FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2016
JNF Canada strongly believes in fostering unity within all communities across Canada and a
strong unified connection with the State of Israel. We have operated this way for over 70
Most communities hold an annual celebration for Yom Ha’atzmaut, traditionally open to all
members of the community. In Vancouver, the annual host is the Jewish Federation of Greater
Vancouver (JFGV). For years, JNF Pacific Region has proudly sponsored this event as a
celebration that has been inclusive for the local community.
When we heard that the artist chosen to perform at this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration
was one who has generated divisiveness both in Israel and throughout diaspora communities,
we were concerned. We consulted with Keren Keyemeth LeIsrael senior staff, JNF Canada
and JNF Pacific Region leadership to discuss our responsibility to our constituency, many of
whom had expressed discomfort with the artist’s views and organizational affiliations. At no
time did we claim that the artist supported BDS. We contacted JFGV and agreed to disagree
on the choice of entertainment and respectfully decided to take a one-year hiatus from
sponsorship of the event.
We want to be absolutely clear that JNF Canada is not protesting, boycotting, delegitimizing or
censoring this event. After hearing from so many of our donors, we simply are not comfortable
using charitable funds to support this particular artist.
JNF Canada is a non-political organization which believes in strengthening the State of Israel
for all of her citizens. It remains our position that Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations and other
community events should be inclusive. We have demonstrated that this is not a position only
addressing one side of the political spectrum. Last year, we had contracted a guest speaker
who represented the right side of the political spectrum. Subsequently, his comments caused
a division within the local Jewish community. Once this became apparent, we cancelled the
contracted speaker and brought in a different presenter who appealed to a substantially wider
JNF respects Judaism’s rich tradition of debate and dissent. Nevertheless, we hold Jewish
community harmony as our utmost priority; we want to make it clear that while we have had
disagreement around one choice of entertainment for an event, we look forward to continue
working with Federations from coast to coast, especially celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut together
in Vancouver in 2017. We remain committed in our support for Israel, all of her citizens and all
of the organizations who share our goals.