"Your condemnation of Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek is totally uncalled for and represents the lowest form of journalism in purporting to ascribe motive and feelings to the Mayor completely out of context with the situation."
December 14, 2023
I am responding on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express concerns regarding your December 13, 2023, editorial “Who says we need to choose between Palestinians and Israelis?”
Your condemnation of Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek is totally uncalled for and represents the lowest form of journalism in purporting to ascribe motive and feelings to the Mayor completely out of context with the situation.
The lighting of the Menorah is a Jewish traditional remembrance of the miracle of the one day supply of oil to burn the eight lamps of Sukkot lasting for the entire eight days and nights in the reconsecrated Temple. This tradition symbolizes the spirit of community necessary to function in an agricultural society and has been broadened to be inclusive of all society.
The violence of October 7 in southern Israel and the subsequent, ongoing violence in Gaza serve to separate the community into supporters for the Israeli community and supporters of the Palestinian community. In Calgary, Mayor Gondek quite rightly interpreted changes in the local presentation of the lighting of the Menorah as being an expression of support for the State of Israel at that time waging the genocidal attack upon the Palestinians of Gaza. These local changes nullified the expression of community and society by expressing support for a military campaign.
Mayor Gondek was clear in her decision not to participate based upon this change in the tradition of the lighting of the Menorah. In doing so, she exhibited considerable backbone given the intertwined religious aspects of the event. Support for the State of Israel, rather than the people of Israel, indicates an acceptance of a settler-colonialist, Apartheid State waging a genocidal war. Many enlightened people of the Jewish faith, while still considering Israel to be a sanctuary, reject the current governance of the State of Israel and desire a reconciliation with the people of Palestine.