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 Posted Tuesday, June 15, 1999

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THE following news release was jointly issued by the representative organizations of the Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian communities in Canada on April 6, 1994, and was published in the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Headquarters' BULLETIN (December 1993 - April 1994 edition).

April 6, 1994

UCC and Three Other Congresses Take B'nai B'rith Canada Official To Task

FOUR organizations representing Canadians of eastern European origin have joined in protest against recent remarks by a B'nai B'rith Canada official that the rise of in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada is "perhaps...because many Canadians have familial links with eastern Europe."

Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of the international organization, was reported to have made his remarks in an article that appeared March 15 [1994] in the Toronto Star.

The Estonian Central Council in Canada, the Lithuanian Canadian Community, the Canadian Polish Congress, and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress are united in condemning his implications.

Mr. Dimant went on to say: "Since the demise of communism, churches are re-emerging. But the mentality there remains mired in the '20s and '30s when Jews were vilified." He also claimed that the acts of harassment and vandalism directed against Jews in Canada were committed by "people who say they are defending Christian values."

A joint communique by the four associations labels the statements made by Mr. Dimant as baseless and abhorrent, and particularly repugnant from an organization that is so active in identifying and attempting to eradicate racial and religious hatred.

Defining eastern Europeans as anti-Semitic is an abhorrent manifestation of racism, which along with the anti-Semitism that unfortunately exists in many countries throughout the world, must be wiped out. Speculating that Canadians of eastern Europeans origin are anti-Semites and insinuating that they are responsible for the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada is malicious and absurd. By doing so, he has maligned millions of Canadians ranging from our Governor-General to youngsters barely aware of their ethnic origin.

It was equally offensive of Mr. Dimant to state that those who commit racially inspired crimes, especially those linked to the so-called neo-Nazi movement, hold themselves to be "defending Christian values." There is absolutely no evidence of this, and such a remark denigrates all Christians.

The ultimate effect of Mr. Dimant's invective is to undermine the good relations that the vast majority of Canadians of diverse ethnic origins and religious affiliations have built up in Canada and strikes at the heart of tolerance that all Canadians cherish.

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