AN OBSERVATION FROM HOWARD GALGANOV:
Law professor, Irwin Cotler of McGill University is a rather famous individual in and around Montreal, and specifically within the Jewish communities in Montreal and elsewhere.
In his book Chutzpah, world famous lawyer and Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, once described Irwin Cotler as his Canadian mirror image.
It was Irwin Cotler, financed by the money and courage of Edgar Bronfman who went head to head against the former Soviet Union in an epic battle to free Soviet Jews from the chains of the Iron Curtain not more than a couple of decades ago.
Because of Cotler’s efforts, the likes of Nathan Scharansky and others were released from bondage and freed to immigrate.
After the less than useless Sheila Feinstone, Member of Parliament for the upper class riding, consisting of many affluent Jews, in the riding of Mount Royal (Montreal), left for a juicy appointment to the Senate, Irwin Cotler was convinced to leave his teaching job at McGill University to run in Feinstone’s place.
Given Cotler’s impeccable reputation as a freedom fighter, his victory was enormous. People thought Cotler would be their voice and champion against horribly discriminating Quebec language laws and a defender of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.
It was no secret that Irwin Cotler is a totally unabashed defender and supporter of Israel. However; something strange happened to him on the way to Parliament Hill.
Instead of being recognized for his incredible talents as both a professor, litigator and defender of Human Rights, Irwin Cotler was ignored by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
And instead of being placed in the Cabinet, he was thrown to the invisible back-benches where his voice would never be heard, and his influence on the government never to be felt.
But it was far worse.
Cotler himself became silent. He never once waded into Quebec’s abhorrent language laws. But more than that; he NEVER publicly stood up to the Chrétien government when Canada’s Ambassador to the UN repeatedly voted with the Arab nations and other Israel/Jew haters to condemn Israel in various anti-Semitic UN resolutions.
Instead of boycotting the abysmal UN Conference on Racism in Durban South Africa, held just days before 9/11, which turned into an orgy of Israel/Jew baiting, Cotler went along to be a “counter weight”.
Israel and the USA both boycotted. But Canada attended and signed the Conference resolution. No matter what his intentions; Cotler was there. His participation gave this insult to human dignity a credibility it did not deserve.
Irwin Cotler’s “public” voice was silent when it came to Canada’s long recognition of Arab terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas which operated as recognized charities within the framework of Canada.
His voice was also silent on the controversy of the CCRA (Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency) as they attempted to strip away the charitable status of the CMDA (Canadian Mogen David Adom) which supplies Montreal equipped ambulances to Israel.
The fight to ban the Arab terrorist groups within Canada, and the fight to reinstate the CMDA fell upon the shoulders of the Canadian Alliance Party under the leadership of Foreign Affairs critic Stockwell Day.
While it is true that Irwin Cotler does defend Israel’s rights by speaking to the “converted” in the relative safety of Synagogues and at pro Israel rallies, it is simply too little.
I do not question Irwin Cotler’s support of Israel and his possible angst at Quebec’s language laws. But I do question his true conviction and courage by NOT speaking up, and by NOT speaking against his government which is complicit in their support of Arab terrorists and Québécois ethnocentric nationalism.
Ken Corber and I have had several occasions where I criticized Cotler for his silence, and he defended him for “working behind the scenes”. As far as I am concerned, our elected leaders and representatives have an obligation to work in front of the scenes instead of in the shadows where no one knows what is happening, or what is being said.
The following is a letter from Ken Corber to Irwin Cotler; on a speech made by Cotler in a Montreal Synagogue on April 26, 2003.
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FROM KEN CORBER:
I want to respond to your talk at Congregation TBDJ yesterday, specifically your clarification of your position on the Iraq War and Canada’s non-participation therein.
As to matters of “law,” I am certainly not a lawyer, but I will give you my two cents anyway.
1) It is and was my impression that President George W. Bush stated that the UN Security Council Resolution, that was passed unanimously, did not require a second resolution further stating that the “use of force” was permitted.
2) President Bush did, many times, state that part of the reason for the “régime change” was for humanitarian reasons.
3) Thousands of innocent Iraqis have been dying every month, many of them children under the age of 5.
4) My belief is that US intelligence has substantive information on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, both chemical and biological, as well as plans/work in progress of nuclear, but that the US would not share that information with the rest of the world, and rightly so.
5) Not to say that the ends justify the means, but, to this point, even though large caches of WMD have NOT yet been found, the US case has been proven out. Certainly the humanitarian reasons. The information gathered from those Iraqis in high positions that have so far been captured also seems to point in the direction, if not prove, that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons.
6) Given the argument that you made yesterday about preemptive strikes, how would you then justify the preemptive bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility by Israel in the early 1980’s?
7) Given the argument you made that a UN Security Council resolution was required, then how do you justify Canada’s inclusion in the bombing of Kosovo, which was done without a UN mandate?
The United States of America is Canada’s best friend, and yet, many Canadians, including many Canadian politicians, delight in US-bashing. You can be sure that the USA would come to Canada’s aid in an instant in the event of any attack or threat of attack. Now, you might say that they would do this for their own security, and you might be right, but, the fact still remains, THEY WOULD DO IT!
In addition, the USA is our largest trading partner. Why would we deliberately keep poking a stick in the eye of our best friend and business partner?
Many Canadians might not like it, but the fact is that we have a kind of a marriage, the USA and Canada. I think that a great deal more of respect is due to our southern neighbour, starting with our Prime Minister and Members of Parliament.
I believe that our Prime Minister is a national disgrace for his handling of this matter. I think that the behavior of those Liberal MP’s, who stood up and cheered and applauded his statement in the House of Commons, are disgraceful.
I am truly ashamed and embarrassed to be a Canadian.
One more comment . . .
My belief and hope is that Israel will be a major beneficiary of the régime change in Iraq.