adversely affected by intracommunal philosophical disputes and organizational rivalries ( Kay 1978; Waller 1981b, 343-49). Also countering integrative tendencies was the growth of powerful local Jewish federations on the American model, especially in Montreal and Toronto, and the concomitant absence of a national body powerful enough to draw diverse and autonomous Zionist groups into a cohesive federation ( Waller 1981b).

Despite these similarities, there are several factors that distinguish the Canadian Zionist experience. Many of these factors are cultural in origin. The staid and paternalistic Canadian political culture theoretically leaves little room for political self-expression by groups that do not comfortably conform to the prevailing socioeconomic elite portfolio, the so-called old boys' network ( Presthus 1973). Although some Canadian Jews have been remarkably successful in the manufacturing sector and certain professions, the level of communal prosperity is mixed and has tended to limit widespread Zionist interaction with the effective public policymakers ( Hayes 1966, 1979; Stanislawski 1981a, 397-400; Waller 1981a, 155-58). Additionally, the significant French Catholic minority in Canada is traditionally antithetical toward Judaism and Israel. Antisemitism is no less prevalent in the United States than in Canada. However, popular attitude in Canada toward Jews is intertwined with the French Catholic-English Protestant cultural bifurcation ( Cohn 1979; Colter and Wisse 1977; Waller and Weinfeld 1981; Weinfeld 1980). Passive and overt antisemitism is not restricted to French

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