Anonymous flyers left in both
newsstands Dec. 31 are demanding that a “hate group”
be forced out of Whistler.
The flyers are adorned with the headline “HATE GROUP OUT OF
WHISTLER NOW” and carry a quote from Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the deceased
leader of Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish organization that began in the 18
century. Schneerson died in 1994.
Schneerson’s quote is from an article in the March 2000 issue
Washington Report of Middle East Affairs
. The quote, from a book review by
editor Allan Brownfeld, reads as follows:
“The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems
from the common expression: ‘Let us differentiate.’ Thus, we do not have a case
of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we
have case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species. This is
what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a
totally different quality from the body of (members) of all nations of the
world… A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity. The entire creation (of a
non-Jew) exists only for the sake of the Jews.”
The flyers give no indication of who printed them or who to
contact about them. The flyers also don’t specify which organizations they’re
accusing of being a “hate group.”
For Rabbi Chaim Shapiro of Whistler’s Sinai Centre, an
organization that promotes Jewish culture in Whistler, it was a disturbing
“My reaction to this is one of sadness and disappointment that
even Whistler is a target for this sort of thinly-veiled hate campaign,” he
said in a statement over e-mail.
“While I’m hesitant to dignify this attack with a response, I
will say that the views attributed to the Jewish community in this flyer are
inconsistent with what I learned in the Jewish seminary and in no way reflect
the views I’ve heard from the Jewish people I’ve met in Whistler or anywhere
else for that matter.”
Lubavitch B.C. is a branch of the Chabad Lubavitch
organization. Overseen by six rabbis and working out of an office in Vancouver,
it has a synagogue, Shabbat services and opportunities for Jewish education.
Based in New York, Chabad Lubavitch has branches in every continent throughout
Shapiro stressed that the Sinai Centre is not part of the
Lubavitch organization, but he was nevertheless distressed by the flyers.
“I have no hesitation in condemning the contents of this flyer
and the transparently divisive motivations of those who are distributing it,”
he said in his statement.
Patrick Harroch, president of Whistler’s Sh’ar Harim
congregation, called the flyer an “ugly and cowardly” display of anti-Semitism.
“The fact that the producer of this flyer has chosen to remain
anonymous, and that it relies entirely on a quote from a wholly discredited
source, speaks volumes about the motivations of its author,” he said in a
statement. “The divisive ideas attributed to the Jewish faith in the flyers
circulating around Whistler run entirely contrary to mainstream Jewish
Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair with the Whistler RCMP said police hadn’t heard about the flyers until Pique called them. Pique sent him the flyer’s text over e-mail and he responded that it had been forwarded to the appropriate investigating authority.