B'Nai Brith Canada has asked Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion to remove new star candidate Jocelyn Coulon from an upcoming byelection in Montreal's Outremont riding because of his past stance on Israel.
The Jewish organization says Coulon, a political scientist and former journalist, has a "well-documented anti-Israel bias," including sympathy for Hamas, that is "out of step with current Liberal policy," according to a statement released by the group.
B'nai Brith hopes Coulon's documented position on Israel will disqualify him from the byelection.
Outremont is a multi-ethnic riding nestled along Mont Royal's northern slope, and is home to a significant Jewish population, including a large portion of Montreal's Hasidic community.
Coulon said he has no anti-Israel bias, but strongly believes in criticism and debate. "I am a true ally of Israel," he said on Monday. "Sometimes I'm very critical, that's for sure, but I think that makes good allies."
Too immediately come out so strongly, you have to assume that B'nai Brith will actively campaign against Coulon. I don't claim any knowledge of Coulon's views, but he seems to have made a powerful enemy, in a riding with a sizeable Jewish vote. The sky isn't falling, but this isn't the way a campaign is supposed to get off the ground. I'm curious to the vetting process, because Dion's personal endorsement makes him an extension of Coulon's views.