Record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada fuelled by online hate: B’nai Brith

The lated B’nai Brith report. Waiting for the 2018 police-reported hate crimes report (Statistics Canada re-released the 2017 report www150.statcan.gc.ca/…ticle/00008-eng.htm):

Online hatred is fuelling a rise in anti-Semitism that saw a record-breaking number of Jewish Canadians harassed and assaulted in 2018, according to a new report from B’nai Brith Canada.

Western Canada, in particular, saw anti-Semitic incidents skyrocket last year. The number of incidents in British Columbia more than doubled to 374 from 165 in 2017, just behind Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which together had a 142.6 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 compared to 2017, to 131 from 54.

British Columbia had the third highest total number of anti-Semitic incidents behind Quebec, with 709, and Ontario, at 481.

The countrywide total topped 2,000 incidents of hatred toward Jews in 2018 for the first time in more than 35 years, marking the fifth straight annual increase and the highest number of incidents the organization has recorded since it began tracking such data in 1982. The report suggests the federal government needs to address legislative gaps that allow hateful rhetoric to flourish and spread.

The report comes just two days after a gunman opened fire on Jewish worshippers at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Southern California on Saturday — an attack that was prefigured by a threatening social media post, according to the FBI. The online screed said the alleged attacker was inspired by the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh in October, a tragedy that was preceded by virulent anti-Jewish comments posted online by the suspected shooter.

During the Poway attack, one woman was killed and three others were wounded, among them a child and the synagogue’s rabbi.

“Anti-Semitism has real-world consequences,” Ran Ukashi, the national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, writes in the report’s introduction. Pointing to the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue, Ukashi suggests anti-Jewish harassment is not only deeply troubling; its sharp rise in Canada fuels the fear here of violence of the kind seen internationally in the past year.

According to the report, online harassment on social-media platforms including Facebook and Twitter — or through electronic communications such as email — accounted for 80 per cent of total incidents.

“Of particular concern is the rise of anti-Semitic harassment on social media, including death threats, threats of violence and malicious anti-Jewish comments and rhetoric,” Mostyn said, echoing Ukashi’s warning.

Steven Slimovitch, the national legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, said online hate has a much larger reach and can have a bigger impact than direct, one-on-one incidents.

“Now what’s happening is you can easily reach thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people via the internet,” he said. “You can do it quietly, you can do it in your basement and that’s a very, very serious problem.”

The report defines harassment as “verbal or written actions that do not include the use of physical force against a person or property,” including: promotion of hate propaganda via social media, the internet, telephone or in print; verbal slurs, hate speech or harassment, or systematic discrimination in public spaces; and verbal threats of violence in cases where “the application of force does not appear imminent, or no weapon or bomb is involved.”

And while physical violence represents only 0.5 per cent of the incidents cited in B’nai Brith’s Monday report, Canada is no stranger to real-world intimidation, violence or threats of violence against Jews. (B’nai Brith only includes incidents in the report where a victim’s Jewish religion was the explicit reason for the attack).

On Monday, the York Region police hate-crime unit reported investigating an incidentinvolving the spray-painting of anti-Semitic graffiti on the front of the garage of a Vaughan home on Friday.

In November, four 17-year-old Jewish boys wearing religious garments were assaulted in north Toronto by another group of teenagers, who prefaced their attack by making derogatory comments about the boys’ religion. In February, two Saskatchewan schoolchildren were beaten by their classmates for being Jewish.

And a Montreal man was charged with inciting hatred toward Jewish people and threatening to cause death and bodily harm to Jews after allegedly writing online posts in October in which he threatened to kill “an entire school full of Jewish girls,” according to the Montreal Gazette.

Mostyn said there is no reason to believe there is an elevated threat of an attack in Canada, but the amount of online hatred targeting Jews is having an impact. This, he said, is why B’nai Brith is pushing for protections that go beyond adding more security officers outside synagogues and Jewish schools.

“We have to start at the start, and the start is incitement,” Mostyn said. “And too often nowadays this incitement is taking place on the internet and it is influencing others that unfortunately take violent and drastic actions, and that’s what really needs to stop.”

B’nai Brith’s recommendations include instituting a dedicated hate-crime police unit in every major city and providing enhanced training for hate-crime officers, and co-ordinating between the federal government and social media platforms to develop a plan to counter online hate.

Facebook recently began deleting pages belonging to white supremacist individuals and groups, but has faced significant backlash for not doing more to stop hatred advanced on its platform.

Source: Record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada fuelled by online hate: B’nai Brith

Laïcité: des organisations juives sonnent l’alarme

A reminder that it is not just Muslims that will be affected by Bill 62:

Interdire à certains fonctionnaires de porter la kippa ou d’exhiber une étoile de David représenterait une grave atteinte aux droits garantis par les chartes et serait contesté devant les tribunaux, préviennent d’importantes organisations juives.

B’nai Brith et le Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes (CCJI) s’inquiètent du dépôt imminent par le gouvernement Legault du projet de loi sur la laïcité.

Selon La Presse et Radio-Canada, Québec va interdire le port de signes religieux aux fonctionnaires en position d’autorité, y compris les enseignants, les directions d’école et ceux qui portent une arme.

« Ce qu’on entend du projet de loi est contraire aux valeurs canadiennes et québécoises. La CAQ doit éviter la pente glissante qui consiste à réduire les droits fondamentaux », prévient Harvey Levine, directeur du bureau québécois de B’nai Brith.

Le débat public sur les signes religieux au travail s’est surtout centré sur le hidjab. Mais les organismes juifs canadiens rappellent que la kippa serait aussi visée, tout comme le turban sikh ou la croix chrétienne.

« Il s’agit selon nous d’une menace pour les libertés religieuses des juifs, des musulmans, des sikhs, et tous les autres groupes religieux visibles dans cette province », indique M. Levine.

La laïcité de l’État peut être atteinte sans que l’on s’attaque aux droits religieux, estime le Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes (CIJA).

« Bien qu’il existe un fort sentiment en faveur de la réaffirmation de la laïcité au Québec, notre communauté estime que la laïcité de l’État est un devoir institutionnel et non personnel. L’attachement à la laïcité ne repose pas sur l’apparence des individus », indique Reuben Poupko, coprésident du CIJA-Québec.

Pour le chef de l’opposition à l’hôtel de ville de Montréal, qui porte la kippa, l’idée d’interdire les signes religieux à certains fonctionnaires est basée sur une mauvaise prémisse : celle selon laquelle un employé de l’État qui porte un signe religieux ne peut être neutre.

« Il est difficile pour moi de croire qu’en 2019, on remette en question les motivations des gens selon leur manière de s’habiller, a récemment écrit Lionel Perez dans Montreal Gazette. Retirer les signes religieux n’éradique en rien les préjugés. »

Jusque devant l’ONU

Le B’nai Brith et le CIJA craignent que le projet de loi sur la laïcité n’enfreigne des droits garantis par les chartes. La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés protège certaines libertés fondamentales, parmi lesquelles les libertés de religion et d’expression.

Le premier ministre François Legault se dit prêt à utiliser la disposition de dérogation (communément appelée clause nonobstant) pour soustraire sa future loi aux tribunaux. Pour lui, il s’agit de « protéger notre identité ».

Selon l’avocat montréalais Julius Grey, la disposition de dérogation ne peut toutefois protéger le Québec et le Canada contre un camouflet devant le Comité des droits de l’homme de l’Organisation des Nations unies (ONU).

« Si le gouvernement espère éviter le débat judiciaire en invoquant la clause nonobstant, il doit se rappeler qu’il existe un forum international où ce genre de chose peut être débattu », souligne Me Grey.

« Il est téméraire de préjuger de ce qui sera dans le projet de loi, dit-il. Mais il me semble que la confrontation judiciaire est plus ou moins inévitable. »

Ce comité de l’ONU a par exemple épinglé la France à au moins deux reprises sur la question des signes religieux. Dans un cas, l’ONU a donné raison à une employée d’une garderie congédiée car elle portait le voile islamique. Les décisions de ce comité ne sont toutefois pas contraignantes.

« Bien sûr, la décision du Comité des droits de l’homme des Nations unies n’est pas contraignante comme le jugement d’une cour québécoise ou de la Cour suprême », explique Julius Grey.

« Mais je vois mal comment le Québec, malgré un jugement de cette nature, justifierait de maintenir sa position. »

Source: Laïcité: des organisations juives sonnent l’alarme

David Pugliese: Nazi whitewash gathers momentum as memory of the Holocaust fades

Good article by Pugliese:

With the horrors of the Holocaust a distant memory, and many Canadians no longer aware of the crimes that took place in the name of the Third Reich, an opening has emerged for those who want to rewrite the history of Adolf Hitler’s regime and those who served it.

A movement is afoot to claim that the Nazi collaborators and the SS units made up of Ukrainians, Latvians and other eastern Europeans, were actually nationalistic heroes and in no way associated with the Nazis. I have written a number of articles exposing the role of these collaborators in the Holocaust and their complicity in murdering tens of thousands of Jewish men, women and children.

I have received emails from Ukrainians and Latvians who claim the Holocaust never took place. Others write that while Jews were indeed killed, they deserved the death and destruction the Nazis brought down on their communities.

And then there are others who claim that journalists who write articles about the Ukrainian and Latvian SS units – and the parades that are held in those nations to this day honouring these Nazi collaborators – are “pro-Russian” or somehow spouting Kremlin propaganda.

I’ve had the distinction of being singled out as such in a recent report on Russian disinformation by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute of Ottawa, a right-wing think-tank.

The report’s author, Marcus Kolga, claims my articles about the role of Ukrainians and Latvians in the Holocaust and their service in SS units has parroted the Kremlin’s narrative and has “been critical of Canada’s support for states targeted by Kremlin aggression.”

For starters, the articles I have written about Ukrainian and Latvian Nazis who butchered Jews don’t even mention Canada’s support for those two countries, let criticize that support.

My articles are about those who would deny that Ukrainians, Latvians, and others from eastern Europe eagerly participated in the Holocaust and supported Adolf Hitler. The articles also expose those who would declare these Nazi collaborators as some kind of heroes.

To be sure, the Ukrainian and Latvian governments were not happy about my articles, considering they exposed their nations’ dark past in supporting the wholesale slaughter of Jews.

And the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has received funding from the Latvian Ministry of Defence. In addition, the Embassy of Latvia in Canada has also provided sponsorship for the institute.

What is going on in Latvia and the Ukrainian and other east European nations is a Nazi whitewash designed to rehabilitate those from these countries who took part in some of the most heinous crimes in history.

Here’s how it works.

Ukrainian and Latvian militia and police units were among the most brutal in helping the Nazis hunt down and murder Jewish men, women and children.

They were good at killing defenceless people. So good, that the Holocaust Chronicle, published in 2003 and written by 7 top scholars in the field of Holocaust studies, noted that Ukrainians were also sent to help kill Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April 1943. The Chronicle published a photo of two of Ukrainian SS members standing over the bodies of Jews murdered during that uprising. See the photo below:

SS General Jurgen Stroop, later executed as a war criminal, was very pleased with the Ukrainian, Latvian and Lithuanian volunteers who helped him and his men murder and hunt down 56,000 Jews. In his diary Stroop wrote that these killers were not only “nationalists and anti-Semites” but among his best troops. They were “wild at heart and with a tendency towards base things. But nevertheless obedient,” Stroop gushed about his Ukrainian, Latvian and Lithuanian killers.

The Ukrainian militias who murdered Jews in the ghetto and elsewhere went on to serve in a new SS unit created by the Nazis, the 14th SS Galizien Division. Stroop was brought on as an advisor to the newly created division.

A similar development happened in Latvia. The members of Latvia’s Arajs Kommando, who had killed an estimated 26,000 Jews for the Nazis, went on to serve in the Latvian SS legion.

These SS units were sent to fight the Russians as they closed in on the Third Reich.

Decades later the whitewash began. The Ukrainians and Latvians who fought for the SS – as the whitewash explains – weren’t really Nazis. They instead were nationalists fighting for their own country against the Russians. And of course none of them committed any type of crime, or so the whitewash explains, carefully ignoring the previous role of the individual members in these SS units in the mass murder of tens of thousands of Jews.

Last year, Karlis Eihenbaums, Latvia’s Ambassador to Canada, launched an attack on Canadian journalist Scott Taylor who wrote about the Latvian Legion (15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian) et al) and Latvian killers like war criminal Herberts Cukurs as well as the members of the Arajs Kommando. Like the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Eihenbaums suggested such articles were “fake news” and “disinformation.” And like the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Eihenbaums tried to smear the journalist by suggesting he was under the “influence” of the Russian government. Eihenbaums also targeted my articles.

As I have written before, the eager participation of some Latvians in the Holocaust is not “fake news.” It is a well-documented historical fact that many of the killers from the Arajs Kommando went to the Latvian Legion. These Latvians, Ukrainians, Estonians and others from eastern Europe nations served Hitler and his war aims. No number of claims of “fake news” can change that fact.

These days there are parades in Latvia and Ukraine to honour these SS units who fought under the Swastika. These parades and memorials, which have attracted the support of Neo-Nazis and other fascist groups, have long been controversial and questioned by many throughout Europe. See the photo below and note the white pride shirt on the young Ukrainian with the Ukrainian SS veteran.

For instance, the controversy over the Latvian Legion and the annual parade held in Riga (each March) to celebrate these Nazi collaborators is well known and has been going on for two decades, long before the term “fake news” was even coined. In 1998 the parade caused a storm of protests around the world, particularly in Israel, where Holocaust survivors couldn’t understand Latvia’s desire to celebrate such ruthless killers. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Jacques Chirac were among those that year to protest the Latvian parade. The Times of Israel reported on last year’s Latvian SS parade in Riga, which took place mid-March.

So much for “fake news.” Did Helmut Kohl and Jacques Chirac spread Russian “disinformation” when they denounced the SS parade in Latvia? Of course not.

This whole issue isn’t about “fake news” or Russian “disinformation.” It is about individuals and nations trying to whitewash their Nazi collaboration and rewrite history, while attacking journalists and other organizations who don’t want to let that happen.

While the Macdonald-Laurier report carefully ignores the crimes of Ukrainians and Latvians who supported Hitler’s Third Reich and butchered Jewish men, women and children by the thousands, there are those in the U.S. Congress and Jewish community speaking out against the Nazi whitewash.

In late April 2018 more than 50 members of the U.S. Congress condemned the government of Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to glorify “Nazi collaborators.”

The letter, signed by both Republicans and Democrats, outlined concerns about ongoing ceremonies to glorify leaders of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as well as 14th SS Galizien Division (aka 1stGalician/Galizien or the 1st Ukrainian Division). “It’s particularly troubling that much of the Nazi glorification in Ukraine is government-supported,” noted the letter to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. The letter was initiated by Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna of California and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

In the summer of 2018 B’nai Brith Canada’s chief executive officer Michael Mostyn called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use his trip to Latvia that year to push back against that country’s glorification of Nazi collaborators as well as attempts to deny the nation’s role in the Holocaust.

Mostyn called on the Canadian government to speak out more forcefully to denounce parades in Latvia and other eastern European nations that honour units who fought with the Nazis during the Second World War.

“We must challenge all those who distort the historical record on governments, military units or organizations that fought with, supported or sympathized with the Nazis during World War II,” Mostyn wrote to Trudeau. “This includes government leaders who acquiesce in, or fail to condemn, a process of Nazi glorification that amounts to Holocaust distortion.”

“Those who glorify the record of such organizations or units cannot dismiss criticism as ‘fake news’ “,added Mostyn. “The fact is that some organizations and their leaders, now glorified for their fight against the Soviet army, were also involved in atrocities against Jewish civilians or embraced ideologies that were deeply anti-Semitic and perpetuated social hostility towards their Jewish populations. This is why B’nai Brith rejects any efforts to constrain historians and the media from researching what happened and publicly explaining it in an objective manner.”

These are words that those at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute should pay attention to.

Mostyn letter is here:

https://www.bnaibrith.ca/canada_must_counter_the_glorification_of_nazis_in_european_nato_countries

Source: Nazi whitewash gathers momentum as memory of the Holocaust fades

A Toronto conference on racism will feature both anti-Islam speakers and Jewish groups

Strange bedfellows:

An upcoming Toronto conference is going to feature anti-Islam speakers, anti-hate advocates and some of the most recognizable Jewish organizations in Canada.

The “national teach-in” on hate and racism is organized by a group called Canadians for the Rule of Law, which argues on its website that “‘political correctness’ is distorting valid criticism” and “‘Libel chill’ is preventing the sharing of ugly facts.” The teach-in seeks to expose those who perpetuate these problems to the detriment of Canadian democracy.

To that effect, the March 17 conference will scrutinize “(A) the radical left; (B) radical Islamists; and (C) the radical right,” in that order of priority. The teach-in was supposed to take place at an important synagogue in Toronto until it pulled out last week over security concerns.

B’nai Brith Canada, one of the country’s most prominent Jewish advocacy groups, has agreed to their CEO Michael Mostyn moderating one of the panel sessions, while Robert Walker, the head of Hasbara Fellowships Canada, a pro-Israel group that works primarily on campuses, is also speaking at the event next March.

Though the conference features a number of well-known, mainstream anti-hate advocates such as Donald Carr, who sits on the board of CFTRL, David Matas and Anita Bromberg, a significant number of organizers and featured speakers are active in Canada’s anti-Muslim or alt-right circles.

Perhaps most notable among these are Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College, and Christine Douglass-Williams, who was fired from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation board for being an active writer to Jihad Watch, a leading Islamophobic platform. McVety had a national TV show pulled off the air in 2010 for his remarks against the LGBTQ community. His college hosted a Rebel Media event in Feb 2017, emceed by prominent far-right propagandist Faith Goldy. He also hosted the popular anti-Islam activist and then Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders in 2011. At the time, McVety described the spread of Islam in Canada as a “demographic jihad.” “Islam is not just a religion, it’s a political and cultural system as well and we know that Christians, Jews and Hindus don’t have the same mandate for a hostile takeover,” he said in 2011.

“No reason whatsoever not to engage in a public discussion.”

John Carpay, who heads up Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, will also be at the conference. He spoke at a Rebel Media event in Calgary last month about the threat of totalitarianism in Canada partly by comparing the Nazi swastika to the “rainbow flag,” a comment he later said was “unintentionally” made. Rebel also fundraised on behalf of Carpay’s centre and some of its initiatives.

B’nai Brith Canada’s media liaison Marty York qualified his organization’s overall involvement when asked whether the decision to send its CEO to participate was made with the consideration that it features such a prominent anti-Muslim presence.

“Mr. Mostyn is moderating one single session on hate speech, which is something he does regularly,” York told VICE News. “He found out who the panelists are going to be and he was comfortable with their identities. Whoever else is involved during the day in other sessions, I’m not even sure if he even knows.”

He said Mr. Mostyn saw “no reason whatsoever not to engage in a public discussion” on hate speech in his one session.

“So there seems to be a smear by association campaign going on, and if that’s the case it’s very unfortunate.”

He added that B’nai Brith Canada “supports the rule of law” in Canada and thus “has no qualms at all about” Mostyn’s participation, regardless of who else is involved throughout the day-long conference.

David Matas, a noted human rights specialist and Senior Honorary Counsel for B’nai Brith, says he’s troubled by the anti-Muslim presence in the planned conference, but didn’t know until friends and colleagues emailed him their concerns.

“This all sort of just popped up and I have to go through all of it and make a decision collectively with my colleagues,” he says. “I admit that from what I’ve seen, there are obviously concerns that we need to discuss and I may end up not participating, but we have to look at all the information first.”

Robert Walker, executive director of Hasbara Fellowships Canada, cited addressing “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Zionism” as the main reasons for his involvement in the conference, preferring to offer no comment on the anti-Muslim participants.

“There are obviously concerns that we need to discuss.”

Hasbara is an initiative run out of Aish Hatorah, a major international network of Jewish educational centres and synagogues.

“Contemporary anti-Semitism often masquerades behind different masks, such as anti-Zionism, which is denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their historic homeland,” he told VICE News. “I do not and cannot speak for other panelists or speakers.”

Among the conference’s main topics is “Actions Against BDS,” or the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the state of Israel.

The conference was originally supposed to take place at the prominent Beth Tikvah synagogue in North York. But in an email to VICE News, Rabbi Jarrod Grover of the synagogue noted that it has pulled out of the arrangement, leaving CFTRL without a host.

Grover stated that the decision to pull out was based primarily on security concerns for participants and to avoid a “media circus” — not over any ideological concerns.

“I defend the right of CFTRL and their speakers to say what they want to say within the limits of Canadian law.”

“We like dialogue and free speech, but we are a religious, not a political organization,” he wrote. “I defend the right of CFTRL and their speakers to say what they want to say within the limits of Canadian law, despite the fact that I obviously have different beliefs than many speakers at this conference.”

According to the Canadian Jewish News, the decision to pull out came after Karen Mock, president of the progressive Jewish group JSpace Canada, reached out to Rabbi Grover to discuss “potential damage control” over media interest in the event due to “the Islamophobia and bigotry associated with some of these groups and individuals.”

A response for a media request to CFTRL’s general inbox was replied by board member David Nitkin, who rejected the request on the basis that VICE News is an “alt-left” publication. Carr did not respond to requests for comment. He told the Canadian Jewish News that the event will go on, and “we reject any attempt by those who wish to stifle free speech.”

Nitkin is also a leading organizer and board member of the anti-Islam group, Canadian Citizens for Charter Rights and Freedoms (C3RF), which indicates in its mission statement that “Islamophobia” is a concept invented by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies to infiltrate Canada and implement Shariah law. It is listed as a “community supporter” of the conference, along with ACT! Canada, which is a prominent anti-Islam group.

Source: A Toronto conference on racism will feature both anti-Islam speakers and Jewish groups

ICYMI: Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate’s anti-Semitism committee stuck on Israel – NOW Magazine

Good question:

The province’s Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) has produced a clear and concise strategy to combat anti-Black racism. So why have they fumbled things so badly with their sub-committee on anti-Semitism?

Anti-racism is about giving voice to those who are outside the mainstream and ensuring broad representation in all public matters.

The ARD’s Strategic Plan, A Better Way Forward, states that its approach “actively confronts the unequal power dynamic between groups and the structures that sustain it [and] involves consistently assessing structures, policies and programs.”

Yet, the directorate has set up a sub-committee on anti-Semitism that consists solely of representatives from the Jewish establishment, including from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), B’nai Brith Canada, and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC).

Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) and the United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO) have requested to be included on the committee.

“Underlying our desire to participate is deep concern, shared by a growing number of Jews, that accusations of anti-Semitism are being used to suppress criticism of Israel,” says Rachel Epstein, executive director of UJPO’s Winchevsky Centre.

In a submission to the directorate last year, IJV campaigns coordinator Tyler Levitan expressed concern that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel, also known as BDS, might also form part of the sub-committee’s mandate.

Sadly, limiting the committee membership to mainstream voices reinforces the systemic biases that the directorate has been set up to combat.

A broader, more balanced committee is essential, including representatives from non-establishment Jewish groups.

CIJA, B’Nai Brith and FSWC don’t measure up.

While they have decried Islamophobia, the groups have opposed M-103, a parliamentary motion passed last year condemning Islamophobia and all other forms of religious discrimination.

Bernie Farber, a former executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress (who is a member of the sub-committee) criticized the groups in a column last February in the Canadian Jewish News.

“How can it be,” he wrote, “that fellow Jews … deny the very same protections they would rightly demand for themselves?”

One would expect the sub-committee would include those with a dedication to anti-racism generally.

But while the organizations represented on the sub-committee claim many criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitic, they have historically failed to take issue with blatant racism expressed by senior Israeli politicians and government officials.

Recently, that has included the Communications Minister calling African refugees a “sanitary nuisance” and the Justice Minister calling Palestinian children “little snakes.”

The Anti-Racism Directorate’s credibility will be seriously damaged unless it deals with the narrow membership on the sub-committee.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Michael Coteau, the provincial Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, need to act to preserve the directorate’s reputation as it carries out its important task of combatting racism in all its forms.

via Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate’s anti-Semitism committee stuck on Israel – NOW Magazine

Holocaust-denying prof reinstated at University of Lethbridge – The Canadian Jewish News

Questionable decision but appears that investigation ongoing (B’nai Brith appears to have been overly political in their initial reaction compared to CIJA):

The University of Lethbridge has reinstated a professor who had been suspended more than one year ago for questioning the Holocaust and suggesting there was a Zionist connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Anthony Hall, a tenured professor in the university’s globalization studies program, was reinstated following a hearing before a labour arbitrator.

Published reports stated that the university’s board of governors and the faculty association issued a joint statement saying that issues concerning Hall’s activities will be addressed in a faculty handbook.

Contacted by The CJN, the faculty association stated that, “It’s a personnel matter and its confidential.”

Hall was originally suspended in October 2016 over his Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories. At the time, the university issued a statement saying, “From the findings of that assessment, the board has decided to proceed with a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission against Dr. Hall for publishing statements, alone and in collaboration with others, that could be considered hateful, contemptuous and discriminatory.”

The faculty association contested the suspension and, following a court decision in September, an arbitrator was appointed and a hearing was held earlier this month.

B’nai Brith Canada slammed Hall’s reinstatement and blamed the government of Alberta for passing legislation that brought faculty under the province’s labour-relations laws.

“Premier (Rachel) Notley and her government bear direct responsibility for placing a discredited conspiracy theorist back in a university classroom,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “We repeatedly warned the government of the likely outcome of its actions, but they sadly chose to ignore our warnings and expose Alberta university students to anti-Semitism and discrimination instead.

“Despite this setback, we expect the University of Lethbridge to continue fighting anti-Semitism on campus, and to do whatever it takes to ensure that Hall has no podium for his unhinged anti-Semitic nonsense.”

In an email cited in a news release by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Premier Notley stated, “There is no question that the views of this individual are repulsive, offensive and not reflective of Alberta. Our classrooms are a place for freedom of speech and expression but that does not mean individuals get to stand at the head of the class and spread lies and conspiracy theories. I am terribly disappointed to learn that this individual has been reinstated, but let me be clear that legislation that our government introduced did not give him his job back. I can confirm that this individual is now under investigation by a committee at the university.”

For its part, CIJA stated that Hall’s reinstatement was “a direct result of an agreement between Hall, the faculty association and the university. We have also confirmed that Hall will not be teaching or interacting with students. He is continuing to be investigated by the university and his future is far from certain.”

via Holocaust-denying prof reinstated at University of Lethbridge – The Canadian Jewish News

B’nai Brith Canada condemns rash of pro-Nazi postering in B.C.

Another disturbing incident:

B’nai Brith Canada has condemned the actions of whoever put up anti-Semitic posters and chalkboard drawings at the University of British Columbia over the Remembrance Day weekend in Vancouver.

On Nov. 11, the student newspaper called the Ubyssey reported that the entrances to the War Memorial Gym were plastered with posters glorifying Nazi Germany.

One poster touts Nazi soldiers as the “true heroes of WW2” and offers links to hateful websites. Another bore a swastika and described Nazism as “anti-degenerate.”

The posters were found Saturday, the same day the school hosted Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Philip Steenkamp, vice-president of external relations for the University of B.C. — said campus security took down the posters as soon as they were made aware of them, and that the university takes incidents of hate and racism very seriously.

Two days earlier, on the anniversary of Kristallnacht or the “night of broken glass” on Nov. 9, 1938 in Germany — the night violence broke out against Jews which resulted in thousands of businesses and synagogues trashed and looted — a chalk drawing was found in the UBC forestry building with a “Heil Hitler” message.

RCMP investigated both incidents, but could not find any suspects, said UBC RCMP Const. Kevin Ray.

“Once again, we see anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism raising their ugly heads at a B.C. university,” said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada.

A neo-Nazi poster put up at the University of British Columbia just before Remembrance Day. (The Ubyssey)

“These disturbing incidents constitute a threat to Jewish students and other minorities on campus, as well as an unforgivable insult to Canadian veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat Nazi tyranny.”

Earlier in November, posters targeting Jews were found at the University of Victoria.

Publicity around the removal of those posters was followed by a “tidal wave” of hateful comments on social media, according to anti-racism activists, who fear the far-right rallies seen this summer in Charlottesville, Va. — which saw similar posters plastered around many U.S. universities — may be emboldening racists in Canada.

via B’nai Brith Canada condemns rash of pro-Nazi postering in B.C. – British Columbia – CBC News

By discouraging criticism of Islam, M103 could make it harder to combat anti-Semitism

Striking looking at the list of witnesses before the Canadian Heritage committee studying M-103 of just how polarized the positions are, almost to the extent of parallel universes, with relatively few who bridge the gap.

B’nai Brith plays a useful role in flagging issues, as they did in flagging the issue regarding the TDSB Islamophobia guidebook.

One of the useful contributions of the Conservative government to multiculturalism was its recognition that broad anti-racism program did not address how racism played out differently for different groups. As a result, they focussed on antisemitism with a number of major initiatives, including the long overdue joining of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the hosting of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combatting Antisemitism and the holding of unofficial parliamentary hearings on antisemitism.

Similarly, the same logic, that general messaging may not be enough to address – and debate – the concerns of Canadian Muslims, also applies to M-103.

And just as the working definition of antisemitism tried to provide some clarity on when criticism of Israeli policies crossed over to antisemitism, the same would be useful with respect to criticism regarding Muslims that crosses the line between legitimate concerns and anti-Muslim speech.

But unclear to date whether the hearings will get us there:

Recently, B’nai Brith drew attention to an official guidebook published by Ontario’s largest school board that condemned Islamophobia and defined the term to include “dislike directed… towards Islamic politics or culture.”

While the Toronto District School Board quickly realized its error and pledged to replace this absurdly broad definition, it must be noted that the guidebook was prepared with the support of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a group that has campaigned strongly in favour of M-103. One would assume that the NCCM is an authority on the proper definition of Islamophobia.

To be clear, banning or even discouraging any “dislike” of “Islamic politics” would make it nearly impossible to combat the virulent Jew-hatred that we have seen emanating from some Muslim institutions in Canada.

Canada cannot become a haven for anti-Muslim bigotry. But, by the same token, we cannot allow a misguided reluctance to criticize anything dubbed Islamic to stymie the protection of Canada’s most targeted religious minority — Canadian Jews.

Source: By discouraging criticism of Islam, M103 could make it harder to combat anti-Semitism | National Post

Toronto District School Board revises Islamic guide

Appropriate correction:

The Toronto District School Board said it will change portions of a guidebook that uses a definition of Islamophobia that a Jewish community group has called “overly broad.”

The guidebook defines Islamophobia, in part, as “fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or towards Islamic politics or culture.” B’nai Brith Canada had complained earlier Monday that the reference to “politics” could lead to students or staff being punished for expressing dislike for the Republic of Iran’s persecution of LGBTQ people or restrictions placed on women in Saudi Arabia.

Hours later, TDSB chairperson Robin Pilkey said in a letter to the group that the updated guide will reflect the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s definition of Islamophobia, which makes no reference to politics.

Pilkey said the guide was not enforceable as policy and denied it would have led to silencing of staff or students.

“The TDSB welcomes important input from the community and from organizations such as B’nai Brith, however we must say that some of the suggestions made in your letter and subsequent news release are outrageous,” she said in the letter. “To suggest that the TDSB is encouraging students to stay silent about what they experienced in their countries of birth or that the TDSB is somehow banning students and educators from criticizing executions and other human rights abuses around the world is categorically untrue.”

The Toronto District School Board created the guide to be used in public schools in October, which it declared Islamic Heritage Month. The Toronto District School Board also celebrates Sikh Heritage Month in April and Jewish Heritage Month in May annually.

B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said a school board representative told the group the definition was included in the guidebook “in error.”

“We thank the TDSB for acting swiftly to correct this serious problem,” he said in a statement. “The definition of Islamophobia initially presented by the TDSB was clearly inappropriate, and we look forward to seeing a proper definition presented to Toronto students.”

Source: Toronto District School Board revises Islamic guide | Toronto Star

Anthony Furey’s commentary from the Sun:

The Toronto District School Board is temporarily pulling an Islamic Heritage Month guidebook following complaints from Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada, the Toronto Sun has learned.

The book, as I described in a recent column, is a robust 170-page document that encourages a great deal of religious intrusion in a classroom setting that’s otherwise supposed to be a non-religious environment.

The recommendations include reciting and explaining the Muslim greeting “As-salamu alaykum” (peace be upon you) alongside the singing of O Canada and inviting children to visit a local mosque. It also includes templates of famous mosques around the world for children to construct during cut and paste exercises.

But it’s the guide’s alarming definition of Islamophobia that has caught the attention of the leading Jewish advocacy group. The school board’s guide defines the term as “fear, prejudice, hatred of dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or towards Islamic politics or culture.”

“The TDSB definition, if enforced, could lead to punishment for students or teachers who display “dislike” towards the persecution of LGBTQ people in the Islamic Republic of Iran, harsh restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, all of which are examples of “Islamic politics,” an earlier press release from B’nai Brith Canada says.

The organization contacted the TDSB Monday morning and by the afternoon the school board had committed to pulling the online guidebook until they revised the definition of Islamophobia, according to B’nai Brith Canada.

“A link to the resource guide was provided to school administrators across the system,” TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird told the Sun. “A revised version with an edited definition of Islamophobia will be available online shortly.”

It’s unclear if they plan to revise or remove any of the other controversial aspects of the guide.

“There are many students in Toronto schools who have come to Canada fleeing persecution from countries like Iran, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia — and now the TDSB is telling them to stay silent about what they’ve suffered. It’s simply ludicrous,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said in the earlier press release. They’ve since issued another release thanking the board for swift action on the issue.

Source: Toronto school board recalls, revises controversial Islamic guidebook

Rogers TV Drops Arabic-Language Show Following Complaint of Antisemitism

B’nai Brith report, not yet seen on mainstream media (saw this on right-wing Canada Free Press site):

Rogers TV, which runs community programming throughout Canada, has pulled the plug on an Arabic-language show called AskMirna after B’nai Brith Canada drew its attention to antisemitic messages promoted in the program.

AskMirna, which describes itself as “presenting an accurate, positive, inspiring and entertaining image of the Arab-Canadian community,” dedicated an entire episode to “Nakba Day,” in which Palestinians annually mourn the establishment of the State of Israel and call for its destruction. This included an interview with Nazih Khatatba, who described Jewish suffering as “fairy tales” and engaged in Holocaust denial

 

Khatatba, a leader of Palestine House in Mississauga, Ont. has a history of inciting violence against Jews. In December, 2014, he lauded the terrorists behind the Har Nof synagogue massacre in Jerusalem that left six dead in his al-Meshwarnewspaper. The incident was later investigated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

In other episodes of AskMirna, Palestinian-Canadian children are shown dancing to songs that praise terrorism against Israel, which is labelled “the rapist entity.”

“Antisemitic propaganda delivered through music and television is rampant in the Middle East, and constitutes a significant barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We cannot allow such hatred to be imported into this country, potentially radicalizing Canadian youth.”

Colette Watson, Senior Vice-President of Television and Broadcast Operations for Rogers Communications, told B’nai Brith that “…there is no room on Rogers TV, community television or anywhere in Canadian media for hate of any kind.”