Bernie "Burny" Farber converts to Islam
See update below.
Bernie "Burny" Farber, the executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, has converted to Islam. I think it's a wonderful symbol of tolerance on the part of the Official Jews of the CJC that they let Burny continue in his post.
Other than a conversion, how else can you explain Burny's behaviour?
I first detected that something was up when Burny came out in solidarity with Mohamed Elmasry, the anti-Semitic president-for-life of the Canadian Islamic Congress, giving an intimate interview to the Toronto Star's resident anti-Israel pundit, Haroon Siddiqui, in which Burny accused anyone who criticized Elmasry's complaint against Maclean's of being an "Islamophobe".
Maybe Burny will get a "media award" from Elmasry, just like Siddiqui received!
But Burny was just getting started.
Just last week he hit the media circuit, hard, to rebut a news story that warned of Hezbollah terrorist attacks against Jewish targets here in Canada.
Burny was quoted in the Globe and Mail, the CBC and Canadian Press stories far and wide saying that specific intelligence information was not real, and not imminent. How does Burny know? Because, he says, "Canadian authorities" have "told me categorically". Yes, I'm sure that Canada's spy agencies regularly give Burny classified briefings all the time. No need to worry -- Burny says all is clear!
Burny's quote in the story -- denying that terrorism is a real threat, downplaying anti-Semitic violence -- is astonishing. It's factually unsupportable -- Muslim terrorists have torched a synagogue in Edmonton, a school library in Montreal, and were caught before implementing even more massive schemes. Tut-tutting the risk of Muslim terror usually falls to Elmasry and his fellow terrorism excusers. But they're not too credible. Why not get a Jew to do the "there's nothing to see here, go back to sleep" propaganda for them?
Particularly astonishing is the contrast between Burny's "don't worry, be happy" approach to threats of real violence, and his hyperventilation at non-violent, if offensive, language on the Internet. There is no racial epithet Burny doesn't want the Canadian government to prosecute (well, in fairness, he hasn't called for the prosecution of his friend Elmasry's epithets). So he's all for the prosecution of mere words. But a terrorist threat? Calm down!
I receive a half-dozen e-mails a day from Jews across Canada -- including senior members of the community, including senior fundraisers -- who are just scratching their heads about the CJC, and Farber in particular. I've heard from Jews in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto about trying to cut off their United Jewish Appeal funds to the CJC. It reminds of the grassroots revolt when the CJC prostituted itself to the government in 1992, and officially endorsed the doomed Charlottetown Accord. This time it's even weirder -- and grassroots Jews, the people Burny claims, without a mandate, to represent, are getting just as fed up.
I wouldn't worry too much about Burny, though. If the CJC actually listens to its "constituents" and gives the boot to Burny and his man-crush on Elmasry, he can always get a job with the Canadian Islamic Congress -- or even Al Jazeera.
UPDATE: I see by the comments that my attempt at satire was too subtle. No, I don't really think Burny has converted to Islam. I just think that he has become a dhimmi -- that he has become subservient to radical Islam. I think it's because his career has been so wedded to human rights commissions and their censorship, and now that radical Islamists are using his favourite vehicles, rather than renounce those HRCs as dangerous, he has done the mental gymnastics required to support their use of the HRCs, too. It's tough to repudiate one's past mistakes; too tough for Burny to do. But there are other voices in Canada's Jewish leadership that see the awful mistake made by the Jews when they endorsed political censorship.