Review: "Targeting Lev Tahor, from Israel to Canada."

It took a while but finally, one courageous writer has accepted the challenge of catching this elusive moonbeam in his hand. While Maximilian Forte admits that "The case of Lev Tahor is a complicated one, that fragments and disperses so that an array of many different debates and conflicts, and many different realities of Canada, Israel and the international system, are simultaneously thrown up," he has at least erected for us some points from which to view the circumstances surrounding their story and an optional framework of analysis that may make the approach to this intellectual/political cluster munition less daunting for those of us who are inclined to deeper exploration. The entire post "Targeting Lev Tahor, from Israel to Canada." can be read at his blog, Zero Anthropology, as I will only provide a review here.

The author begins with "We will hunt you down." which sets the scene in Quebec where a nascent policy of cultural synchronization provided the ideal terrain upon which to pursue that stubborn anachronism, whether dangerous or not, of Lev Tahor. While the jury is still out on why exactly the hounds were first released, and at whose instigation, the energetic participants in the hunt are identified as Israel, the Montreal Jewish community and Quebec's child protection services.

In "Canada: Israel’s “North Bank”?" the author examines the Israelification of Canadian policy culminating most recently in the Canadian Prime Minister's statement to Israel's Knesset earlier this year, that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. He notes that this statement was a double edged sword. On the one hand, it attempted to erase an entire dissenting portion of Jewry by presenting all Jews as predisposed to the unquestioning support of Zionism, while at the same time implying a threat that all Jews must be Zionists... or else. Lev Tahor, with its True Torah, anti-Zionist stance had therefore found itself in the cross hairs of the slayers of the newest iteration of Anti-Semitism.

"The Many Instances of Lev Tahor." provides a brief overview of the community, their origins, their beliefs and why they came to be located in Canada. The author outlines the publicly stated reasons for their having been targeted by authorities in Quebec, the fear of eventually losing their children to Child Protective Services that drove them to leave Quebec and then some of them to eventually leave the country. Acknowledging the complexity of the nature of Lev Tahor’s journey and struggle, the author suggests a series of nested conflicts along different axes which their story foregrounds:

"Zionism and racism.
“Religion” or “cult”, and the homogenization of Jewry.
International relations: Israel, the US, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala.
Humanitarianism, Liberalism.
The right to be different.
Child welfare, children’s aid services.
Parental rights versus state control.
Education, Residential Schooling, Genocide.
Media propaganda: “Jewish Taliban”.
The Quebec Charter of “secular values”.
What “freedom” does not mean in Canada."

He concludes that although "the dominant narrative pushed by governments and the media in Canada is that Lev Tahor is an extremist group, one that threatens the safety and welfare of its children, and that the conflict with Lev Tahor is really only about its children. It’s not so simple however."

"Wards of the State: Seizing Lev Tahor’s Children to “Save” Them", begins by quoting Supreme Court Justice Lynda Templeton:
The circumstances in this case fundamentally beg the question whether the community to which the appellants belong is entitled to foster self-perpetuation by the suppression or limitation of critical thought in its children”~ Ontario Supreme Court Judge Lynda Templeton (2014/4/14).
The author explores this statement to reveal some potentially subversive interpretations. He comments that "all parenting, and all forms of socialization are about inculcating certain ideas, beliefs, norms, and practices that are deemed acceptable and appropriate, which means creating a system for an unconscious, nearly automatic rejection of alternatives," and further, that the articulation of a focus on "the perpetuation of the group through its children" raises the disturbing spectre of "removal of children, forcibly and involuntarily" which as the author reminds us, "constitutes one of the established defining principles of genocide."

The author continues the exploration of the forced removal of children in, "Humanitarian Genocide? No Apologies." by revisiting Canada's Residential Schools System and its counterparts in the Unites States and Australia. He postulates that it "was at the foundation of the “humanitarianism” that has in fact emerged as a clearly articulated policy of international intervention from these very same white settler states. The template has been preserved, and is now being globalized in its application. The template essentially consists of:

(a) racially differentiated tutors and wards;
(b) abduction; and,
(c) civilization via re-training."

He concludes by questioning what Canada's official policy of “multiculturalism” really means, if there is apparently no room for real “cultural differences”.

We've seen myth creation accomplished time after time on the international stage but "Constructing Emergency: The Production of Lev Tahor as a Danger." shows how the strategy manifests domestically. 
It’s very saddening to see the circle of reports. The Israeli parliament sets aside time to dictate what is to be done with Lev Tahor, (as if it’s their business) they quote allegations by unverified sources (could be me…could be you…as long as someone says….) then the media quotes the allegations from the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and the DYP [Dept. of Youth Protection] quotes them, and the Knesset ‘confirms’ those reports, the media confirms the knesset’s reports…you get the point. So now we are a ‘dangerous cult,’ because the Knesset ‘confirmed’ claims, reports, and allegations… how can it not be true, it’s the Knesset, no?…even Google agrees with them! SOURCE
What the author argues is that until the authorities have proven their case, have provided the evidence to support the allegations, what exactly is the abuse? He provides excerpts from professionals who have conducted their own investigations and have found no evidence to prove that there is child abuse. So how exactly can the actions taken against this group be justified?

"Terror" briefly explores three sources of terror: the acute distress being experienced by the community under the constant threat of the removal of  their children and even more terrifying, the thought of losing them to a foster care system that has itself been guilty of abuse/neglect; the deliberate association of Lev Tahor with the Taliban by the Israeli press and bloggers, meant to add that incendiary, anti-extremist sentiment to the persecution of the community; and finally, the actual ongoing imprisonment of Lev Tahor in Canada, where by secretly obtained court order, the children of the community are now prevented from acquiring passports, thus effectively removing their parents' right to freedom of movement.

In "The Neocolonial Dimension" the author highlights the neocolonial relationship between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago. This could be inferred not just from the alacrity with which the latter facilitated the detention and handing over of some of the Lev Tahor members to Canadian authorities but from the Attorney General's own words where he admits that "international image" and maintaining good relations with Canada were the main impulses behind his country's unquestioning cooperation. Apparently Guatemala's jurists are not as susceptible to Canadian pheromones and preferred to be guided by the law. They did not hand over the Lev Tahor members to Canadian authorities but instead allowed those persons who had arrived on their territory, the right to remain for the three months allowable stay period In addition, "a local court judged that Canada’s desire to take away Lev Tahor’s children would harm their emotional stability, health and integrity, and cause them significant harm." The author speculates that perhaps Guatemala's more measured approach was a result of lessons it had learned from its own painful experience with genocide.

"In Conclusion? Losing My Values" addresses the subject of Canada's and Quebec's "values" and how Lev Tahor's experience has caused him to question again what constitutes these values. Do we really have "values" or are they just "a negation of the values of others"? Drawing on the ideas of Jean Baudrillard, the author describes this negation as "a revenge motivated by the resentment that the other has maintained some cultural particularity and sense of integrity rooted in actual substance and practice." This section is dense and thought-provoking and my summary does not do it  justice but the author concludes with his thoughts about Quebec "culture" and superimposed upon that, Lev Tahor's goal of wanting "to go backwards".  "Going backwards", the author concludes, "is probably one of the most progressive lines of thinking one can find in this place."

Do read the entire article by Maximilian Forte on his blog, Zero Anthropology - "Targeting Lev Tahor, from Israel to Canada."