Rabbi Cooper, Associate Dean Simon Wiesenthal Center, Honors Manfred Gerstenfeld at CIJR Montreal 2019 Gala

Good evening, Erev Tov to our dear friends up in Montreal Canada and as a loyal follower of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research it is a particular honor to be with you at least by way of a video clip. My deepest respects and continued love and admiration for Professor Krantz and his amazing team whose impact on a daily basis goes far and wide around the world and as such it means the people that you brought together, Irwin Cotler, Hillel Neuer, Fred Krantz, these are people whose impact has gone way beyond their native Canada, and in Hillel’s case, tries to almost singlehandedly deal with the United Nations over in Geneva.

But we are here tonight to recognize and thank tonight’s honoree, the awardee of the International Lion of Judah Award, someone who doesn’t need any awards, somebody I call “Rebbe,” and that is Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld. He is above all else a loyal Jew, a great Zionist and an uncompromising seeker of truth. The difference between Manfred and the rest of us is number one, he is really a focused writer and really at the end of the day fearless in doing things that are quite difficult, meaning not only analyzing past events, but putting some uncomfortable facts on the table for all of us to deal with. That takes someone with enormous personal courage and I think especially of one particular point. It goes back quite a few years now when Manfred first warned the world that somewhere north of 150 million Europeans believe that the State of Israel today is doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews in the 30’s and 40’s. Many, many brilliant scholars, many great writers, professors, and others initially couldn’t just rap their minds around such a possibility and here we are at the end of 2019 when we see it being played out on university campuses across North America and beyond in academic circles and we have to thank and support at every opportunity Manfred Gerstenfeld for being that truth seeker, for having the kind of courage of just telling it, saying it – brilliantly – the way it is . I consider him to be my Rebbe. Whenever I go to Israel we are seen at some of Jerusalem’s finest and cheapest breakfast places for our two hour meetings. I wish I was with him everyday because then I would know I would be making less mistakes in real time.

I want to bless Manfred with many more years of good health and to stay focused and to continue to be such a great resource and source of inspiration for clal Yisrael.

G-d bless you and Mazal Tov.

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