by Khadijah Ali (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 5, Shawwal, 1439)
Taking strong exception to Zionist allegations against the Toronto Quds Day rally, the organizing committee’s lawyer Dmitri Lascaris issued a statement (see below) refuting the scandalous charges. Zionist allegations are based on complete lies. While the Zionists are compulsive liars and would not hesitate to indulge in any distortion, what is disturbing is that Ontario’s premier-elect Doug Ford (he will be sworn in as premier on June 29 after Crescent press time) also waded into the controversy swallowing the poisoning propaganda of the Zionists.
Zionist hysteria is the direct result of the growing success of al-Quds Day rally in Toronto. This multicultural city has the proud distinction of holding the largest Quds Day rally in North America. This year was no exception. Further, like many other cities, the Toronto Quds Day rally also had speakers from all faith communities and backgrounds. Muslim, Christian, and Jewish speakers addressed the rally highlighting Israeli crimes against innocent Palestinians. Several rabbis from the Jewish group, Naturei Karta, also participated in the Toronto Quds Day rally. They have done so on a regular basis for many years.
Apologists for the Zionist regime deliberately ignore these facts. They are terrified of the growing success of Quds Day rallies worldwide (there were rallies in more than 800 cities this year), especially in Toronto. These rallies are beginning to expose the ugly face of Zionism and its horrific crimes against innocent Palestinians.
In the March of Return rallies that were launched on March 30 leading to the May 15 Nakbah Day, heavily armed Zionist soldiers shot and killed more than 150 Palestinians and injured more than 22,000 others. Using high velocity rifles and exploding bullets, the Zionists deliberately targeted unarmed Palestinians. Even the UN Human Rights Council condemned these Israeli crimes. Unable to defend Zionist crimes, their apologists in North America resort to smear tactics.
The pro-Apartheid lobby group B’nai Brith Canada is in the forefront of this smear campaign. Two days prior to the Toronto rally (held on June 9), it published a report on its website in which it used a photo from a rally in London, England of seven years earlier (2011) alleging that this was from a Toronto rally in 2016. The poster said Zionist Israel should be wiped out. When it was pointed out that this was not a poster from any Toronto rally, the Zionist group removed the photo without offering an apology.
It used the allegation to lobby the mayor of Toronto John Tory in an attempt to smear and, therefore, ban the Quds Day rally. B’nai Brith (the pro-apartheid Zionist lobby group) claims to be a human rights organization. It has little to do with human rights; this is merely a convenient cover. It uses this cover to smear others, especially those who expose Israeli crimes against innocent Palestinians.
Other Zionist groups involved in willful distortions are the Centre for Israel Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, and the Jewish Defence League (JDL). It is noticeable that CIJA, while claiming to be a Canadian organization has nothing to do with Canada. Its sole purpose is to prevent Zionist crimes from being exposed and to smear those wjp do so. The JDL is a terrorist outfit that is banned in the US and its parent organization Kahane Chai, named after the notorious American Zionist, Meir Kahane, is banned even in Israel. Kahane was killed in New York in 1990 yet he spawned this racist outfit that indulges in terrorist activities in North America and Colonized Palestine.
In 2013, JDL thugs were involved in an assault on a Muslim sister and brother who were left behind the main Quds Day rally. Fortunately, another person was able to film the assault on his cell phone camera leading to police charges against the three assailants.
JDL thugs have indulged in other crimes in Canada and have now linked up with such white racist supremicist groups as Soldiers of Odin. JDL regularly recruits members of biker gangs to attend their sparsely attended counter-protests (less than 50 people) and hurl threats and obscenities at peaceful Quds Day rally participants. Last year, JDL thugs assaulted an elderly Palestinian professor as he attended a rally outside the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC’s meeting in Washington, DC. One of the assailants was a JDL member from Toronto. It takes chutzpah! All three were charged by the DC police.
Despite such crimes and the false allegations leveled by B’nai Brith, politicians and the police continue to treat them with kid gloves. In some instances, they even pander to the whims of these nasty groups.
While the Zionists may be able to blackmail politicians into towing their line, the Quds Committee is not backing down; it stands for an important principle: the right to free speech and to hold peaceful rallies in support of the oppressed Palestinian people. To refute the Zionists’ scandalous allegations, the Toronto Quds Committee lawyer Dmitri Lascaris issued the following statement on June 13, 2018,
On behalf of the thousands of peaceful, conscientious Canadians who participated on June 9 in the Quds Day rally in Toronto, the Quds Toronto Committee categorically rejects the accusations leveled against the rally’s organizers and participants by [the] pro-apartheid lobby group, B’nai Brith Canada.
B’nai Brith Canada has issued false and inflammatory accusations against the rally’s organizers and participants. Ontario’s Premier-elect, Doug Ford, has faithfully repeated those falsehoods, apparently without conducting any investigation into their truth or falsehood.
On June 7, 2018, the organizers of the rally issued a statement of principles that reiterated our opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, and our commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts. We repeated these principles at the outset of the rally. Our speakers also stressed the importance of these principles. B’nai Brith has studiously ignored our unqualified commitment to anti-racism and nonviolence.
Our rally included citizens of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, including our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community. B’nai Brith has studiously ignored the participation of our Jewish brothers and sisters in the rally.
Above all, B’nai Brith has ignored Israel’s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights, all of which have been documented by mainstream human rights organizations like Amnesty International, US-based Human Rights Watch and Israel-based B’Tselem:
1. The torture of Palestinian children by Israeli police and military forces;
2. The Israeli military’s shooting of thousands of unarmed civilians in Gaza during the recent Great March of Return. The IDF’s victims included Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani, 21-year old nurse Razan al-Najjar, who was shot in the back by an Israeli sniper as she attempted to assist an unarmed civilian, journalists, and disabled persons;
4. Israel’s illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories, which constitute a war crime; and
5. Israel’s collective punishment of innocent Palestinians, including the one million Palestinian children living in Gaza, which has been rendered unlivable, according to the United Nations, due to Israel’s inhuman and illegal blockade of Gaza.
As documented recently by international legal scholar Richard Falk, who is a Jewish-American, the evidence that Israel has imposed an apartheid regime on Palestinians is “overwhelming.” Apartheid is a crime against humanity and is surpassed in gravity only by the crime of genocide.
B’nai Brith has focused its attacks on a speech delivered at the rally by Sheikh Shafiq Huda of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, Ontario. In smearing him, B’nai Brith refuses to acknowledge the distinction between Israel’s citizens (20% of whom are Palestinian) and the Israeli government’s system of subjugating and humiliating Palestinians. It is that regime which Sheikh Shafiq Shuda urged Canadians to oppose and eradicate. The claim that he called for the eradication of Israel’s citizens is baseless and false.
B’nai Brith equates demanding an end to the regime that commits these atrocities with demanding the eradication of Israeli citizens. B’nai Brith’s equation is unconscionable.
Additionally, we are deeply troubled by the Premier-elect’s blind reliance on a source that has been completely discredited. B’nai Brith Canada has proven itself to be a relentless fabricator of fake news.
Only days before the al-Quds rally, B’nai Brith claimed that a photograph calling for the destruction of Israel had been taken at the Toronto al-Quds rally in 2016. In fact, the photograph was taken at a rally in the United Kingdom in 2011. When this fact was revealed, B’nai Brith deleted its tweets of the photograph without apologizing for its false claim. Similarly, and as reported by the Toronto Star in 2017, B’nai Birth recently used a doctored and mistranslated video to smear Toronto Imam Ayman Elkasrawy. And in 2013, B’nai Brith retracted its false accusation that Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes is antiSemitic after Ms. Hughes sued B’nai Brith for libel.
Not only has Premier-elect Ford relied on a discredited source to attack the Quds rally organizers and participants, he has unambiguously threatened to ensure that al-Quds is “no longer part of landscape in Ontario.”
During the election campaign, Doug Ford stated that he wanted to use government funding to promote free speech on university campuses. Apparently, free speech matters to Mr. Ford only when he agrees with the speaker.
We assure Mr. Ford that the Quds committee will vigorously defend our supporters’ free speech rights and their right of free assembly in the courts of Ontario, not only for the benefit of the long-suffering Palestinian people, but for the benefit of all Canadians.
Counsel to the al-Quds Toronto Committee
phone: (514) 941-5991