The ZOA is disappointed and perplexed by the pro-Israel Jewish National Fund (JNF) of Canada abruptly cancelling a scheduled speech by the extraordinarily pro-Israel presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee.
The Canadian Jewish News reported that Huckabee’s “Oct. 15 speaking engagement in Ottawa was cancelled following objections from the Canadian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community.” (ZOA takes no positions on any issue not related to Israel or US-Israel relations.)
Gov. Huckabee was not going to address gay marriage – but only address the reasons why we all should support Israel as he does, and explain why the attacks on Israel are wrong.
Gov. Huckabee is an ordained Baptist Minister who graduated from Quachita Baptist University and understandably accepts the biblical position against same-sex marriage. President Barack Obama also accepted the biblical position against same-sex marriage until he changed his mind in May 2012.
The ZOA believes a pro-Israel group should give a podium to a pro-Israel speaker irrespective of his/her position on non-Israel issues (with some rare exceptions). Whether a speaker supports same-sex marriage or opposes it; whether a speaker supports or opposes gun control, Obamacare, raising the minimum wage, the different theories on climate change etc. should be irrelevant to the choice of a pro-Israel speaker. And, Pastor Huckabee’s position on marriage should be given special respect and understanding because he is a Pastor who believes in the Bible.
Are we going to forbid most, if not all Orthodox Rabbi’s from speaking to us about Israel in Canada or America if they oppose same-sex marriage? Can one no longer express support for positions the Bible and Torah takes without being ostracized and punished? Do we no longer have respect for constitutional protections of religious freedoms and cultural norms concerning the family?
And in this case, presidential candidate Governor Pastor Huckabee would have received no political benefit speaking to this group of Canadian citizens – they can’t vote for him! Gov. Huckabee’s motivation and purpose was to inspire and encourage and promote support for Israel. We pro-Israel Jews should be grateful that a prominent gentile loves Israel and does all he can to fight for her.
ZOA has given podiums to pro-Israel liberal Democrats and pro-Israel conservative Republicans from Alan Dershowitz, Mort Zuckerman, Cong. Eliot Engel, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Senator Robert Menendez, to Cong. Eric Cantor, Senator Ted Cruz, and yes, Gov. Mike Huckabee.
The ZOA believes that the JNF Canada was wrong to cancel a major and fabulous pro-Israel speaker because of a Torah and Biblical position he takes unrelated to Israel.
During the difficult times Israel is now enduring, it needs all the support it can gather. Silencing the voice of one of pro-Israel’s powerful gentile supporters was the wrong and cowardly position to take.
We urge the JNF to publicly apologize to Gov. Pastor Huckabee and re-invite him to speak. We Jews should thank almighty G-d that we have an eloquent, powerful, and visible supporter like Governor Mike Huckabee.