Stephens: Thank Ye Very Much

Good column:

Dear Kanye West, or “Ye”:

We’ve never met and I hope we never will.

Still, I’d like to express a sort of gratitude. With a few outbursts in a few days — you threatened in a tweet this month to go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE” and it’s been downhill from there — you’ve probably done more to raise public awareness about the persistence, prevalence and nature of antisemitism than any other recent event.

It’s remarkable how long it took us to get here. For 2020, the F.B.I. reports that Jews, who constitute about 2.4 percent of the total adult population in the United States, were on the receiving end of 54.9 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes. On many nights in New York City, Hasidic or Orthodox Jews are being shoved, harangued and beaten.

So far, this has been one of the most underreported stories in the country — itself a telling indicator in an era that is otherwise hyper-attuned to prejudice and hate.

At times, the reporting has all but accused Jews of bringing the violence on themselves, with lengthy stories about allegedly pushy Jewish neighbors or rapacious Jewish landlords. At other times — such as after the attack in January on a Texas synagogue by a British Muslim man who had traveled 4,800 miles to get there — reporters seem to have gone out of their way to find non-antisemitic motives for nakedly antisemitic attacks.

More often, attacks on Jews are treated as regrettable yet somehow understandable expressions of anger at Israel. In May 2021, Jewish diners at a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles were physically assaulted by a member of a group that, according to a witness, was chanting “Death to Jews” and “Free Palestine.” A KABC report of the event was headlined, in part: “Mideast tensions lead to L.A. fight.”

To suggest that “Mideast tensions” led to a “fight” is to obscure both the nature and motive of the assault. Imagine the absurdity of a headline that read: “High Levels of Crime in Minority Neighborhood Lead Police Officer to Kneel on Man’s Neck for Eight Minutes.”

Actually, Ye, you probably can imagine it, since you’ve also blamed George Floyd for his own death. But it’s worth pondering the extent to which, in American culture today, Jews are excluded from inclusion and included in the excluded. That is, the Jewish people’s status as an oft-persecuted minority goes increasingly unrecognized, while the Jewish people’s position as a legitimate target for contempt and ostracism is becoming increasingly accepted.

Take Hollywood, where the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened its doors last year with a panel dedicated to “Creating a More Inclusive Museum.” Yet, as The Times’s Adam Nagourney reported in March, “Through dozens of exhibits and rooms, there is barely a mention of Harry and Jack Warner, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn or Louis B. Mayer” — the Jews who essentially founded the modern movie industry. (After an outcry, the museum now plans a permanent exhibition for them.)

Or take the law school of the University of California, Berkeley, where nine student groups announced in August that they would not host any speakers who support Zionism, a move that is tantamount to the exclusion of most Jews. In an astonishing defense, law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky noted that the bylaw, which he acknowledged was “discriminatory,” had been adopted by only “a handful of student groups” and had not yet been acted upon — as if Berkeley or any other public law school would tolerate for one instant a single student group that announced its intention to exclude, say, a speaker who believes in trans rights.

Or take Israel itself. Is the Jewish state so uniquely evil that, alone among 193 U.N. member states, it has no moral right to exist? Or is it the unique evil of antisemitism that directs this kind of obsessive hatred at one state only — while generally ignoring or downplaying the endless depredations of regimes in, say, Caracas, Ankara, Havana and Tehran?

These are surely not the things you had in mind when you decided to go “death con 3” on my people. Nor were they necessarily top-of-mind for many of the celebrities who denounced you in tweets and Instagram posts. But your bigotry is as good a place as any to begin to have an honest conversation about antisemitism — one that will hopefully last longer than your own career’s self-destruction.

Honest would be to acknowledge that antisemitism is as much a left-wing phenomenon as it is a right-wing one. Honest would be coming to grips with the fact — as Henry Louis Gates Jr. did in these pages in 1992 — that antisemitism infects corners of Black politics as much as it infects the politics of white supremacy. Honest would be holding to account people who were complicit in your antisemitism — such as Tucker Carlson, who praised your “bold” beliefs while editing out your antisemitic remarks from his interview with you. Honest would be coming to terms with the extent to which anti-Zionism has become the antisemitism of our day, echoing the same sordid conspiratorial tropes about Jews as swindlers and impostors.

Honest would also be admitting that you speak for more people than many Americans would have cared to admit. For that, but only that, you deserve thanks.

Source: Thank Ye Very Much

Diversity Minister condemns CRTC for not severing ties with consultant under fire for tweets

Needed but questions remain regarding how Canadian Heritage and CRTC decisions to provide funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre were made. Recommended by officials (“activists on a pension”) and/or pushed by the political level:

Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen says he is “surprised and disappointed” by the federal broadcasting regulator’s decision not to ban an anti-racism organization that employs Laith Marouf, a consultant who has been widely condemned for a series of derogatory tweets about “Jewish white supremacists” and francophones.

The Minister made his comments on Friday to the Commons heritage committee, which had summoned him so he could explain how his department’s anti-racism unit had granted the organization, called the Community Media Advocacy Centre, a contract to run an anti-racism project in which Mr. Marouf was to play a key role.

CMAC has been paid over $500,000 to participate in proceedings held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada’s broadcasting regulator. Most of the money was provided by the Broadcast Participation Fund, an independent body set up by the CRTC to administer payments to public-interest groups taking part in those proceedings.

The Broadcast Participation Fund told The Globe and Mail in a statement on Friday that it was “currently reviewing the CMAC matter.” The fund is paid into by broadcasting companies, which have no influence over who receives the money.

Opinion: Ahmed Hussen demands to know how someone else let his government partner with an apparent antisemite

A spokeswoman for the CRTC said on Thursday that the regulator would not ban CMAC from its proceedings because it would be inappropriate “to establish lists of parties that may or may not participate.”

At Friday’s committee hearing, Mr. Hussen told MPs that he had been warned by Liberal MP Anthony Housefather about Mr. Marouf’s offensive tweets on July 19th or 20th – a month before the Minister spoke out publicly.

Facing sharp questioning from MPs, the Minister admitted that the Heritage Department’s vetting process failed when it decided to pay $133,000 to CMAC to run the anti-racism project.

Mr. Hussen apologized to Jewish and francophone communities, which he said Mr. Marouf has “continuously attacked with his hateful comments.”

He said it was “completely unacceptable” that “this individual fell through the cracks” and was approved to run a government-funded project. The Heritage Department, which he said approved the funding before he became Diversity and Inclusion Minister, has now cancelled the initiative and is asking CMAC for its money back.

“The antisemitic, hateful and xenophobic comments made by Laith Marouf … I condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” Mr. Hussen said. “The fact that the Community Media Advocacy Centre received federal funding while employing Mr. Marouf is unacceptable and should quite frankly never have happened.”

CMAC describes itself as a non-profit organization supporting the “self-determination of Indigenous, racialized and disabled peoples in the media through research, relationship-building, advocacy and learning.”

Mr. Marouf denies he is antisemitic or racist. He said in an interview that CMAC is currently in discussions with the Heritage Department about the contract. CMAC and Mr. Marouf had already started the project when it was terminated.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in August that the government has launched a complete review of funding for CMAC. He added that it was unacceptable “that federal dollars have gone to this organization that has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.”

Mr. Hussen told MPs that CMAC would be blocked from applying for any future funding. He said he has introduced tighter vetting procedures for such contracts, including an obligation to check social media profiles for hateful speech. And he said his department’s contracts now include a clause that allows them to be terminated if hate speech comes to light. He said he has paused all new departmental contracts until more checks are made.

Jewish groups, including the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, called on the CRTC to follow the government’s lead in severing ties with Mr. Marouf and CMAC, and to ban the organization from taking part in regulatory proceedings.

“Laith Marouf’s hateful statements should have disqualified him, and CMAC, from access to any government funding, let alone to money from an anti-racism program,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “It is imperative that the values promoted by the government be reflected in the orientation and work of their partners outside government.”

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh told the heritage committee that CRTC chairman Ian Scott and Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez should both be summoned to appear before the committee to explain their organizations’ links to CMAC.

Rachael Thomas, a Tory MP, and Melissa Lantsman, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, issued a statement saying “Canadians deserve answers” from Mr. Rodriguez.

Source: Diversity Minister condemns CRTC for not severing ties with consultant under fire for tweets

Switzerland: Calls grow to ban Nazi symbols and salutes

Of note:

At a rally protesting against anti-Covid measures in September 2021, a demonstrator made a Nazi salute – right in the middle of Bern’s Old Town. The public prosecutor’s office consequently issued the demonstrator with a penalty order for improper behaviour. However, the man successfully contested the notice. There was no legal basis for a conviction, a local court ruled.

A neo-Nazi who made the same salute in 2010 on Rütli Meadow in the canton of Uri also ended up being acquitted. The Swiss Federal Court ruled in 2013 that the man had been expressing his own convictions among like-minded people, and that this was not a criminal offence. Had he been making the salute to spread Nazi ideology on the other hand, he would have been punished under Swiss anti-racism laws.

These examples show that Switzerland has a certain tolerance threshold when it comes to making Nazi symbols and gestures. Nazi salutes, swastikas, etc. are banned only when used for propaganda purposes. Political efforts to scrap this distinction have been ongoing since 2003. Majorities in the Federal Council [Swiss government] and parliament have so far judged freedom of expression to be more important, but the perception seems to be shifting now. Three motions on the issue have been submitted in parliament – one from the centre right and two from the left.

Spate of incidents during the pandemic

Parliamentarian for The Centre, Marianne Binder, set the ball rolling in winter. Binder wants a complete ban on Nazi gestures, flags and symbols, both in the real world and online. Explaining her motion, she said: “Anti-Semitic incidents have increased and took on a new dimension during the pandemic.”

The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) and the Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism (GRA) confirm this. According to their Report on Anti-Semitism, 2021 saw a proliferation of anti-Semitic incidents in Switzerland. There were 806 reports of online anti-Semitic content including anti-Semitic conspiracy theories – a more than 60% increase on the previous year.

There were 53 real-world anti-Semitic incidents, which included verbal abuse, public statements and offensive graffiti on synagogues. Anti-vaccine protesters wore Stars of David inscribed with the word “unvaccinated”. And in a Zurich suburb, they graffitied “Impfen [vaccination] macht frei” – a play on words on the infamous gate at Auschwitz – next to a swastika. People argue that the protesters need not have had anti-Semitic motives, says Binder. “You can plead stupidity, but how blind to history can you be?” she asks, adding that it constitutes an intolerable trivialisation of the Holocaust.

Binder deliberately restricted the motion to focusing on symbols and gestures related to Nazism and the Holocaust, whereas previous motions had targeted symbols and gestures encouraging racism and violence in general. Otherwise, it would have been difficult to list every single possible infraction. But Nazi symbols and salutes are unambiguous. “They certainly do not come under freedom of expression.”

Parliamentarians Gabriela Suter and Angelo Barrile, both from the Social Democratic Party, doubled down with similar parliamentary initiatives. The SIG endorsed the motions in January 2022, the first time it has explicitly put its weight behind initiatives of this type. Far-right extremists at protest rallies and concerts were specifically taking advantage of Switzerland’s legal loophole, it said. “This is particularly hurtful and bewildering for the minorities affected.”

The Council of the Swiss Abroad, which represents the interests of the “Fifth Switzerland” via-à-vis the authorities and the general public, also expressed support in March for criminalising all use of Nazi symbols and gestures in public. On behalf of the delegation from Israel, Ralph Steigrad noted that Switzerland had been debating the issue for almost 20 years: “It now needs to act and follow the examples of other countries.” This did not mean stopping symbols from being shown in teaching material for purely educational purposes, he stressed.

However, the Federal Council initially wanted to leave things as they were for the time being and rejected Marianne Binder’s motion. Even though Nazi symbols and salutes were “shocking”, they had to be tolerated as an exercise of freedom of expression, it wrote in reply. Educating people was better than enacting a ban.

Experts are divided

Legal and extremism experts are divided over the issue. Some say that far-right extremists might even feel vindicated if criminal proceedings were brought against them, and that a sweeping ban potentially moves us to a kind of penal law focused on punishing offenders’ attitudes or belief systems instead of the act itself.

Others argue that Nazi symbols pose a threat to peaceful, democratic society and are unacceptable in any country governed by the rule of law. And lo and behold, the Federal Council appears to have overcome its initial hesitancy amid reports that Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter is looking into the matter after all. She said her ministry would now see what legal options are available.

Keller-Sutter also wrote a reply to the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) – via which the Council of the Swiss Abroad had expressed its concerns to the Federal Council –assuring it that the government was well aware of the increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Switzerland.

By all means you can prevent anti-Semitism and ban Nazi symbols at the same time, says Binder. It is necessary to do both. Building a Holocaust memorial (see box) while continuing to allow Nazi symbols and salutes defeats the object. Parliament is set to debate Binder’s motion in its summer session.

Source: Calls grow to ban Nazi symbols and salutes

Lederman: Ken Burns has a lesson for Ron DeSantis

Great column and reminder:

I can think of a few things that could benefit anyone involved in orchestrating last week’s shameful stunt of sending planeloads of desperate, unsuspecting migrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. For instance: sitting them down for six hours and 38 minutes to watch Ken Burns’ The U.S. and the Holocaust, which aired on PBS this week.

I’m unsure anyone who hatched this cruel plan has ever watched a minute of PBS, seen a Ken Burns documentary – or seen a documentary, period – but this three-part series should be required viewing for them. (For anyone, really.)

The central point of the documentary (co-made with Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein) is that while Americans might see their country as a haven for immigrants, and a saviour during the Second World War, the U.S. in fact closed its doors pretty tightly during that critical period – to Jews, in particular. The State Department, lobby groups such as one called America First (sound familiar?), and average Americans didn’t want Jews entering the country. When asked two weeks after Kristallnacht whether the U.S. should allow more Jews into the country, 70 per cent of respondents said no.

“The exclusion of people and shutting them out has been as American as apple pie” says historian Peter Hayes, in episode one.

(Canada is not the focus of this project, but we do earn a mention in our turning away of the MS St. Louis, filled with hundreds of Jewish refugees, who were then sent back to Europe.)

Episode two opens with a scene from a Nazi rally, before the war, but after Hitler had made his thoughts about the Jews clear.

“You will make a statement as to whether you consider my work to be right, whether you believe that I have been diligent, that I have spent my time decently, in the service of my people, and thus entitle me to say that what I am declaring here and now is what Germany desires, what the German people desire.”

A roar of approval fills the packed house, as the crowds stand, arms outstretched.

It was particularly chilling to watch that scene shortly after photos emerged of an Ohio Trump rally where some attendees stood in a similar pose. Even if their outstretched arms included a pointed finger, associated with Trump’s “America First” rallying cry, it was a stomach-turning image. It happened last Saturday.

The Burns documentary is about history, but it is also a warning about what is happening now. Not just the references to Charlottesvilles Unite the Right rally (“Jews will not replace us!”) and the January 6 insurrection, including the guy in the “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt, but about increasingly alarming attitudes toward immigrants.

The parallels are striking. Sickening.

During the Second World War, Americans were concerned about the influx of Jews; that they were being “replaced” – the narrator emphasizes this word, surely a nod to the Great Replacement Theory that certain far-right, white nationalist elements have adopted.

In 1941, U.S. senator Robert Reynolds stated: “If I had my way, I would today build a wall about the United States so high and so secure that not a single alien or foreign refugee from any country upon the face of this Earth could possibly scale or ascend it.”

It was a humanitarian crisis, yet there was great reluctance to help. There were open calls for the status quo – a “white, gentile-ruled United States.” There was suspicion about German-Jewish refugees entering the U.S.

“Something curious is happening to us in this country and I think it is time we stopped and took stock of ourselves,” wrote first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. “Are we going to be swept away from our traditional attitude toward civil liberty by hysteria?”

Something is happening – again, still – in the U.S. There is probably a better word for it than “curious.”

It should be shocking to every American, to every human being, that officials paid by tax dollars – that anyone, in fact – devised this nasty scheme for these migrants. That others agreed to it, carried it out. That human beings approached these vulnerable people, lied to them, loaded them onto planes and dumped them not where they were told they were going.

And these prankster perpetrators maybe even laughed, amongst friends, about it. And in the case of Donald Trump, claimed that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had stolen the idea from him. Mr. Trump wanted the credit.

This is the country that put children in cages, children who want to live in America. Well, who sends a child out alone to try to cross a border, some people tut-tut.

I’ll tell you who: Desperate parents willing to do the unthinkable for a shot at safety for their children, a good life. It happened during what we now call the Holocaust. And it’s happening now.

Historian Deborah Lipstadt says in the film, “The time to stop a genocide is before it happens.”

The time to stop anti-immigrant madness is before it happens. The next best time is now.

Source: Ken Burns has a lesson for Ron DeSantis

An anti-Semitism expert says that progressives ‘have the right to exclude Zionists’

Stern, one of the authors of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, has been consistent on the use and abuse of the definition:

A leading expert on anti-Semitism has said that university campus groups “have the right to exclude Zionists.” Writing in the Times of Israel, Kenneth Stern argued that, although it may be “hurtful” and counterproductive, the right of progressive groups to exclude advocates of the occupation state must be respected. Stern is the US attorney who took the lead in drafting the highly controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

His intervention follows the growing debate around the exclusion of Zionist students from progressive spaces. Founded on the ethno-nationalist ideals of Zionism, Israel has long been viewed in progressive circles as a racist country that advocates settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing. This view has become more widespread in recent times after major human rights groups accused Israel of committing the crime of apartheid.

With Zionism increasingly being viewed as a racist, imperialist ideology, groups advocating for equality, human rights, the rights of minorities and progressive values, in general, are more frequently excluding supporters of Israel from their spaces. This has happened despite protests that Zionism and affinity with the apartheid state are intrinsic parts of Jewish identity. Critics, however, have long questioned this argument and rejected the claim that a political ideology should be treated as a “protective category” in the same way as gender, religion and race are.

The recent row over the IHRA definition is largely a demand by pro-Israel groups for wider society to support their claim that Zionism and support for the state of Israel be accepted as such a category. It is a form of exceptionalist pleading which is rejected wholesale when other groups in society make similar demands. For instance, the political ideology of “Islamism” or the desire to create an “Islamic State” are not only violently opposed and condemned, but any Muslim who insists that their political views and religion be granted special protection is also dismissed out of hand, and rightly so.

A similar example would be if India’s far-right BJP government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and advocates of Hindutva, said that it is racist and anti-Hindu to question their demand to create an exclusively Hindu state. As is becoming increasingly clear, in their quest to refashion India as a Hindu state, Hindutva extremists have placed themselves on a collision course with the country’s secular constitution. No amount of special pleading that India is the only Hindu state in the world should make any difference, but the goal is still no less than the reformation of India as an ethno-religious state affording special rights and privileges to Hindus within a multi-tier system of citizenship. The model state that such Hindus aspire to replicate is Israel. The parallel between the two ideologies is a powerful illustration of the special status granted to Zionism.

Israel and its supporters are granted a privilege that is not extended to any other political community. Public bodies and private institutions across the Western world have not only agreed to their demand, but have also adopted the supposedly “working definition” of anti-Semitism produced by the IHRA that conflates legitimate criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Jew racism.

Although Stern does not compare Zionism and its equivalent ideologies around the world, he insists on treating Israel and its founding ideology in the same way as any other political ideology and its followers. The right to criticise freely without being labelled a racist should be preserved, he maintains. He admits that Zionism itself is a contested term but, nevertheless, the feelings about what Zionism means personally for some Jews should not be an excuse to crack down on freedom of speech by labelling people “anti-Semites” for criticising Israel’s founding ideology.

Commenting on the different perceptions of Zionism and the reasons why progressives exclude supporters of Israel, Stern said: “Some progressive students may understand Zionism as a term for Israel’s treatment of Palestinians; others may understand Zionism as most Jewish students do – the right of Jews to self-determination in their historic homeland.”

He explained that a significant and growing number of Jews are “agnostic” about Zionism or are anti-Zionist, which appears to suggest that Zionism and affinity with Israel is not as important to Jewish identity as pro-Israel groups claim.

“Anti-Zionist students may feel that letting a Zionist work among them is the equivalent of overlooking whether someone is a Nazi,” said Stern, “just as some Jewish organisations might feel that letting Jews in who support the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is overlooking anti-Semitism.” He disagrees with both assertions, but people on campus must be allowed to define their politics.

Wrestling with the central question of the piece in the Times of Israel — whether it is anti-Semitic to exclude Zionists from progressive spaces — Stern defends the right of progressive groups to be selective. “If a group decides that in order to be a member, one has to have a particular view of Israel and Zionism, the right to make that decision must be respected. Those not invited in, even though exclusion hurts, can find other ways to express themselves, including by creating new groups and coalitions.”

Stern has been critical of the way that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism has been employed by pro-Israel groups against critics of the apartheid state. His latest intervention is another defence of freedom of association and speech against what many say is a crackdown on pro-Palestine voices and the dangers of conflating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

“Jewish groups have used the definition as a weapon to say anti-Zionist expressions are inherently anti-Semitic and must be suppressed,” wrote Stern in the Times of Israel two years ago. Concerns raised by him then highlight the claim that the fight against anti-Semitism, as American Jewish commentator Peter Beinart believes, has “lost its way“.

Source: An anti-Semitism expert says that progressives ‘have the right to exclude Zionists’

Trudeau promises complete review of funding to anti-racism group after ‘vile’ tweets

Needed. Will be interesting to see how comprehensive the review will be and the degree to which the  the findings will be public and candid:

The federal government is conducting a “complete review” of funding to an anti-racism group whose senior consultant sent a series of tweets about “Jewish white supremacists,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

The government has put a stop to all funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre and is putting in place procedures “to make sure this never happens again,” he said at a press conference.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that federal dollars have gone to this organization that has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and antisemitism.”

Last week, Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen, who was also at the press conference, cut $133,000 in government funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre and suspended an anti-racism project it was overseeing after “reprehensible and vile” tweets posted by its senior consultant, Laith Marouf, came to light.

Trudeau’s comments come as other past funding for the organization is scrutinized.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said this week that he wants money provided to CMAC under the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2018 to be clawed back.

He said a grant application by CMAC for $2,882 under the program, which offers work experience to people aged 15-30 and is run by Employment and Social Development Canada, was reviewed at the time by his constituency office in Ville-Marie, Que.

CMAC was approved to receive that amount, but ultimately only got $795, according to a spokesman for Marci Ien, the minister for women, gender equality and youth, who publicly launched the program this year.

“Not a single cent of government money should go to organizations that harbour anti-Semitic views,” Miller said on Twitter. He said he has never met Marouf, whose views he called “despicable.”

A spokeswoman for Miller’s federal department said “clearly, this organization should not receive additional funding.”

“After funding had been allocated, Laith Marouf made antisemitic comments that are reprehensible and inconsistent with the objectives of the Canada Summer Jobs program,” Miller’s office added.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, the CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said his organization appreciates Miller’s “clear and unambiguous statement regarding the importance of government funding not going to groups harbouring and espousing antisemitic views.”

“We call on the ministries involved to be transparent and provide details about their investigations into the systemic failures that led to this inappropriate funding in a timely fashion,” he added.

Opposition MPs are calling for a full audit of funding to CMAC from government departments and through federal programs, including for its involvement in proceedings run by Canada’s federal broadcasting regulator.

CMAC describes itself on its website as a non-profit organization supporting the “self-determination of Indigenous, racialized and disabled peoples in the media through research, relationship-building, advocacy and learning.”

The Twitter account for Marouf, a consultant for the organization, is private. But a screenshot posted online shows a number of tweets with his photo and name.

One tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of (their) Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

Stephen Ellis, a lawyer for Marouf, distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists”‘ and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” Ellis said in an email.

“While not the most artfully expressed, the tweets reflect a frustration with the reality of Israeli apartheid and a Canadian government which collaborates with it,” Ellis said.

Public records show that CMAC has received about $500,000 in funding since 2016 to act as a public interest group in proceedings run by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The money came from the Broadcast Participation Fund, an independent body that was stood up by the CRTC to pay for public interest groups’ participation in CRTC matters.

In 2021, CMAC also took part in CRTC consultations on regulations amending the accessibility reporting requirements for broadcasters and telecommunications companies.

According to publicly available documents detailing payments, Marouf and his wife, Gretchen King, whose name also appears on CMAC company filings, were both paid for taking part in the proceedings.

They were paid using money from a deferral account held by Bell, which the company agreed to have the CRTC distribute to public interest groups on its behalf. Bell declined a request for comment.

CMAC did not respond to requests for comment.

But Ellis, Marouf’s lawyer, said the centre’s work had been valuable and contributed greatly to the proceedings.

The lawyer said what “is very clear from CMAC’s filing and the CRTC decision is that if it were not for CMAC’s efforts, Indigenous, racialized and women disabilities groups would have been absent from the proceedings to rewrite CRTC policies to comply with the Accessible Canada Act and its clauses reaffirming the intersectionality of oppressions.”

Peter Julian, the NDP heritage critic, is calling for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and CRTC officials to appear at the House of Commons heritage committee when Parliament returns to discuss an apparent lack of “due diligence” before paying CMAC.

“It is obvious there was no vetting at all, and that raises a bunch of disturbing questions,” he said.

John Nater, the Conservative critic for Canadian heritage, also said the minister should answer questions before the committee. “We believe it imperative that the minister provide answers at committee and explain how this was allowed to happen.”

Fellow Tory MP Melissa Lantsman said she will present a petition from her constituents to the House of Commons asking for a public inquiry. She said an independent body should examine all historical funding to CMAC.

She criticized Rodriguez for not speaking out about the tweets. “The most vile thing about this is the silence,” she said.

Rodriguez declined to comment.

Tory MP Dan Albas, who sits on the Commons finance committee, said the government needs to examine all funding of CMAC.

“There has been radio silence over what they are going to do to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Source: Trudeau promises complete review of funding to anti-racism group after ‘vile’ tweets

Canadian Jewish community expectations:

“What I know is that the minister now has all the information, appreciated the challenge it poses, and has publicly committed to a series of remedies. We will judge him on what flows from that commitment over the coming days.”

During a press conference on Aug. 29, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino (Eglinton—Lawrence, Ont.) announced that the Heritage Department will conduct an extensive review of the funding being distributed through Ottawa’s anti-racism strategy to ensure no additional funds are directed to organizations or individuals who promote hateful content.

Fogel said the review will need to determine what deficiencies in the department’s decision-making process led to a grant being awarded to the CMAC. He added that CIJA will judge Hussen and the Liberal government based on the outcome of that review.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, says his organization will be satisfied if Housing and Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen’s ‘actions support his undertaking and commitment’ regarding the CMAC funding scandal. Photograph courtesy of the CIJA

“If, over the coming days, [Hussen’s] actions support his undertaking and commitment, I think we would be quite satisfied with his management of the issue. But there are many moving pieces,” said Fogel in the email.

On Aug. 23, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal, Que.) told the National Post thathe alerted Hussen about Marouf’s anti-Semitic social media posts before the issue was reported on widely, and argued action could have been taken more quickly.

Fogel suggested that an appearance by Hussen before the House Heritage Committee would provide a valuable opportunity to address the issues in an open and accountable way.

“There are many dimensions of the issue regarding which there is conflicting information, including when the minister became aware of the problem and what steps were taken to address it,” wrote Fogel. “I cannot speak to the timeline regarding when [Hussen] was first made aware of this specific issue. However, there are many possible explanations for the absence of visible action for a number of weeks. He may have referred it to the department. He may have required legal advice, since a legal contract had to be considered.”

Fogel said the federal government’s response to this funding scandal must include full disclosure about how the grant was awarded to CMAC, and a new protocol regarding future grants that shows the government “has translated its learning into a better way forward.”

“The goal should be not just the identification of where the process went wrong—and in this case, it went very wrong—but more importantly, what generic procedures should be put into place that will ensure such things do not happen in the future,” said Fogel in the email.

The Hill Times reached out to Hussen to ask about Housefather’s claim that swifter action could have been taken in regards to suspending the CMAC funding. A spokesperson for the minister responded that anti-Semitism, hate, and racism in all its forms have no place in Canada, and that Hussen’s office is leaving no stone unturned in this matter.

“We thank MP Housefather for bringing this individual to our attention, as our government does not tolerate this hatred, and we have informed CMAC that their funding was cut and their project was suspended,” read the emailed statement. “We have also instructed the department of Canadian Heritage to identify how CMAC was able to access funding in the first place, and to look for immediate solutions when it comes to properly vetting funding applicants, including any individuals they employ or partner with. Minister Hussen is working with his colleagues to ensure that programs that are both within and outside of his purview are assessed with strong processes, in order to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

The Hill Times contacted Canadian Heritage to ask about the vetting process in awarding government grants for organizations, and about how the process might be refined going forward, but did not receive a response by deadline.

Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman (Thornhill, Ont.), who is Jewish, told The Hill Times that the funding scandal is indicative of a systemic issue.

“Anti-racism in this government doesn’t seem to include anti-Semistism,” said Lantsman. “There is a trust issue now here.”

Lantsman said that she favours a full review of Heritage, the vetting process behind awarding grants, and the timeline of when Hussen was made aware of Marouf’s social media posts.

“There’s a culpability of the government trying to take what they think is quick, corrective action to sweep this under the rug while not addressing the actual problem,” said Lantsman. “I want to be clear. The government has not addressed this as a wider issue, [other] than to cut funding after more than a month after they’ve been caught.”

NDP MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre, Ont.), his party’s ethics critic and a member of the Parliamentary Black Caucus, told The Hill Times it would be strange for anyone to pin the blame for the funding scandal specifically onto Hussen, given the decision was made before Hussen assumed responsibility for the diversity portfolio that falls within the Department of Heritage. Hussen was sworn in as minister of housing and diversity on Oct. 26, 2021.

Green said it is the Liberal government’s responsibility to “take meaningful action beyond individual people.”

“What I’m looking for out of this government is not about individual actors within the government, but an actual commitment that they’re going to follow through on the outcomes around anti-racism,” said Green. “This goes well beyond Minister Hussen, who, in the right moments, has said the right things, and I think has supported the right initiatives.”

Green said he supports a review of Heritage Canada, and any government department that deals with “the procurement of outside organizations who may be engaged in harmful behaviours.”

“What we have found within the Liberal government [is] that they speak the language of equity, diversity and inclusion, but it’s often the case that they fail to have the corresponding outcomes in their actual governing, and that is certainly not constricted to Minister Hussen,” said Green. “I think it speaks to the culture of the seriousness of the issue. My hope is that [the Liberals] would hold a high standard of scrutiny and due diligence on funding for all agencies, in all departments, that are government funded … and learn from this situation, and move forward.”

Source: Diversity Minister Hussen will be judged based on result of review into CMAC funding, says Jewish advocacy group

‘Powerful tools of White Supremacy’: Embattled anti-racism group speaks out to supporters

Their website is certainly on the extreme woke side, with no information on the board of directors or consultants (which may have been scrubbed following the justified criticism of its orientation and tweets of Marouf).

Hard to understand how their public website info didn’t raise any flags, even if Marouf’s racist tweets were not known:

The organization embroiled in a scandal after receiving a $133,000 government contract for an anti-racism project, even though one of its founders had sent a slew of bigoted tweets, has finally spoken out, issuing an email to supporters that says “online and mainstream media are powerful tools of White Supremacy.”

In the email, the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) says it received a letter from the Department of Canadian Heritage suspending the anti-racism project for the broadcasting sector they had been working on.

It marks the first time CMAC has spoken publicly about the scandal.

The scandal first broke last week when The Canadian Press reported on a series of anti-Semitic tweets from Laith Marouf, a senior consultant with CMAC. At the time, Ahmed Hussen, the minister of diversity, inclusion and youth, said the government would “look closely at the situation involving disturbing comments made by the individual in question.”

Still, months earlier, in April 2022, when the project was announced, Hussen praised it in a press release: “In Canada, diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. Our government is proud to contribute to the initiative,” Hussen said.

While Marouf’s tweets are private, The Canadian Press reported on screenshots. One such tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of thier Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

Marouf’s lawyer, Stephen Ellis, asked that The Canadian Press quote Marouf’s tweets “verbatim,” and said there was a difference between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists,’” and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” The Canadian Press reported.

By Monday, Hussen announced the government had cut funding to the CMAC project.

“The antisemitic statements made by Laith Marouf are reprehensible and vile,” Hussen said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We call on CMAC, an organization claiming to fight racism and hate in Canada, to answer to how they came to hire Laith Marouf, and how they plan on rectifying the situation given the nature of his antisemitic and xenophobic statements.”

Then, Anthony Housefather, a Liberal member of Parliament, said he had warned Hussen about Marouf’s statements prior to the media catching wind of them.

“I said the contract had to be cancelled. I alerted him and I persistently communicated with the minister in his office, from the day I learned about it, until today, and aggressively demanded that action be taken,” Housefather told the National Post. “Action could have been taken more quickly.”

Housefather also said there needs to be a “thorough review in the department of Heritage as to how this happened” and processes need to be put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Friday’s statement does not address the questions raised by Housefather or Hussen.

“From Turtle Island to Palestine, CMAC continues to see the need for an anti-racism strategy for broadcasting that disrupts settler-colonialism and oppression in the media,” it said.

The email also urges patience on the part of organizers for events across Canada, and said it would be suspending events for the time being while it considers how to respond to Canadian Heritage.

Marouf has a long history of edgy tweets: He has claimed Israel was the creation of “White Jews who adopted Nazism,” and said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the head of an “Apartheid” colony.

Irwin Cotler — a Jewish-Canadian and former Liberal justice minister — was called the “Grand Wizard of Zionism” and a man who “looks like a d–k without makeup.” In 2021, Marouf said “Jewish White Supremacists” deserve only a “bullet to the head.”

Source: ‘Powerful tools of White Supremacy’: Embattled anti-racism group speaks out to supporters 

Beinart: Has the Fight Against Antisemitism Lost Its Way?

Of note:

Over the past 18 months, America’s most prominent Jewish organizations have done something extraordinary. They have accused the world’s leading human rights organizations of promoting hatred of Jews.

Last April, after Human Rights Watch issued a report accusing Israel of “the crimes of apartheid and persecution,” the American Jewish Committee claimed that the report’s arguments “sometimes border on antisemitism.” In January, after Amnesty International issued its own study alleging that Israel practiced apartheid, the Anti-Defamation League predicted that it “likely will lead to intensified antisemitism.” The A.J.C. and A.D.L. also published a statement with four other well-known American Jewish groups that didn’t just accuse the report of being biased and inaccurate, but also claimed that Amnesty’s report “fuels those antisemites around the world who seek to undermine the only Jewish country on Earth.”

Defenders of repressive governments often try to discredit the human rights groups that criticize them. A month before the A.J.C. accused Human Rights Watch of flirting with antisemitism, the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times accused it of being “anti-China.” In 2019 a spokesman for Iran accused Amnesty of being “biased” against that country. In this age of rising authoritarianism, it’s not surprising that human rights watchdogs face mounting attacks. What’s surprising is that America’s most influential Jewish groups are taking part.

For most of the 20th century, leading American Jewish organizations argued that the struggle against antisemitism and the struggle for universal human rights were intertwined. In 1913, when the A.D.L. was founded to stop “the defamation of the Jewish people,” it declared that its “ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens.” In 1956, Rabbi Israel Goldstein, the president of the American Jewish Congress, a Jewish group founded in 1918, explained his support for civil rights by saying that his organization would “act against any evil that is practiced on other men with the same conviction and vigor as if we ourselves were the victims.”

The historian Peter Novick has argued that after World War II, American Jewish organizations fought segregation because they believed that “prejudice and discrimination were all of a piece” and thus Jewish groups “could serve the cause of Jewish self-defense as well by attacking prejudice and discrimination against Blacks as by tackling antisemitism directly.”

Although supportive of Israel’s existence, America’s leading Jewish groups did not make it the center of their work in the mid-20th century. And when they did focus on Israel, they often tried to bring its behavior in line with their broader liberal democratic goals. The A.J.C. repeatedly criticized Israel for discriminating against its Palestinian Arab citizens. In 1960 the head of the group’s Israel Committee explained that it hoped to eliminate “antidemocratic practices and attitudes” in the Jewish state so the organization could more credibly “invoke principles of human rights and practices in our country and abroad.”

This began to change after the 1967 war. Israel’s conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip made it master over roughly a million stateless Palestinians, which fueled anger at the Jewish state from leftists in the United States and around the world. At the same time, assimilation was leading many progressive American Jews to exit organized Jewish life, which left Jewish groups with a more conservative base as they searched for a new agenda now that civil rights for Black Americans had become law.

The result was an ideological transformation. In 1974, two A.D.L. leaders wrote a book arguing that Jews were increasingly menaced by a “new antisemitism,” directed not against individual Jews but against the Jewish state. Almost a half-century later, that premise now dominates mainstream organized American Jewish life.

Largely as a result of lobbying by Jewish organizations, the American government has embraced the proposition, too. The State Department now employs a definition of antisemitism whose examples include opposing Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. This year the Senate confirmed Deborah Lipstadt — a historian best known for fighting Holocaust denial — to be the Biden administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. Ms. Lipstadt has said that Israel’s “continued holding of the West Bank is problematic,” but when asked at her confirmation hearing about Amnesty’s report accusing Israel of apartheid, Ms. Lipstadt claimed that the report’s language was “part of a larger effort to delegitimize the Jewish state” and thus “poisons the atmosphere, particularly for Jewish students” on college campuses. In 2018 several Palestinian members of the Knesset tried to introduce legislation that would grant Palestinians equal citizenship rather than what the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calls “Jewish supremacy.” According to America’s most prominent Jewish organizations and the U.S. government, this kind of call for equal citizenship constituted bigotry.

Now that any challenge to Jewish statehood is met with charges of bigotry against Jews, prominent American Jewish organizations and their allies in the U.S. government have made the fight against antisemitism into a vehicle not for defending human rights but for denying them. Most Palestinians exist as second-class citizens in Israel proper or as stateless noncitizens in the territories Israel occupied in 1967 or live beyond Israel’s borders because they or their descendants were expelled or fled and were not permitted to return. But under the definition of antisemitism promoted by the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the State Department, Palestinians become antisemites if they call for replacing a state that favors Jews with one that does not discriminate based on ethnicity or religion.

But the campaign against antisemitism is being deployed to justify not merely the violation of Palestinian human rights. As relations have warmed between Israel and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, American officials have begun using the struggle against antisemitism to shield those regimes from human rights pressure, too. In June, Ms. Lipstadt met the Saudi ambassador in Washington and celebrated “our shared objectives of overcoming intolerance and hate.” From there she flew to Saudi Arabia, where she met its minister of Islamic affairs and affirmed, once again, “our shared goals of promoting tolerance and combating hate.” In the United Arab Emirates she sat down with the country’s foreign minister, whom she declared a “sincere partner in our shared goals of” — you guessed it — “promoting tolerance and fighting hate.”

This is nonsense. According to a report this year by Freedom House, a human rights think tank funded largely by the U.S. government, Saudi Arabia is more repressive than Iran. The United Arab Emirates is more repressive than Russia. And although Ms. Lipstadt declared that her visits to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi left her “heartened by changes underway in parts of the Middle East,” both countries, according to Freedom House, are more oppressive than they were in 2017. Less than two months after she lauded the Saudi monarchy’s tolerance, it sentenced a member of the country’s persecuted Shiite minority to 34 years in prison for Twitter activity critical of the government.

When it comes to their own disenfranchised populations, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are as intolerant as ever. What has changed is their tolerance for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. And because officials like Ms. Lipstadt define the fight against antisemitism largely as a fight to legitimize Israel, they legitimize its tyrannical Arab allies as well.

Ms. Lipstadt’s defenders might argue that Jews can’t afford to be picky about our friends. In a world where antisemitism remains a frightening reality, we should look out only for ourselves. In moments of extreme danger, that may be true. But many earlier American Jewish leaders recognized this must be the exception. As a rule, they believed Jews should pursue equal treatment for ourselves as part of a broader effort to secure it for others.

The current alternative — using the fight against antisemitism to defend Israel and its allies — may seem savvy. In the long run, however, it’s foolish. Palestinians do not grow more tolerant of Jews when brutalized by a Jewish state. Saudis and Emiratis do not grow more tolerant of Jews when Israel helps their governments brutalize them.

As part of the rapprochement between Jerusalem and Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, the Israeli government has apparently authorized its high-tech companies to sell the Saudi and Emirati governments spyware they have used to surveil and imprison dissidents. Which may help explain why recent polls show that more than 70 percentof Saudis and Emiratis oppose diplomatic normalization with Israel. For decades, many in the Arab world loathed the United States for bolstering their despotic rulers. It will not ultimately benefit Arab-Jewish harmony for a Jewish state to replace the United States in that unsavory role.

In a terrible irony, the campaign against “antisemitism,” as waged by influential Jewish groups and the U.S. government, has become a threat to freedom. It is wielded as a weapon against the world’s most respected human rights organizations and a shield for some of the world’s most repressive regimes. We need a different struggle against antisemitism. It should pursue Jewish equality, not Jewish supremacy, and embed the cause of Jewish rights in a movement for the human rights of all. In its effort to defend the indefensible in Israel, the American Jewish establishment has abandoned these principles. It’s time to affirm them again.

Source: Has the Fight Against Antisemitism Lost Its Way?

Urback: Ahmed Hussen demands to know how someone else let his government partner with an apparent antisemite

Fair comment and good advice as to how the Minister should have handled it “A reasonable response from Mr. Hussen would be for him to come out and explain that the Heritage Ministry did not do its due diligence in this case, but that it is developing specific protocols, which will soon be publicly disclosed, to vet grant recipients.”

Screw-ups happen, but bureaucratic and political-level vetting needs to improve.

Non-accountabilities, as non-apologies, that shift the blame to others undermine trust and credibility:

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, is demanding accountability: How could someone else have let his government pair up with a guy who spews noxious, hateful views on Twitter for an anti-racism project? What will someone else do to make it better? And how can someone else ensure that this sort of thing never happens again?

Last year, a group called the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) received a grant of $133,800 from the Department of Canadian Heritage to develop an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting. Laith Marouf, a senior consultant with CMAC, was spearheading the project according to a news release from April, though he still found time to tweet about “loud mouthed bags of human feces aka the Jewish White Supremacists,” and why they deserve “a bullet to the head.” In other tweets, Mr. Marouf also called former justice minister Irwin Cotler the “Grand Wizard of Zionism” and former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell a “Jamaican house-slave.”

A lawyer acting for Mr. Marouf told CBC that while his client’s tweets target “Jewish White Supremacists,” the consultant does not harbour any animus toward Jews in general – which is true only if you ignore tweets such as the one where Mr. Marouf explained why he “stopped sharing the works of Jewish White people, even if anti-Zionist/anti-Imperialist.” Perhaps he’s one of those “do as I say, not as I do” diversity and inclusion lecturers.

Canadian tech blogger Mark Goldberg had been writing about Mr. Marouf’s zany interpretation of anti-racist activism for at least a year, but it wasn’t until his observations were amplified by Quillette editor and former National Post columnist Jonathan Kay that thousands of Canadians became aware of the person the Canadian government had contracted to teach others about prejudice. Yet it still took more than a week – and one false start with a vague statement from Mr. Hussen about his ministry looking to “rectify” the matter – before the government announced that CMAC’s funding would be cut and its project suspended.

In that announcement, Mr. Hussen was adamant that there would be accountability: Not from his ministry or from Canadian Heritage to explain how they vet grant recipients and/or what they will do to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again, but from CMAC, “to explain how they came to hire Laith Marouf, and how they plan on rectifying the situation given the nature of his anti-Semitic and xenophobic statements.”

“We look forward to a proper response on their next steps and clear accountability regarding this matter,” Mr. Hussen’s statement concluded, affirming that with this government, the buck stops elsewhere. “I want to assure Canadians that our government has and will continue to fight anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms.”

By this government’s telling, then, the feeble Ministry of Heritage – with its billion-dollar budget and more than 1,800 employees – was hoodwinked by an organization harbouring an antisemite right there on its public list of consultants. Maybe Google was down for the many months Mr. Marouf was working with the Heritage department, thus preventing anyone from searching his name. Or maybe they just thought Mr. Marouf’s Twitter persona was an elaborate bit because no anti-racism lecturer with any knowledge of right-wing white supremacy would seriously use the phrase “Jewish White Supremacists,” since bona fide white supremacists obviously do not consider Jewish people to be white.

For a government that has made self-flagellation a matter of routine – that declared itself complicit in Indigenous genocide and rarely shies away from an opportunity to apologize for a past injustice – its cabinet ministers seem awfully shy to take responsibility now. Perhaps that’s because this is not something that can be blamed on Canada generally, but on this government specifically – a government that accidentally gave an apparent frothing antisemite permission to lecture Canadian broadcasters on racism.

The expectations for this government are not high. A reasonable response from Mr. Hussen would be for him to come out and explain that the Heritage Ministry did not do its due diligence in this case, but that it is developing specific protocols, which will soon be publicly disclosed, to vet grant recipients. But such a response could only be expected of a government actually interested in accountability. This government is only keen on the appearance thereof – that and foisting the blame on an organization that apparently hoodwinked an entire ministry.

Source: Ahmed Hussen demands to know how someone else let his government partner with an apparent antisemite

Liberal government cuts funding, suspends anti-racism group’s project after tweets

Should never have happened.

Officials need to do a better job in G&C applications vetting, including social media of the organization and key staff to reduce future risks:

The Liberal government has cut funding for an anti-racism group and suspended work on a project it was running after a member of the group made antisemitic remarks in a social media post.

“Antisemitism has no place in this country. The antisemitic comments made by Laith Marouf are reprehensible and vile,” Housing, Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement posted on Twitter Monday.

“We have provided notice to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) that their funding has been cut and their project has been suspended.”

Marouf, a senior consultant on an anti-racism project that received $133,000 from the federal government, posted the controversial remarks on his Twitter account. The account is private but a screenshot of the post showed a number of tweets with his photo and name.

One tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of [their] Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

Last year, the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) received a $133,800 Department of Canadian Heritage grant to build an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting.

The Liberal government has cut funding to an outside group it hired to deliver anti-racism training after it was discovered that one of the group’s leaders made antisemitic remarks in social media posts.

Marouf is listed as a senior consultant on CMAC’s website and is quoted saying that CMAC is “excited to launch” the “Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting: Conversation & Convergence Initiative” with funding support from Heritage’s anti-racism action program.

He expressed gratitude to “Canadian Heritage for their partnership and trust imposed on us,” saying that CMAC commits to “ensuring the successful and responsible execution of the project.”

Marouf is not antisemitic, says lawyer

In Hussen’s statement, he called on CMAC to explain how it came to hire Marouf and how it plans to rectify the damage caused by his “antisemitic and xenophobic statements.”

“We look forward to a proper response on their next steps and clear accountability regarding this matter,” he said.

The Canadian Press reported last week that a lawyer acting for Marouf asked for his client’s tweets to be quoted “verbatim” and distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists”‘ and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” lawyer Stephen Ellis said in an email.

Source: Liberal government cuts funding, suspends anti-racism group’s project after tweets

Lilley of the Toronto Sun:

At noon Monday, Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen tweeted out that he was cutting the funding from the Community Media Advocacy Centre.

The Montreal based group received a $133,822 grant last September for a program called Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting. It had already held workshops in Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax with events still scheduled for Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

A major problem, though, were the comments from the man leading these sessions, Laith Marouf. He has called “Jewish White Supremacists” “bags of human feces,” said that French is an ugly language, and that “Frogs have much less IQ.” He once called Colin Powell the “Jamaican house slave of the Empire.”

Marouf’s lawyer said that Marouf does not have “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group” and said his tweets made a clear distinction between “Jewish White Supremacists” and Jews in general.  But that explanation is difficult to accept.

That’s not the kind of person who should be lecturing another human being on racism.

“The anti-Semitic comments made by Laith Marouf are reprehensible and vile,” Hussen said in a statement.

“We have provided notice to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) that their funding has been cut and their project has been suspended.”

Hussen called on CMAC to explain how they came to hire Marouf, given that the group is supposed to be about fighting racism and hate while Marouf’s comments were “anti-Semitic and xenophobic.” The minister should be pushing CMAC to answer those questions, but he has to answer many himself.

How did this group and Marouf get funding in the first place?

How could Hussen end up being quoted in an April press release with Marouf when a simple search would have turned up many of his vile comments?

Will anyone be held accountable for this?

We used to have ministerial accountability in our government; ministers would resign when their departments messed up. There’s no doubt that the government did mess up, not just Hussen’s department, but also Canadian Heritage which approved the grant.

Speaking to government insiders to get a sense of how this came to be shows a series of missteps across four different ministers, two departments and many months. The grant was approved last September as Canada was in the middle of a federal election.

The grant had been making its way through the system at Heritage Canada which was then overseen by then-minister Steven Guilbeault. While the grant was funded by Heritage, it was handed out by the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth which at that time was Bardish Chagger.

By the time the government got around to actually handing out the money and making and making an announcement, Pablo Rodriguez was the minister at Heritage and Hussen had taken over the diversity file. It appears that the vetting process wasn’t fully followed because the people in charge assumed others had or would do the vetting required.

On the one hand, I am tempted to cut the government some slack because their contract was with CMAC, not Larouf, but he’s been with them for years. This was not a new hire; he’s featured on their website and was likely central to their application.

According to government sources, had the contract been directly with Marouf, he could have been fired immediately. Since the contract was with CMAC, the government had legal advice they had to follow before the contract could be terminated.

There is now an internal review to see how this happened, and the government is looking at their options, including whether any funding can be recovered from the group.

They should be reviewing the entire anti-racism training industry they are supporting. As I’ve written previously, it appears to a sham.

It took the Trudeau government longer than it should have to fix their mistake, but at least they are fixing it.

Source: LILLEY: Firing anti-racism group took too long given trainer’s racist comments