Between Suspicion and Censure: Attitudes towards the Jewish Left in Postwar Vancouver

Faith Jones

Abstract


This article examines relations between the Vancouver Peretz
Institute (VPI, a secular, Yiddish-based organization), the
United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO, a political group with
close ties to the Communist Party of Canada), and Vancouver’s
mainstream Jewish community during the 1950s. Begun in the
mid-1940s, as Vancouver’s Jewish population was growing, the
VPI and the Vancouver branches of the UJPO at first experienced
little hostility and much active support from the larger
Jewish community. In the early 1950s, under the pressures of
anti-communist fervour then sweeping the United States and
Canada, Canadian Jewish Congress expelled the UJPO nationally.
Later, Vancouver’s Jewish community expelled the UJPO
from local umbrella organizations and from use of community
resources. At the same time, the VPI, seen as not sufficiently
religious or Zionist, was denied funding through the United
Jewish Appeal. The article looks at these events, and considers
the continuation of strained relations between the parties to
the dispute.

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