One does wonder what the UJA is thinking…

… by inviting Jon Voight to launch the 2013 Campaign.

What’s wrong with Jon Voight, you say?  He was so gripping in “Midnight Cowboy” and in “Coming Home”…  And his daughter is Angelina Jolie!  And he’s so pro-Israel in an age where just everyone is hating, delegitimizing, criticizing…

Sounds like the perfect guy to stand tall and stand with the UJA of Greater Toronto… except for one little, tiny issue.

Jon Voight is a nut case of the same nut variety as Glenn Beck who was in Toronto at the behest of Uptown Chabad in June.

Don’t believe me?

Let us refer to the opening paragraph of an open letter penned by Voight to President Obama in 2010:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone’s enemy — and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm’s way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.

Huh?

Oh, right.  He was not referring to the President Obama that currently resides in the White House with his spouse Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha.  He was referring to the goateed President Obama from the alternate time-stream that replaced the sitting president when the First Family beamed aboard during an unexpected ion storm which caused a transporter malfunction…

Perhaps Voight has moderated somewhat since that 2010 missive… or perhaps his endorsement of Mitt Romney has tempered his rhetoric…

At first, I thought that I had no issue with the UJA inviting a vocal conservative who is also a vocal supporter of Israel.  After all, the UJA represents the community, does it not?  And are there not conservatives among us?

But would the UJA extend a similar invitation to, say, another passionately identified Jew who is somewhat less conservative and more critical of Israeli policy like Tony Kushner?  Or Avrum Burg?  Or even Peter Beinart?   I wonder…  And if they did, and more conservative folk were upset about it, what would the UJA do?  Would they disinvite Kushner or Burg or Beinart?  I wonder…

So I cannot help but conclude that if this is who the UJA invites to galvanize the community, they should not be too surprised or perplexed when an increasing number of folks in the community decide to stay home and keep their hands in their pockets.  If the UJA stands with Voight, they stand increasingly apart from many, including me.

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