Braid: Gondek's stunning snub of Hanukkah turns an awesome get together into magnet for antisemitism

As soon as once more, Jews are a particular case in occasions of disaster, readily disposable for political acquire — or survival.

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Jyoti Gondek is just not match to be mayor of Calgary.

On the final minute, she mentioned she wouldn’t attend this 12 months’s menorah lighting at metropolis corridor, accusing Jewish leaders of tricking her concerning the “political” which means of the celebration.

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Will she now cancel Christmas, too? Cease attending Muslim occasions? I don’t assume so.

As soon as once more, Jews are a particular case in occasions of disaster, readily disposable for political acquire — or survival.

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Within the identify of unity, she sows division and concern. That is the mayor who ran a marketing campaign primarily based on tolerance and combating racism.

This Calgary Hanukkah celebration has been happening for 35 years. Throughout that point, Israel has fought three earlier wars, two with Hamas and one with Hezbollah.

In peace and battle, the mayor of Calgary all the time attended the menorah lighting at metropolis corridor. It’s usually a joyous occasion fuelled by optimism and enjoyable for teenagers.

Commentator Jen Gerson nailed it when she said on X, previously Twitter: “Nothing screams extremely divisive pro-war rally like a poster promoting ‘Kids’s program, superior present, (Hanukkah) crafts and prizes,’ ”

Gondek’s snub has inflicted shock and anguish on Calgary’s Jewish neighborhood. It got here out of nowhere after Gondek had agreed to attend and lots of work had gone into the occasion.

The excuse, predictably, options her tendency to put the blame on others.

The mayor says she didn’t know assist can be expressed for Israel. There was a “last-minute change” that “goes in opposition to the unique intention” as a result of the occasion was “repositioned to assist Israel.”

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That left her “feeling let down by (Jewish) management.”

Calgary city hall menorah
The town of Calgary’s menorah is moved into the atrium at metropolis corridor in preparation for the annual lighting ceremony on Thursday, December 7, 2023. Gavin Younger/Postmedia

Gondek’s accusation that she was misled “is definitely a really antisemitic declare,” says Lisa Libin, president of the Calgary Jewish Federation.

“It does return to the outdated antisemitic trope that Jews are conniving.” Jewish leaders had been involved with the mayor’s workplace for days, Libin provides. “There was completely no trickery concerned.”

The poster selling the occasion didn’t simply seem on Wednesday. It has been out for a number of days.

Calling for “unity, supporting Israel, Jewish delight,” it additionally consists of the phrase “Am Yisrael Chai!” which means “the folks of Israel reside.”

There’s a raffle of Israel bonds — similar to final 12 months, when Gondek appeared completely happy sufficient to mild candles.

There are not any requires blood right here, not even a point out of battle, not one of the wild threats thrown round at pro-Hamas rallies.

The menorah lighting falls on the two-month anniversary of Hamas’ slaughter and rape of Israeli civilians. Gondek condemns that horror but additionally circles round responsible Israel for “homicide” of Palestinian civilians.

At a information convention in Dubai, Premier Danielle Smith mentioned: “I disagree with the mayor. I believe it is a essential occasion for the Jewish neighborhood, particularly in mild of the terrorist assault by Hamas.

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“We stand by the Jewish neighborhood right now and we wish to guarantee that we all know that they know that they’re valued by us, and so we’ll participate in a cultural occasion.”

She designated Jobs Minister Matt Jones to attend in Calgary and Service Alberta Minister Dale Nally for a ceremony in Edmonton.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, who’s Jewish, mentioned of Gondek: “You might be sending a horrible message by not attending.”

Calgary Nostril Hill Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner, after listening to the information late Wednesday, caught an early morning flight from Ottawa to attend.

The native federal Conservative caucus mentioned in a joint assertion: “Her determination to withdraw may dangerously normalize antisemitism at a time when throughout campuses and communities, Jewish Canadians are already feeling threatened.”

In claiming the occasion had been repositioned as political, Gondek truly mentioned, “this breaks my coronary heart.”

This unfit mayor simply broke many hearts herself, however they’ll heal.

It’s not clear what will be accomplished about hers.

Don Braid’s column seems often within the Herald

X: @DonBraid

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