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In 1976, the nationalist Parti Québécois came to power for the first time in Quebec's history and governed the province until 1985, before winning the 1994 elections with Jacques Parizeau. A tense period followed its election in 1976 within business circles and among the Jewish community. In the midst of this crisis, Victor Teboul’s Mythe et images du Juif au Québec had just been published and it exposed a negative portrayal of Jews in Quebec’s most well-read novels and history books. The book had a strong impact on the Jewish leadership and created some controversy among Quebec’s francophone intellectual elite.
In his provocative Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!, published in 1992, Mordecai Richler drew extensively from Victor Teboul's Mythe et images du Juif au Québec.
Following the PQ's election, Teboul presented his views about Quebec’s nationalist movement and its relation to the Jewish community in various publications and public forums, and proposed several venues to bridge the gap between Francophone Quebecers and the mostly Anglophone Jewish community.
In 1981, Victor Teboul was named Quebec’s Executive Director of the Canada-Israel Committee, as the Jewish Community’s principal lobby group was then called, with the mandate to develop academic and political exchanges between Israel and Quebec and to promote a better understanding of Québécois-Jewish relations.
Following his nomination, several high-level exchanges took place between Quebec academics and representatives of Israeli universities, and between Quebec’s syndical leaders and members of Israel’s Histadrut (general federation of labour). Teboul also arranged visits to Israel for several high-profile Québécois intellectuals, such as Pierre Bourgault and Monique Simard, and led a writer’s delegation on an official visit to Israel.
The essays gathered in the present collection represent a synthesis of Teboul’s writings and reflections on that period, and constitute a document of historical significance for a better understanding of the Jewish community’s relations with the Québécois. They reveal the crucial role culture played in Quebec’s sovereignist movement and, in retrospect, they explain the difficulties that nationalists face today, considering the leadership that Francophones have acquired on an international scale in various scientific, technological and artistic fields.
Essays on Quebec nationalism and the Jews is a must-read book for anyone interested in the relations between Jews and Quebecers.
About the Author
Victor Teboul, Ph.D. was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He has produced several radio series for Radio-Canada and is the author of numerous essays and novels. The expulsion of Egypt’s Jewish community during the Suez Canal crisis is at the heart of his widely-read novel, La Lente Découverte de l’étrangeté. As an academic, he has taught history at Université du Québec à Montréal and Quebec literature at a French-language college near Montreal. He holds a Master’s degree in literature from McGill University and a Doctorate in French Studies from Université de Montréal. He has sat on the Jury of the Governor General’s Literary Awards for non-fiction. Dr. Teboul is the current Editor of the online magazine Tolerance.ca. For more information, please visit his web site: www.victorteboul.com
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