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

By David Howard Goldberg | Go to book overview

The Canada-Israel Committee is also somewhat deficient with respect to intracommunal and intraorganizational cohesion. Canadian Jewry has always been characterized by a widely held general consensus on Israel-related questions. This appears to remain in place. However, events in the latter part of the 1973- 88 period--most notably, the Lebanon War and the Palestinian disturbances-- witnessed the emergence of fairly strong intracommunal dissent, which could conceivably threaten the internal cohesion (and hence the political effectiveness) of the Canada-Israel Committee.

This chapter has also suggested that disputes internal to the CIC's leadership core have threatened its organizational integrity. Philosophical disputes and intraorganizational rivalries are common to Zionism and Judaism generally. These impact most severely upon the Canada-Israel Committee because of its status as the child of several parents. Group cohesion is a relative concept. Internal disputes within the Canada-Israel Committee are mostly over political style rather than policy substance. Disputes are usually resolved through accommodation and brokering among communal elites. Compared to its traditionally disparate Arab ethnic counterpart ( Abu-Laban 1980, 1989), the Canada-Israel Committee remains a fairly cohesive, if somewhat nondemocratic, entity.

To their credit, the leaders of Canadian Zionism make no pretense of fulfilling optimal democratic ideals (Bessin Interview; May Interview). They hold firmly to a narrower conception of communal advocacy and representation. This view is consistent with both the aristocratic republicanism of Jewish political tradition and the statism and accommodation of elites that prevails in the Canadian foreign policy-making process.

Although there are certainly no guarantees in this regard, the fact that Canadian foreign policymakers and Canadian Zionists share a tendency toward making decisions on the basis of private interactions among elites should theoretically provide an advantage to the Canada-Israel Committee in its lobbying activities. The extent to which this similarity was converted into a pattern of Jewish community influence over Canadian foreign policy on Israeland the Arab-Israeli conflict during the period from October 1973 to December 1988 addressed in chapter 5 of this book.


NOTES
1.
David Bercuson ( 1985, 1989), Anne Trowell Hillmer ( 1989), and Zachariah Kay ( 1978) dispel much of the conventional thinking (see Ismael 1973, 1976, 1984; Lyon 1982b; Massoud 1976) concerning the factors contributing to Canada's participation in the United Nation's Palestine debate in 1947 and the formation of Resolution 181 (the plan to partition the Palestine Mandate into separate Arab and Jewish states with an economic union linking them and much of Jerusalem as an internationalized corpus separatum). Canadian participation in the partition debate was delayed, mainly due to Prime Minister Mackenzie King's reluctance to have Canada dragged into the Middle East quagmire. And when Canada did become involved, it did so not out of any meaningful interest in the Middle East per se but in order to achieve a compromise between Washington

-42-

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

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Theory and Background 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - The American Israel Public Affairs Committee: History, Mandate, and Organizational Structure 15
  • Notes 27
  • 3 - The Canada-Israel Committee: History, Mandate, and Organizational Structure 29
  • Notes 42
  • 4 - Aipac and U.S. Middle East Policy: October 1973- December 1988 45
  • SUMMARY 97
  • Notes 98
  • 5 - The Cic and Canadian Middle East Policy: October 1973-- December 1988 101
  • SUMMARY 156
  • Notes 157
  • 6 - Findings and Conclusions 159
  • CONCLUSIONS 168
  • Bibliography 171
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 198
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