Shimon Koffler Fogel is CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the advocacy agent of Canada's Jewish Federations.
Based in Ottawa, Shimon Koffler Fogel serves as the CEO for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) - the advocacy agent of Canada's Jewish Federations. He is a graduate of Clark University’s School of Government and International Relations in Massachusetts and pursued graduate and doctoral studies at McGill University. He also holds rabbinic ordination.
Shimon joined the Canada-Israel Committee as Director of Government Relations in 1988 and was appointed as CEO in 2001. Prior to joining the CIC, he served as the founding National Director of Community Services at Canadian Jewish Congress. As a long-time lobbyist and experienced community professional, he is well versed in the full range of public policy issues of concern to the Canadian Jewish community. Shimon has served as a consultant to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and as a member of the prestigious Round Table on Global Security under the Department of National Defense. In 2002 he introduced the concept of the Shared Values strategy as a basis for securing support for Israel that has now been adopted by much of the international pro-Israel advocacy community, including Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2005 he developed a model for moving to sustainable peace in the Middle East that focuses on conflict management rather than conflict resolution – an approach that has won broad support internationally. He has written and lectured extensively in Canada and internationally on matters of public policy and has been engaged by numerous groups, including the Assembly of First Nations, the World Sikh Organization and the Canadian Tibet Committee to advise on strategic planning and advocacy.
The Hill Times recognized Shimon as one of the 100 most influential actors within the political sector, and Embassy Magazine ranked him among the 50 most important people influencing Canadian foreign policy. Shimon is married to Esti Gourarie, the founder of the philanthropic organization Ten Yad. The couple has two children.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has instilled confidence that this unifying approach to fighting hate will prevail. Learning the lessons of the M-103 experience provides an opportunity for Canadians from all walks of life to come together, transcend our differences and achieve the objectives we collectively espouse.
In a disingenuous ploy to gain acceptance and support in the West, many proponents of BDS typically claim that their movement is simply about promoting the "fundamental rights" of Palestinians in accordance with "international law." This means, foremost, pressuring Israel to end "its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands" and allowing "the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties [in Israel] as stipulated in UN resolution 194."
Twenty years ago, an Israeli extremist assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. The assassin intended to quash the Oslo Accords Rabin signed with the hope of leading Israelis and Palestinians to peace. Rabin's historic bid was a watershed moment that continues to have an indelible impact on Israelis -- and shed much-needed light on the obstacles to peace today.
Resettlement will enable many Syrians to provide their children an opportunity to escape what will be remembered as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 21st Century. However, asylum in the West can only resolve a fraction of the crisis unfolding on the ground in the Middle East.
The history of crude antisemitism in cartoons began in Europe long before Israel's existence. That it continues to be carried forward today in Palestinian society and Muslim communities elsewhere is a scandal, one that should be condemned by all people of good will.
If our core values -- democracy, tolerance, pluralism -- are to prevail, moderates must act before the extreme right and the extreme left hijack the discourse. We must move quickly and decisively to prevent such atrocities from recurring, beginning with four critical steps.
The irony is that it seems to be some Christians themselves who, in an effort to show respect for non-Christians, often pre-emptively remove "Christmas" from their greetings, events, and public symbols. While the intention is laudable, the effort is largely unnecessary. I appreciate and welcome the deep connection Christians have to the symbols of their holidays.
Protecting members of our society from discrimination based on the colour of their skin, ethnicity, or ancestry is a fundamental Canadian value. Unfortunately, Canadians across the country currently face real as well as potential future discrimination based on their DNA. Genetic testing can provide diagnostic precision and more effective treatment of illness, saving lives and ultimately reducing healthcare costs. Tragically, patients all too often face a dreadful dilemma: undergo testing that could prolong and improve the quality of their lives but would make them vulnerable to discrimination, or refrain from testing and take their chances.
Increasing violence in Jerusalem has prompted completely different reactions from Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Israel's Prime Minister and Chief Rabbi have both appealed for calm and restraint. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction have, in contrast, inflamed tensions and incited violence that have steadily escalated from riots to terrorist attacks.
The Canada-Israel relationship is often only viewed through the lens of politics, which unfortunately obscures the remarkable bonds being formed between Canadians and Israelis at the institutional and grassroots levels. As the admirable work of the AUCC has shown, there is much we can learn from one another.
Civilian casualties are the worst of many terrible events that take place in conflicts. Even in the most just or necessary war, those waged to protect a country from outside attack, civilian casualtie...
Around 9 p.m. Israel time on Tuesday, Liberal MP Gerry Byrne and a group of Canadian parliamentarians were forced to take cover in one of many bomb shelters across Israel when a siren warned of missiles fired from Gaza headed for Jerusalem, the nation's capital. While all emerged safely, the experience -- and the knowledge that several missiles landed in the city's vicinity -- will not be soon forgotten. Being Canadian is among the greatest gifts in an often-dangerous world.
This week, Canadians observed the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. For Sikh Canadians and Jewish Canadians alike, the Day of Remembrance has particular resonance. That our two communities have shared experience in facing terrorism was pointedly on display during the 2008 Mumbai attack.