Nothing happens in a vacuum. Not even the posting of a reward.
On the day of the firebombing of the United Talmud Torah elementary school in Montreal (April 6, 2004), I was speaking with one of my very good friends, Henry Feldstain, who was so outraged by this cowardly attack against a Jewish institution, that he shouted to me over the phone:
“I can’t just sit here and do nothing. We’ve come under attack, and we have to respond”.
To that; I asked Henry what it is that he would like us to do?
Should we form a posse and hunt down the perpetrators like they did in the old west?
Of course I was joking. But very much like Henry, I also felt outraged and the need to take some kind of action. But what?
Then Henry said the words. “Let’s offer a reward for the capture and conviction of the bastards responsible”.
This is something we can do. And within seconds, a plan was hatched. We started calling friends and former QPAC allies, and within an hour, we had raised enough money ($5,000) to merit a phone call to Sid Stevens of Sun Youth.
I spoke with Sid Stevens concerning the reward, and whether Sun Youth would want to participate, figuring he probably would since Sid can’t duck a good cause no matter what it is, but he surprised the hell out of me when he revealed that a French Canadian woman wanting to remain anonymous, had already donated $5,000 for a reward. So he was in.
From nothing, we now had $10,000.
The French Canadian’s reasoning for her donation according to Sid was simple. Today a Jewish institution. Tomorrow a Mosque. And the next day a Church. This was not the Montreal in which she wanted to live.
By the time Sid made our reward public on Wednesday at noon, we were over $7,500. And by the end of the week, we might very well have $10,000 plus the other donations.
That coupled with the $5,000 from the French lady, and other donations from other non-Jews brought our total to $15,000. Pretty soon we will be able to post a $20,000 reward. And if that isn’t enough, we’ll keep making phone calls and put together whatever amount is needed to bring the savages responsible for this outrage to justice.
So, as of the writing of this piece, Sun Youth has posted a reward of $15,000.
Prime Minister Martin was absolutely right to condemn this attack in the most strenuous way possible. But he was wrong when he suggested that this was an attack on Canadians. It wasn’t. It was an attack on Jews living in Canada.
But he was right to state that it is up to all Canadians to come together to make certain it never happens again. The reward money being raised by Jews and non Jews through the offices of Sun Youth is proof positive that Canadians (at least some) are coming together to fight this horrible disease known as anti-Semitism.
I was also very heartened to see Montreal Moslems condemning the firebombing, as I was to see a Moslem class of pre-teen girls writing letters of condolences to the classes of the United Talmud Torah for their loss because of the attack. This is all very positive stuff.
Better it didn’t happen. But it did. And from it we have to send as strong a message as possible to the victims, the perpetrators and the bystanders.
When it comes to attacking Jews in our country (Canada), it is nothing like Nazi Europe where everyone was too frightened to speak out. Now we place bounties on the heads of the cowardly Bastards responsible.
Fear and silence was yesterday. Today it’s NEVER AGAIN!