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Canadian writes politician about shul vandalism, gets earful on Gaza

Staff for Canadian parliament member Jenica Atwin said they sent a different message by mistake.

Jenica Atwin, Canada
Jenica Atwin, a member of the parliament in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Credit: “The Dennis Report” via Wikimedia Commons.

In Canada, an error in responding to a constituent’s concerns over his representative speaking out about a hate crime has generated hurt and confusion.

On Jan. 27, someone vandalized the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue in Fredericton, New Brunswick, prompting an unnamed member of the congregation to contact Jenica Atwin, a member of parliament, that day.

“Fredericton’s synagogue was vandalized today … on Holocaust Remembrance Day!! And you couldn’t be bothered to make a statement. Shame on you,” the individual wrote via an email titled, “I guess you and Justin only represent certain Canadians.”

The synagogue member received an answer on March 4, more than a month later—a 1,500-word statement advocating against “Canadian materials being indirectly used in the slaughter of innocent people” and accusing Israel of “atrocities in Palestine.” 

Kate McAllister, a spokesperson for Atwin, said the email was supposed to go out to those who had contacted the parliamentarian regarding the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that infiltrated southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages.

According to reports, Atwin’s Jewish constituent then received a more appropriate reply, which pointed out the parliament member had made a statement regarding the vandalism and had attended a vigil in response.

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