Author Tags: Fiction, Jewish
Author Tags: Politics
Howard Rotberg resides in Kitsilano with his wife (who is Director of the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC) and his youngest child. He spends one week of each month in Ontario developing affordable rental housing for low income working people. He has written and lectured widely on affordable housing and urban policy.
Howard Rotberg was born in 1951 in Brantford Ontario and as of 2005, resides in BC. He is retired from his practice as a lawyer to devote more time to his writing, having gained a reputation as a developer of affordable rental housing for the working poor in southern Ontario. As a son of a survivor of Auschwitz "whose parents’ and sister’s mere Jewishness proved their crimes against the Third Reich and justified their death in the gas chambers," Rotberg has published a novel, The Second Catastrophe (Mantua Books), that was preceded by a print-on-demand non-fiction book, Second Generation Radical: The Struggle Against the Second Holocaust. In 2008 he pursued a Small Claims Court case against the Chapters book chain and one of Chapters' employees, an Islamist Canadian, arising from allegations of racism pertaining to an in-store reading event. As the controversy grew, Chapters allegedly removed his books from their stores, choosing not to make them available for sale through their auspices. A press release from Mr. Rotberg sent to B.C. BookWorld in July of 2008 described him as a "Vancouver-based writer." He has has written for the Vancouver Sun, the Georgia Straight, the Record, Jewish Tribune, Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. has lectured at U.B.C., U. of Waterloo, Canada Mortgage and Housing Conference, Smart Growth B.C. conference, C.H.R.A. conference. President of Rotberg Develop Group and Southern Ontario Affordable Housing Inc., developers of affordble rental housing for the working poor. Former practicing lawyer, dividing his time between Vancouver and Southern Ontario
His biography on his website in 2008 stated:
Howard Rotberg was born and raised in Brantford Ontario, and educated at the University of Toronto where he received degrees in both History and Law. Mr. Rotberg practiced corporate and real estate law for 20 years in Kitchener Ontario. While living in Kitchener he served as President of Beth Jacob Synagogue. He also began a writing career working in a variety of magazines, such as Cross Cultures and Exchange Magazine. He also became a frequent contributor to the Insight page of the Kitchener Record newspaper, writing historical background pieces to current issues relating to Israel, the Jewish community and war crimes issues. He developed a special interest in the issue of compensation for Nazi era slave labour and authored and maintained an internet site devoted to the slave labour issue. This site was discontinued after the American and German governments effected a compensation programme in 2002. Mr. Rotberg developed an interest in urban planning and downtown revitalization, both from the practical and academic viewpoints. He served as vice-Chair of Kitchener's Downtown Advisory Committee and on other committees at City Hall. He began to develop infill residential projects, on both brownfield and clean sites, including townhouses and apartment buildings. Specifically he became interested in the issue of housing affordability and was a pioneer in government assisted programs to provide affordable housing. At the same time, he became a frequent contributor to newspapers on the issues of urban sprawl, downtown issues, brownfield remediation, and affordable housing, and has appeared at conferences in this area. Also as part of one of his real estate developments he donated some parkland to the City of Kitchener, which agreed to name it Wallenberg Park after the Holocaust hero, Raoul Wallenberg. Not surprisingly, Mr. Rotberg's other interests began to eclipse his law practice and in 1997 he sold his practice to concentrate on writing and land development. He says that he is the only land developer - author that he knows. With the writing of The Second Catastrophe, Mr. Rotberg has returned to his first love - the writing of History, and also the genre of historical fiction.
Exploring Vancouverism: The Political Culture of Canada’s Lotus Land (Mantua Books / CanadianValuesPress 2008). Mantua2003@Hotmail.com
The Second Catastrophe (Mantua Books, 2003)
Second Generation Radical (www.howardrotberg.com, 2007)
[BCBW 2008] "Fiction" "Jewish" "Politics"
TOLERism: The Ideology Revealed
Rotberg is the author of the controversial novel, The Second Catastrophe: A Novel about a Book and its Author and the critique of Vancouver's political culture and absence of policies to promote social justice and affordable housing, entitled Exploring Vancouverism: The Political Culture of Canada's Lotus Land.
Rotberg is a values based cultural critic analyzing policy from the point of view of ideologies and foundational values. This makes him quite unique in the Vancouver writing community.
Mr. Rotberg is the author whose prescient first book, a novel, The Second Catastrophe: A Novel about a Book and its Author attracted Islamist anger, and an 18 year old Palestinian book clerk at Chapters (Canada's monopoly book chain) successfully got it banned by Chapters (which had been carrying 7 copies per store) by fabricating a lie - that Rotberg at a bookstore lecture had said something to the effect that "all Muslims are terrorists" which position she later changed, when requested to put it in writing, to a claim that he said "all Middle Easterners are terrorists" both of which were denied by Rotberg and in affidavits by professors who attended. Rotberg has persevered and his new book on the ideology plaguing the west is a "must read".
Rotberg's new book argues that a tradition of tolerance has morphed into an undue deference and leniency for those illiberals who would take away our freedoms, combined with a self-hatred of the liberal democratic tradition in the west, which he calls the ideology of "Tolerism". He argues that Justice must often trump tolerance, and that we must discuss what are the limits of tolerance.
Vancouver B.C. and Brantford Ontario
-- Publisher Press release