Antisemitism Real and Imagined (Introduction)

This Introduction begins on p. 7 of the book. Page numbers in the book as printed are indicated in square brackets within the present text. 

This book is about an attempt to curtail freedom of speech and academic freedom across Canada, and to stigmatize, even to criminalize, certain kinds of human rights discourse.

The rhetorical tactics being deployed in this attack on free speech are familiar enough. They consist in leveling a charge of antisemitism1 against anyone who draws attention to the state of Israel’s violent, degrading, and (under international law) flagrantly illegal treatment of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza, or who points to the fact that this treatment is motivated by a systematic and likewise flagrantly illegal project of colonization, apartheid treatment of a subject population, and ethnic cleansing.

What is new is the institutional strategy that has been adopted. The Canadian House of Commons makes a regular practice of appointing parliamentary committees and delegating to them, through an “order of reference,” the responsibility to study a particular subject and deliver findings and recommendations in a report to the House. In the present instance, this procedure has been circumvented: with no authority from parliament as a whole, an all-party “coalition” of MPs, the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA), has constituted itself in order to conduct a Parliamentary Inquiry into antisemitism.

This group’s self-defined terms of reference make clear its intention to brand criticism of the state of Israel within Canadian universities and the media as antisemitic, and hence as incitement of hatred. The aim is apparently to help create a climate of opinion—in Parliament, the judiciary, and the police, as well as among the public at large—within which criticisms of the state of Israel’s violations of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law, and its ongoing illegal appropriations of Palestinian land, water, and natural gas resources, can be re-defined as antisemitism, stigmatized as incitements of hatred, and perhaps even prosecuted under section 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code2 and section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act,3 [8] or else summarily silenced by judicial warrants of seizure issued under section 320 of the Criminal Code.4

By a curious lapse, section 319.(1) of the Criminal Code, which deals with incitement of hatred “likely to lead to a breach of the peace,” does not allow a defence on the basis of truth, the public interest, or evidence that the accused referred to “matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred” with the intention of eliminating them. Accusations that human rights activism critical of Israel and in solidarity with the Palestinians incites hatred can therefore be expected to include the claim that this activism is “likely to lead to a breach of the peace” against Canadian Jews5—an ironic prospect, given that many of the Canadian human rights activists working in this area are themselves Jewish.

The CPCCA no doubt anticipates an attentive response from the Canadian government: its co-organizers are Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and one of the most prominent and outspoken members of the Harper government, and Irwin Cotler, a professor in McGill University’s law faculty and former Justice Minister in the Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

Professor Cotler, though he is a human rights lawyer of international standing, has a record of quiet extremism on the subjects of Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and breaches of international law: his positions on these issues resemble those of Israel’s Likud or Kadima parties.

I take it to be a mark of extremism that in August 2009 Professor Cotler produced two articles attempting, in advance of its publication, to discredit Richard Goldstone’s report to the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) on Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 attack on Gaza. In the first of these articles, Cotler falsely blamed Judge Goldstone for having supposedly accepted an unbalanced mandate from the UNHCR that focused solely on Israel and that ignored the question of whether the Hamas government of Gaza violated international law.6 Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, has refuted this claim, noting that although the UNHCR “originally established a one-sided mandate for the Gaza investigation, […] at Goldstone’s insistence, the council’s president broadened the investigation before Goldstone agreed to take it on […]. The council, in turn, acquiesced. Goldstone then confirmed that ‘all sides [will] be investigated.’”7

The falsity of imputations of one-sidedness and bias is evident from the careful neutrality with which, on April 3, 2009, UNHRC President Martin Uhomoibhi expressed his confidence that Goldstone’s Fact-Finding Mission would “assess in independent and impartial manner all human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the context of the conflict which took place between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009….”8 At the ensuing press conference, Judge Goldstone expressed his concern “for the heavy loss of innocent lives in Gaza and Israel,” his hope that members of the Mission would be enabled by “the relevant authorities […] to visit and meet [9] with victims both in Israel and in Gaza and in the Occupied Territories,” and his conviction that “the invitation I received […] makes it very clear this is to be an independent, evenhanded and unbiased investigation.”9 In the light of these very direct public statements, it is hard to believe that Professor Cotler’s criticisms could have been made in good faith.

Cotler’s second article echoed the false claims of Israeli propaganda that Hamas provoked the outbreak of hostilities in late December 2008, that Hamas used civilians to shield its fighters and ambulances to transport them, that Gaza is not “occupied” by Israel but a territory whose “status under international law remains unclear,” and that any “witness testimony and documentary evidence” acquired by Goldstone must have been “controlled by the Hamas terrorist government.” Cotler concluded by demanding that the Goldstone Report should “not just […] mention Hamas’s violations of international law, but […] identify them as the root cause of the Gaza conflict. Simply put, if there had been no Hamas war crimes, there would have been no need for an Israeli response.”10

Cotler’s statements about how the war began can be measured against University of Oxford historian Avi Shlaim’s observation that “it was not Hamas but the IDF that broke the ceasefire. [….] It is a little known but crucial fact that Hamas enforced the ceasefire very effectively on its side until Israel sabotaged it.”11 The Goldstone Report found no evidence that Palestinian fighters in Gaza used civilians or civilian infrastructure to shield themselves—but concluded that Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians as human shields.12 After considering the legal issues, the Report determined that “Israel has without doubt at all times relevant to the mandate of the Mission exercised effective control over the Gaza Strip. The Mission is of the view that the circumstances of this control establish that the Gaza Strip remains occupied by Israel. The provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention therefore apply […].”13 And Kenneth Roth has remarked that Cotler’s claim about Hamas’s control of witness testimony was apparently made

without having conducted research in Gaza. Human Rights Watch researchers in Gaza have found that ordinary Palestinians interviewed in private are quite willing to speak independently of Hamas, including in describing serious abuses committed by Hamas forces. The Israeli government loves highlighting Human Rights Watch’s reporting on Hamas abuses, as described by Gaza civilians, but when it comes to describing Israeli abuses, Cotler and the Israeli government suggest that these same Gazans can never speak the truth.14

Professor Cotler’s smearing of Judge Goldstone and his misrepresentation of readily ascertainable historical facts may seem inoffensive by comparison with his friend Alan Dershowitz’s behaviour—the Harvard law professor, denouncing Goldstone as a knave rather than a fool, has accused him of “aggravated blood libel”15—but this is extremism nonetheless.

[10] Jason Kenney’s extremism is noisier. In mid-February 2009, speaking at the London conference of the Inter-parliamentary Committee for Combating Antisemitism at which the CPCCA’s project appears to have been formulated, he accused the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) of antisemitism on account of its criticism of Israel’s military onslaught on Gaza, and indicated that organizations which express “hateful sentiments [….] should not expect to receive resources from the state, support from taxpayers or any other form of official respect from the government or the organs of our state.”16

In March 2009, Kenney banned British MP George Galloway, who was midway through a speaking tour in the United States, from entering Canada—Galloway’s crime being that, in defiance of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, he had led a humanitarian relief convoy to Gaza. At much the same time as Kenney’s principal spokesman, Alykhan Velshi, was alternating between denouncing Galloway as a facilitator of terrorism and declaring that he wouldn’t be allowed into Canada “to pee on our carpet” (in other words, to criticize Canada’s involvement in the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of Afghanistan),17 Kenney himself renewed his attack on CAF. Rather than making a formal accusation of illegal behaviour (which would have to be supported by evidence), Kenney was content with using a smear as the pretext for formally cutting off government funding to CAF’s well-regarded programs for helping new immigrants adapt to life in Canada. Urging Canadians to “be wary of the rise of a new form of anti-Semitism cloaked in debates about Israel’s actions in the Middle East,”18 he made clear his readiness to label any criticism of Israel as antisemitic.

That readiness was also evident in early May, when during a trip to Israel Kenney denounced a “new anti-Semitism” emanating from an alliance of Western leftists and Islamic extremists as “even more dangerous than the old European anti-Semitism.”19 It was evident, once again, in a speech he delivered in Jerusalem on December 16, 2009, at the annual conference of the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism. On this occasion, Kenney boasted of his government’s “zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism”—which means, he declared (extending his previous slanders),

that we eliminated the government funding relationship with organizations like for example, the Canadian Arab Federation, whose leadership apologized for terrorism or extremism, or who promote hatred, in particular anti-Semitism. We have ended government contact with like-minded organizations like the Canadian Islamic Congress […]. We have defunded organizations, most recently like KAIROS, who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.20

KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, an NGO linked to eleven Canadian churches and church-related organizations (among them [11] the United Church, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Mennonite Central Committee), has for thirty-five years conducted international human rights and social justice projects funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). This NGO, and the churches on whose behalf it acts, were dismayed to be informed on November 30th 2009 that funding for its projects would not be renewed, on the clearly untrue grounds that KAIROS “doesn’t fit with CIDA’s priorities”21—and outraged a fortnight later by Kenney’s slanderous explanation of the real motive.

More recently, the Harper government has withdrawn CIDA funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which “provides assistance to 4.67 million Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the Middle East and administers programs in the areas of education, health and other social services in 59 Palestinian refugee camps,”22 and from the Montréal NGO Alternatives, which for the past fifteen years has run projects supporting education in occupied Palestine. Jason Kenney’s hand may be suspected in these as in other decisions affecting the disbursement of money through CIDA: in 2003 he targeted UNRWA as being responsible “for the promotion of hatred, incitement and antisemitism in the camps and schools it administers,”23 and the Ottawa source who leaked the news of Alternative’s de-funding to National Post journalist John Ivison—an unnamed male from outside of CIDA who spoke, as though with ministerial or governmental authority, about “our priorities”—sounds very much like Kenney or a member of his staff.24

Kenney’s identification of KAIROS—and, by implication, most of Canada’s Christian churches—as antisemitic is no less fatuous than his claim that the organization has been involved in the campaign to boycott and sanction Israel. That claim, derived according to Kenney’s office from NGO Monitor, a right-wing U.S.-funded organization in Israel,25 is contradicted by the very KAIROS document that NGO Monitor cites as proof that “KAIROS is a main supporter of the anti-Israel divestment movement in Canada.”26

This squalid story—which has an equally squalid coda in Kenney’s subsequent attempt to deny that he had said what he all too clearly did say in Jerusalem27—is directly related to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism and its project of a parliamentary inquiry.

Jason Kenney began the December 16th speech in which he slandered KAIROS by noting the presence in his Jerusalem audience of Irwin Cotler and of Scott Reid and Mario Silva, the Co-Chairs of the CPCCA; and he concluded by referring again to the CPCCA and by anticipating, in an apparent reference to the CPCCA’s yet-to-be-written report, that Canada will be able to offer “some useful reference points and best practices to share with the rest of the world and parliamentarians who share our concern about the new anti-Semitism.”28

According to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking at the same conference, this “new antisemitism” is quite simply any criticism of Israel, [12] such as that in the Goldstone Report (which documented Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in its December 2008-January 2009 attack on Gaza): “‘Modern anti-Semitism,’ the foreign minister asserted, ‘has taken on the form of being anti-Israel…’.”29

* * * *

What exactly is this Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA)? On June 2nd, 2009, MPs Scott Reid and Mario Silva announced its formation as an ad hoc group of twenty-one MPs, including members of all parties in the House of Commons, whose principal task would be to hold a Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in Canada. The CPCCA claims independence both from the government of Canada and also from NGOs and Jewish community organizations, and professes its willingness to “voluntarily disclose all sources of funding.”

According to the organization’s first press release, this initiative grew out of the experience of a delegation of eleven MPs, led by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and former Justice Minister Professor Irwin Cotler, who attended the inaugural conference of an organization calling itself the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) in London, England in February 2009. The Canadian group took part with over a hundred parliamentarians from other countries in “presentations and discussions on the increasing problem of antisemitism globally,” and signed on to “The London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism,” which called on all governments “to face the problem of antisemitism, especially its manifestations in the media and academia.” The MPs returned “with the desire to form a Canadian coalition to fight antisemitism here.”30

The CPCCA called for written submissions, with a deadline in late July that was extended to the end of August 2009, and subsequently to October 1st. After assessing the more than one hundred and fifty responses it received, and extending invitations to selected authors and to expert witnesses, it scheduled a series of eight sessions of oral testimony beginning on November 2nd, and in early December announced additional hearings scheduled for late January and early February 2010. A report drawing on this input is to be submitted to the government of Canada, from whom the CPCCA hopes to receive a response by the fall of 2010.

The CPCCA is evidently modeling itself upon a British All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism, which issued a call for papers in late November 2005, and after conducting oral hearings, published a report in September 2006, to which the UK government responded at the end of March 2007. Indeed, one of the ICCA’s stated objectives is “To use the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in the UK as a model template for other national assemblies to follow.”31 Appropriately enough, given this [13] aim, the first witness to address the CPCCA’s opening hearing on November 2, 2009 was Denis MacShane, the Labour Party MP who chaired the group that conducted the British inquiry.

The shared rationale of these parliamentary inquiries and of the ICCA is that we are witnessing, both in our own countries and globally, an ever-wider dissemination and a serious intensification of antisemitism. The British Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism states—and the ICCA and the CPCCA in its preliminary statements more vehemently assert—that this prejudice has at the same time been mutating into a dangerous and unprecedented “new antisemitism.” All three organizations avow an urgent need to combat this new antisemitism, most especially in the media and in academia.

* * * *

Jason Kenney, co-leader with Irwin Cotler of the group that attended the ICCA meeting, and an ex officio member both of the CPCCA’s Steering Committee and its Inquiry Committee, is, as Murray Dobbin has remarked, “the point man for Stephen Harper on issues involving Israel”—or, as Haroon Siddiqui has written in the Toronto Star, “the minister in charge of putting one group of Canadians against another for Tory electoral benefit….”32

Professor Irwin Cotler is likewise a key member of the CPCCA. Not only did he help to shepherd the initial group of eleven MPs across the Atlantic for the ICCA meeting in February, but he is also one of the founders of that organization, and is listed on its website as one of the six members of its Steering Committee. In November 2009, it emerged that he is in fact the Chair of that Steering Committee and of the ICCA33—in which capacity he gave testimony in the first oral hearings of the CPCCA, despite also being, with Kenney, an ex officio member both of the CPCCA’s Steering Committee and of its Inquiry Committee.

Professor Cotler has been present at every step: as co-leader with Jason Kenney of the Canadian participants in the ICCA conference, as leader of the host organization in London and hence an instigator in the formation of the CPCCA, as a member of both of the CPCCA’s organizing committees, and as a leading witness in its Inquiry.

His ubiquity, suggestive of an intense desire to shape the outcome of this project, comes into focus when one recognizes that the CPCCA is the local instantiation of a larger project Professor Cotler has been working on for at least the past eight years. In January 2002 he co-founded, with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior and former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Per Ahlmark, an organization to be called the International Commission for Combatting Anti-Semitism (ICCA). As journalist Michael J. Jordan wrote six months later, this initiative was a direct response to the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, and to the 2001 UN [14] World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, both of which intensified Israel’s “battle for world opinion.”34

According to Melchior, the proposed commission would

differ from other Jewish efforts because it would be comprised primarily of prominent non-Jews and would be global in scope, while angling to establish local commissions in as many countries as possible […]. The commission would raise public awareness of anti-Semitism and take an active role in lobbying, advocacy and education, Melchior said.35

Professor Cotler’s role was to “provide much of the ideological underpinning” for the commission. Jordan quotes a key definition from the draft version of an essay Cotler published later the same year: “In a word, classical anti-Semitism is the discrimination against, or denial of, the right of Jews to live as equal members of a free society; the new anti-Semitism—sometimes characterized as ‘anti-Zionism’—involves the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon, the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations….”36

The commission was planned on a grandiose scale, with a headquarters in Geneva, secondary offices in Jerusalem and in New York or Washington—and, according to a prospectus published by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July 2002, with an Honorary Presidency of nine members, to be headed by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize-winning writer Elie Wiesel, an Executive Committee of fifteen members, two Advisory Committees, National Branches (to be “established in various countries”), and a “Parliamentary-style” General Council whose eighty members would be “representatives of the national branches and leading figures of outstanding moral stature.”37 But the project languished: at the end of June, Rabbi Melchior’s spokesman indicated that despite the planned start-up date of October 1, no full-time employee had been hired, and only several hundred thousand dollars had been raised, “partly from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget.”38

This abortive first incarnation of the ICCA was all too obviously an initiative of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told Michael J. Jordan that he wouldn’t support the strategy if it was largely led and implemented by Israel—not because he objected to an exercise of influence in the manner envisioned, but rather because Israel has bilateral relations with many of the countries in which the ICCA would be working, and “‘shouldn’t put itself in a position that jeopardizes those relations,’ especially when there are Jewish groups willing to do the dirty work, he added.”39

The failure of this project may have suggested to Professor Cotler a less top-heavy organization—not a commission with national branch-office commissions whose representatives would come together in something resembling a parliament, but rather a diffuse coalition whose constituent [15] groupings would themselves be coalitions of parliamentarians working through their own national assemblies. The second-iteration ICCA, the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism that met for the first time in London, in the galleries of the Wallace Collection, in February 2009, has a formal structure confined to its six-member Steering Committee. And with funding from the UK government and a British charitable foundation, it is less obviously connected to the government of Israel.40

But the connection very definitely persists. One of the ICCA Steering Committee’s members is Yuli Edelstein, Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, who in mid-December 2009 co-chaired with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman the conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem at which Jason Kenney managed to taint Canada’s mainstream Christian churches with a charge of antisemitism.

Edelstein’s own address to this conference was scarcely a model of discretion or subtlety. He declared that “We must repeat again and again these basic facts—TO BE ‘anti-Israel’ IS TO BE ANTI-SEMITIC. TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL, ISRAELI PROFESSORS and ISRAELI business, these are not political acts, these are acts of hate, acts of anti-Semitism! Anti-Israel hysteria is anti-Semitic hysteria. They are one and the same.”41

Edelstein went on to say that his ministry “will work very hard to widen the field of people dealing with this issue, and will do everything in our power to build the ICCA, the inter parliamentary coalition to combat anti-Semitism. Through the ICCA we can stand together, shoulder to shoulder, in the fight against anti-Semitism.”42

* * * *

The ICCA begins its statement of purpose with a dramatic declaration (whose first sentence, derived from the opening of Cotler’s essay “Human Rights and the New Anti-Jewishness,” proclaims its authorship):

The world is witnessing today an escalating, sophisticated, global, virulent and even lethal antisemitism, that is arguably without parallel or precedent since the end of the Second World War.

This escalation and intensification underpins—indeed necessitates—the establishment of an international coalition to confront and combat this oldest and most enduring of hatreds. Silence is not an option. The time has come not only to sound the alarm—but also to act.43

Decent people everywhere should unquestionably join in opposition to all forms of racial and ethnic hatred, and repudiate any excuse for or legitimation of racism, including antisemitism. But the opening sentence of Cotler’s ICCA declaration is both hyperbolical and largely untrue.44

[16] A residual antisemitism does persist in Europe and in those countries, descended from settler-colonies, whose inheritance from Christian Europe included a dose of this toxic prejudice. But in none of these countries does antisemitism have the state or institutional support that it often received until the 1950s and 60s, or even later. Forms of antisemitic discrimination and antisemitic hate-speech that were widespread a generation or more ago are now regarded with disgust, and in many countries, including Canada, are subject to legal sanctions. Attitudes have also changed for the better: the percentages of people in Europe and North America who report disliking Jews or regarding them as not fully citizens have steadily declined, and even parties of the European far right in countries like Italy, Austria, and France have disavowed their long-standing antisemitism.

It is true that during the past decade especially, public opinion has in most countries around the world swung toward an increasingly strong disapproval of the state of Israel’s lawless and inexcusable treatment of the people of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and its untrammeled aggressiveness in relation to neighbouring states. Confused, perhaps, by claims of Israeli politicians to be speaking and acting on behalf of Jews everywhere, and by the uncritical support given by mainstream Jewish organizations in the diaspora even to Israel’s most disgraceful actions, some protesters have fallen into the error of attributing to Jews in general the actions of a state.

Moreover, people in some countries in which European antisemitism used to be, for the most part, an exotic and largely disregarded import have been taking up the tropes of a prejudice largely eclipsed elsewhere—a dismaying phenomenon, and one to be strongly challenged. But given that this form of antisemitism appears to derive most of its impetus from reactions to Israeli violations of international law, there is one obvious cure for it: to end those violations.

If to describe antisemitism of these kinds as “sophisticated” seems inappropriate,45 what can one say of the ICCA’s identification of the present situation as unprecedented since the end of the Second World War? Is the situation today really more perilous than anything Jews have experienced since the Holocaust and the years of persecution that preceded it? Is that the period to which we must look for parallels and precedents? Most serious scholars—that is to say, scholars who do evidence-based critical research within the disciplines of the human sciences—would dismiss the comparison as a sign either of advanced paranoia or of fear-mongering.

Symptomatic of the ICCA’s orientation is the fact that rather than attempting in any way to distinguish between antisemitism and criticism of the state of Israel, its “London Declaration” seems determined to conflate the two:

We are alarmed at the resurrection of the old language of prejudice and its modern manifestations—in rhetoric and political action—[17] against Jews, Jewish belief and practice and the State of Israel. (Preamble)

Parliamentarians shall expose, challenge and isolate political actors who engage in hate against Jews and target the State of Israel as a Jewish collectivity (Resolution 1); […]

Governments and the UN should resolve that never again will the institutions of the international community and the dialogue of nation states be abused to try to establish any legitimacy for antisemitism, including the singling out of Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena, and we will never witness—or be party to—another gathering like the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and other related Intolerances in Durban in 2001 (Resolution 6); […]

Education authorities should ensure that freedom of speech is upheld within the law and to protect [sic] students and staff from illegal antisemitic discourse and a hostile environment in whatever form it takes including calls for boycotts (Resolution 24).

It is noteworthy that the “London Declaration,” whose language seems designed to immunize the state of Israel from criticism, was issued in the immediate aftermath of “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel’s attack on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009. This attack involved the targeting and the infliction of massive damage to every aspect of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, from water supply and sewage facilities to educational institutions and medical clinics, as well as a kill ratio of more than 100-to-1 (or over 150-to-1, if we take into account the fact that four of Israel’s ten military casualties were the victims of ‘friendly fire’).46 This military operation has been vehemently condemned by every international human rights organization that has studied the evidence. The issue, then, is not just one of bad timing: the politicians who framed the “London Declaration” might, at the very least, be criticized for moral blindness.

As for the last of the resolutions quoted above: to accept the principle that anyone who disagrees with academic discourse critical of Israel can label it as producing “a hostile environment”—and thereby put it into the same category as “illegal antisemitic discourse”—would be to discard both academic freedom and free speech.

Moreover, interpreting calls for boycotts as intrinsically antisemitic and as creating a “hostile environment” for pro-Zionist students is, to put it mildly, problematic. Those who denounce proposed boycotts of Israel in this manner have been notably silent on the subject of Israel’s actual blockade and boycott of Gaza—which would suggest that they are implicitly distinguishing between Israelis, against whom any boycott is unthinkable, and the Palestinians of Gaza, [18] who are relegated to the category of homines sacri, people denied any protection under the law,47 and whose sufferings under far more extreme measures than anything that has been proposed as a peaceful means of pressure upon Israel are unmentionable.

One name for this kind of thinking is racism.

A call for boycotting Israel on the grounds that four-fifths of its population are Jews would indeed be antisemitic, but to urge economic pressure as the only peaceful way of persuading the state of Israel to abandon expansionist and oppressive policies that have besmirched its reputation throughout the world—that is a matter that can be sanely debated (with, one might hope, recourse to critically-sifted evidence, rather than to smears and slanders).

The CPCCA’s origins in the ICCA conference that produced the “London Declaration” are detectable in its initial statements, from which it is clear that prior to conducting any research, receiving any submissions, or hearing any oral testimony, the coalition knew precisely what it intended to find.

In the summer of 2009, the CPCCA’s website made (and still makes) exaggerated claims, unsupported by evidence, about a supposed global resurgence of antisemitism48 and a mutation of this prejudice into dangerous new forms.49 In two of the website’s five sections, there is prominent mention of the blood libel, the disgusting accusation that Jews ritually murder Christians—though without any indication that Canadian antisemites have actually been circulating this calumny.50 In both cases, the references to the blood libel are immediately followed by complaints about Canadian campuses, where Jewish students are supposedly terrorized by being threatened, intimidated, silenced, and ridiculed.

As evidence presented in this book will show, these claims are false.51 The aim, clearly, is to stir up moral panic, and in the resulting confusion to outlaw as ‘antisemitic’ legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel’s flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.

* * * *

This aim was confirmed by the Inquiry’s dismissal of virtually all the submissions it received proposing genuinely critical, historically responsible, and evidence-based analyses of present-day antisemitism.

The Inquiry received over one hundred and fifty submissions—a significant proportion of which presented opinions and analyses that diverge sharply from the positions adopted by the CPCCA itself. In not one single case were the individuals who had submitted critical or oppositional texts chosen to give oral testimony to the Inquiry, even though they include scholars distinguished in Jewish history, sociology, and human rights law, as well as leading public intellectuals and respected human rights activists, many of whom have published extensively on issues of Canadian foreign policy, racism, and racial discrimination.

[19] The filtering out of critical or oppositional submissions made by human rights organizations or other groups was less complete: the CPCCA did hear from representatives of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women52—while rejecting the more thoroughgoing criticisms offered by the seven human rights organizations represented in this book. However, the disjunction between what the CPCCA chose to attend to and what it resolutely ignored remains striking.

The CPCCA found time to hear oral testimony from Barbara Kay, a journalist who in 2006 incurred widespread complaints to the Conseil de presse du Québec for an article that allegedly incited hatred and racism against Québécois. She had denounced a Québec peace demonstration at the time of Israel’s attack on Lebanon as a “pro-terrorist rally,” calling it further evidence of the “fat streak of anti-Semitism that has marbled the intellectual discourse of Quebec throughout its history”; and she smeared “[l]eft-wing Quebec intellectuals and politicians,” including Pierre Elliott Trudeau, as having “always enjoyed flirtations with” supposed liberators from colonialist oppression like the terrorists of Quebec’s “very own home-grown Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ).”53 The Conseil upheld the complaints, judging that Kay’s article “lacked rigor in its presentation of context,” “distorted facts” in support of a biased interpretation of events, and in an “inappropriate and provocative” manner advanced “generalizations apt to perpetuate prejudice.”54

The CPCCA did not, on the other hand, give the time of day to Professor Yakov M. Rabkin of the Université de Montréal, a widely published historian who has been a consultant for NATO, the OECD, and the World Bank; who has been invited to comment on international relations, including Israel and the Middle East, both in the Canadian and international media; who has served as an expert witness for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Canada; and whose best-known book, Au nom de la Torah: une histoire de l’opposition juive au sionisme (2004), has been translated into eight languages.

The reason, obviously enough, is that the CPCCA’s agenda dovetails nicely with the extremist opinions of Barbara Kay, and not at all with the critical perspectives offered by Professor Rabkin.

And what of the CPCCA’s vaunted independence, its claim that “Funding will only be accepted for the inquiry and conference if it will not compromise the terms of reference and the mandate of the CPCCA,” and its promise to “voluntarily disclose all sources of funding”?55 That promise has gone by the wayside—though it has been established that Monica Kugelmass, the CPCCA’s Director and a Middle East policy advisor in Irwin Cotler’s office, is supported by the Legacy Heritage Fund, which has also helped pay for the relocation of Israeli settlers from Gaza into new settlements in the Negev, and is associated with the funding of the right-wing Zionist group StandWithUs.56


* * * *

In 1863 Paris, the capital of the Western art world, was shaken by the first stirring of what became, in 1874, a full-scale secession and revolt. The annual Salon of the Académie des Beaux-arts, at which the best-known painters of the day exhibited their work, found itself in competition with a rival Salon des refusés, which exhibited works rejected by the Academy’s jurors. These included such now-acknowledged masterpieces as Edouard Manet’s “Déjeuner sur l’herbe” and James McNeill Whistler’s “Girl in White,” as well as canvases by Camille Pissaro and Paul Cézanne. The Salon des refusés came to be recognized, by the time of its reiterations in 1874 and 1875, as the exhibition in which what Cézanne called “truth in painting”—“la vérité en peinture”57—was to be found. The official Salon continued to provide a venue for the productions of a stifling, over-varnished, and moribund orthodoxy, which soon came to be scorned as disconnected from lived realities.

The principal function of this book is to serve as another kind of Salon des refusés. With some exceptions, the witnesses who were invited to speak in the CPCCA’s oral hearings have told the Inquiry what it wanted to hear: that’s what they were chosen for. This book provides, instead, texts by human rights activists, public intellectuals and scholars who offered their knowledge and experience to the Inquiry, but were refused.

The contributors—Rima Berns-McGown, Karin Brothers, Edward C. Corrigan, Mohamed Elmasry, Yves Engler, Bruce Katz, Jason Kunin, Lynda Lemberg, Joanne Naiman, Yakov M. Rabkin, and Craig Smith—speak from firmly grounded ethical principles, and from an unswerving devotion to peace, to justice, and to universal human rights. They speak from a shared conviction that the truth must be faced and must be told; they speak from the evidence; and they speak from the heart.

So also do the human rights activists whose responses to the CPCCA’s Inquiry, reproduced here, were written on behalf of their organizations—the Canada Palestine Support Network, the Canadian Arab Federation, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Educators for Peace and Justice, Faculty for Palestine, Independent Jewish Voices (Canada), and the Seriously Free Speech Committee.

In the first two parts of this book, these contributors, both individuals and the spokespersons for organizations, offer powerful analyses of the material evidence, the human facts, the cultural traditions, and the ethical and legal principles through which we can understand the chasm separating real from imagined antisemitism. From a range of different perspectives, they bring to light the widespread opposition within Judaism and the Jewish community to a Zionist project that has brutalized Israelis and victimized Palestinians, and warn of the ways in which Zionism both feeds upon and generates antisemitism.

In the book’s third part, I have offered some further contexts within which to understand the project of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to [21] Combat Antisemitism. I provide, first, an outline of the shameful history of real antisemitism in Canada. The next chapter analyzes the issues involved in assessing the quantitative data on which an understanding of trends in “antisemitic incidents” must be based, and my concluding chapter explores the rhetoric by means of which deceptive imaginings of a “new antisemitism” have sought to conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism, and discusses some recent attempts to silence critics of Israel within the academy.

This book in its entirety resists the CPCCA’s attempt to shut down democratic debate and principled discussion of an issue that is of primary interest to citizens committed to peace and to supporters of human rights worldwide.

This book provides the means by which Canadians can assess for themselves the CPCCA’s deliberations, and the claims that arise from them. The CPCCA’s final report, when it appears, can be measured by comparison with the ways in which this book’s contributors treat the same questions—offering models of humane and rigorous analysis, in solidarity with the oppressed.

In solidarity with the oppressed: isn’t that where the prophetic tradition within Judaism, together with international human rights law, insists we all should stand?




1  I have adopted the increasingly widespread practice of spelling this word without a hyphen. Some contributors to this book have preferred the hyphenated spelling “anti-Semitism,” which also appears in many of the sources from which I have quoted.

2  Section 319 criminalizes public incitement of hatred “against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace” (subsection 1), and wilful promotion of hatred “against any identifiable group” (subsection 2).

3  The Canadian Human Rights Act 13.(1) defines as “a discriminatory practice” the electronic communication of “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”

4  While section 319.(4) of the Criminal Code provides for the forfeiture, following a conviction under subsections 1 and 2, of “anything by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed,” section 320 permits judges, on the basis of “information on oath,” to issue warrants authorizing seizure of paper and electronic copies of “hate propaganda.”

5  Subsection 3 of section 319 specifies that no-one accused under subsection 2 can be convicted “if he establishes that the statements communicated were true,” or “ if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true,” or “if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.” Subsection 3 makes no mention of subsection 1, which would imply that these defences are not available against an accusation of incitement “likely to lead to a breach of the peace.”

6  Irwin Cotler, “The Goldstone Mission—Tainted to the Core,” Jerusalem Post (16 August 2009); available online at SPME: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East,

7  Kenneth Roth, “Right of Reply: Don’t Smear the Messenger,” Jerusalem Post (25 August 2009), available at Human Rights Watch,’t-smear-messenger.

8  “Richard J. Goldstone Appointed to Lead Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict,” United Nations Press Release (3 April 2009), Uhomoibhi was paraphrasing the mandate, which was “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after” (“United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” UN Human Rights Council (29 September 2009),

9  “Near verbatim transcript of press conference by the President of the Human Rights Council, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi (Nigeria) and Justice Richard J. Goldstone on the announcement of the Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the conflict in the Gaza Strip,” Geneva, 3 April 2009; available at the same URL as the press release cited in note 8 above.

10  Irwin Cotler, “The Goldstone Mission—Tainted to the Core (II),” Jerusalem Post (18 August 2009), available online at Understanding the Goldstone Report,

11  Avi Shlaim, Israel and Palestine (London: Verso, 2009), p. 313. See also the conclusion of the Goldstone Report that “The Gaza military operations were, according to the Israeli Government, thoroughly and extensively planned. While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self-defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole. [….] Legal opinions and advice were given throughout the planning stages and at certain operational levels during the campaign. [….] [T]he Mission concludes that what occurred in just over three weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.” See “CJPME Response to Canada-Israel Committee Concerning CIC Allegations on the Goldstone Commission,” CJPME (December 2009),, pp. 1, 3-4; and Richard Goldstone et al., Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (United Nations General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Twelfth session, Agenda item 7, 25 September 2009), paragraphs 1883, 1893 (pp. 406, 407-08).

12  “CJPME Response,” pp. 2, 4-5; Goldstone et al., Human Rights in Palestine, paragraphs 36, 449-51, 465-88, 494 (pp. 18, 113-14, 117-22); paragraph 55 (pp. 22-23).

13  Goldstone et al., Human Rights in Palestine, paragraph 276 (p. 73); see paragraphs 270-80 (pp. 72-75).

14  Roth, “Right of Reply: Don’t Smear the Messenger.” In response to Roth’s rebuke, Cotler complained that he was himself being smeared by the suggestion that he was repeating Israeli government propaganda: see Cotler, “Right of Reply: False accusations in the mirror,” Jerusalem Post (15 September 2009),

15  Alan Dershowitz, “Double Standard Watch: Goldstone report is an ad hominem attack,” Jerusalem Post (27 September 2009),; Anthony Porretto, “Alan Dershowitz Responds to Goldstone Report,” Fordham Observer (9 December 2009), Cotler evidently approves of Dershowitz’s polemical tactics; he blurbed his book The Case Against Israel’s Enemies (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008), as “A must read for all who care about international justice and Israel’s survival in a world of biased enemies.”

16  “Kenney says some Canadian Arab groups express hatred towards Jews,” CBC News (17 February 2009),; cited in “CAF, Jason Kenney, and principles of government funding,” CJPME (Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East) (March 2009), In a radio interview on March 7, 2009, Kenney stated that he announced his decision to de-fund CAF to the bureaucrats of the Department of Multiculturalism on his first day in office as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism (January 4, 2007); see “Minister Jason Kenney’s History with CAF,” Canadian Arab Federation (9 March 2009),

17  Galloway’s talk, sponsored by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, was entitled “Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar.” The news that Galloway would be barred entry to Canada was made public in a story leaked to the conservative British tabloid The Sun, according to which he was “declared […] ‘inadmissible’ because of his views on Afghanistan and the presence of Canadian troops there.” See George Pascoe-Watson, “Galloway is barred by Canada,” The Sun (20 March 2009]), In the same interview in which Velshi used the “pee on our carpet” metaphor, he also declared that Galloway “falls afoul of numerous criteria in our immigration laws. [….] They involve everything from providing material support to terrorist groups, instigating the armed overthrow of foreign governments, engaging in subversion against democratic governments…” (“‘Infandous’ Galloway faces Canada ban,” Channel 4 News [20 March 2009], In this interview and elsewhere Velshi maintained the no less improbable fiction that the action of border security officials had not been influenced by the government minister to whom they report, Jason Kenney. For an assessment of the legal issues involved, see William Cook, “Banning Galloway Mocks Canada’s Criminal Code,” MWC News (9 April 2009),

18  Tanya Talaga, “Kenney has no regrets over cutting off Arab group,” Toronto Star (19 March 2009),; cited in “CAF, Jason Kenney, and principles of government funding.” As this CJPME fact-sheet points out, it is both unethical to make government funding dependent on agreement with government policy, and also arguably a violation of the legal precedent established by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1959 landmark case Frank Roncarelli vs. Maurice Duplessis.

19  Raphael Ahren, “Canada minister blasts ‘dangerous’ leftist-Islamist anti-Semitism,” (25 May 2009),

20  For the text of Kenney’s speech, see “Kenney Speech at Ant-Semitism [sic] conference in Jerusalem,” Soutenez Alternatives (16 December 2009), The speech as delivered included the wording quoted above; see

21  Marites N. Sison, “Funding cuts threaten KAIROS,” Anglican Journal (2 December 2009), For analysis of this funding cut, see Bahija Réghaï, “Policy and prejudice: De-funding Canadian aid projects,” Soutenez Alternatives (19 January 2010),

22  “Canada to withdraw its funding to UNRWA,” CJPME (21 January 2010),

23  “Canadian MP calls for UNRWA Accountability,” B’nai Brith Canada News Release (27 June 2003), Treasury Minister Vic Toews is reported in the Jerusalem Post as saying that $20 million (the amount given in 2009 to UNRWA) will be redirected “towards training prosecutors, judges and police and building up the Palestinian judicial sector.” Antonia Zerbisias notes that this “is in keeping with what Canada has been doing elsewhere, notably in Haiti. There, Canada has been building prisons and training police forces as opposed to the usual forms of humanitarian aid.” The aim appears to be to “help the PA [the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority] jail its political enemies”—who include, most distinctly, Hamas activists. See Zerbisias, “Canada redirects funding for UN relief agency,” Toronto Star (15 January 2010), agency; and Bahija Réghaï, “Canadian Policy: The Jerusalem Effect,” OpEd News (26 January 2010),

24  John Ivison, “Funding for leftist group to be cut,” National Post (5 December 2009),

25  See Elizabeth Thompson, “Group loses funding due to position on Middle East,” Toronto Sun (17 December 2009), Ben-Gurion University political geographer David Newman notes that NGO Monitor’s reports “deal almost entirely with a critique of peace-related NGOs and especially those which focus on human rights” (“Borderline Views: Who’s monitoring the monitor?” Jerusalem Post [30 November 2009], Cited repeatedly by Kenney’s office as a source, NGO Monitor has denounced Alternatives, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, Medical Aid for Palestine, Save the Children, Christian Aid, World Vision Canada, and the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada as promoters of antisemitic hatred—rhetoric which Michel Lambert, co-founder and director-general of Alternatives, has in turn called “ridicule, abusive et mensongère” (“L’anguille sioniste?” Le Journal des Alternatives [13 December 2009],

26  “Canadian gov’t denies KAIROS grant application,” NGO Monitor (8 December 2009, with updates from 21 December 2009), The KAIROS paper includes recommendations for a program of “Morally Responsible Investment” involving the exertion of shareholder pressure on international corporations involved in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as the promotion of Palestinian products and services—an approach very different from calling for general divestment—and it emphasizes “that KAIROS is not advocating sanctions against Israel nor a boycott of products from Israel.” See “Economic Advocacy Measures: Options for KAIROS Members for the Promotion of Peace in Palestine and Israel” KAIROS (7 January 2008),

27  Faced with mounting anger over his slandering of KAIROS (more than fifty news articles published on this controversy by 5 January 2010 are listed at, Kenney claimed that he had not accused KAIROS of antisemitism and that CIDA’s de-funding was not motivated by the views he had not expressed. See Jason Kenney, “Bev Oda cut off KAIROS funding,” Toronto Star (24 December 2009),

28  “Kenney Speech.”

29  “‘Anti-Israel is the new anti-Semitism’,” Jerusalem Post (16 December 2009),

30  “About Us,” CPCCA, This is an echo of the fourteenth resolution of the London Declaration: “Parliamentarians should return to their legislature, Parliament or Assembly and establish inquiry scrutiny panels that are tasked with determining the existing nature and state of antisemitism in their countries and developing recommendations for government and civil society action…” (ICCA,

31  “About the ICCA,” ICCA,

32  Murray Dobbin, “Will Harper criminalize criticism of Israel?” (19 November 2009),; Haroon Siddiqui, “How the Harperites are eroding one of Canada’s foundational pillars,” Toronto Star (10 January 2010),

33  Beyond listing the Steering Committee’s members (, the ICCA gives no indication as to its leadership. However, in the CPCCA’s Schedule of Hearings published in late November 2009 (, and also in the revised text of the CPCCA’s statement “About Us” published at the same time (http://www.cpcca/about.htm), Professor Cotler is identified as Chair of the ICCA.

34  Michael J. Jordan, “To Fight the ‘New Anti-Semitism,’ Jewish Groups Seek Global Strategy,” The Jewish Federations of North America (1 July 2002),

35  Ibid.

36  Ibid. Cotler published this essay, “Human Rights and the New Anti-Jewishness: Sounding the Alarm,” at the website of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute in November 2002. In that version, he backed away from directly equating the “new antisemitism” with “anti-Zionism,” “since not all critiques of Zionism are anti-Semitic” (

37  “The International Commission for Combatting Anti-Semitism-ICCA—July 2002,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (11 July 2002),

38  Jordan, “To Fight the ‘New Anti-Semitism’.”

39  Ibid. I have reproduced Jordan’s text exactly: he attributes the remark about “dirty work” to Foxman, but since he does not place the words in quotation marks, they may be his own paraphrase.

40  The February 2009 conference of the ICCA was funded primarily by the Rubin Foundation of London and by the UK Department of Communities and Local Government; see the welcoming speech by Sadiq Khan, MP, “The London Conference on Combating Antisemitism,” Communities and Local Government (15 February 2009), The announcement of the ICCA’s formation in June 2008 came from the U.K. Foreign Office, which said it would co-host the organization’s February 2009 meeting; see “Combating anti-semitism,” Foreign and Commonwealth Office (11 June 2008), It seems subsequently to have been decided that funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government would make links to British foreign policy less obvious.

41  “Min. Edelstein addresses Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (16 December 2009), The capitalization is in Edelstein’s text.

42  Ibid.

43  ICCA, “About the ICCA.”

44  Detailed discussion of the matters alluded to in the following three paragraphs, together with supporting evidence, will be found in the concluding chapters of this book.

45  The word “sophisticated” may perhaps be intended to imply that academic critics of Israel in the UK and elsewhere are disguising their real aims by pretending to be expressing concerns about universal human rights. Whatever their protestations to the contrary, these people must ‘really’ be antisemites—whose “sophistication” appears in the skill with which they try to conceal their deep desire to lash out at Jews, or at the “collective Jew,” the state of Israel. Claims of this kind are an intrinsic part of the ideology of the “new antisemitism.”

46  Thirteen Israelis were killed, three of them non-combatants. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 1,417 Palestinians were killed, of whom 236 were combatants; 116 of the Palestinian non-combatants killed were women, and 313 were children or adolescents. See “Rights group names 1,417 Gaza war dead,” Washington Times (19 March 2009),

47  See Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). The laws which should protect the people of Gaza, but have been made effectively inoperative by Israel and the countries which support its blockade (among them Canada, the U.S., the countries of the European Union, and Egypt), include the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 33 (which forbids collective punishment) and Articles 47-78 (which define the responsibilities of an occupying power.

48  “The extent and severity of antisemitism is widely regarded as at its worst level since the end of the Second World War.” CPCCA, “Frequently Asked Questions,”

49  “Antisemitism is being manifested in a manner which has never been dealt with before. [….] Antisemitism is an age-old phenomenon, yet it is always re-invented and manifested in different ways. For example, while accusations of blood libel are still being made against the Jewish people, instead they are being directed against the State of Israel, such that anti-Zionism is being used as a cover for antisemitism” (Ibid).

50  In December 2009, for the first time in recent memory, a direct blood libel appeared in the Canadian media. The manner in which this happened is instructive. In late November, a far-right-wing Ukrainian academic charged at a conference in Kiev that Israel had imported large numbers of Ukrainian children, murdered them, and harvested their organs. This foul accusation was noted by Israeli journalist Lily Galili, “Ukraine academic: Israel imported 25,000 kids for their organs,” Haaretz (3 December 2009), On the same day, Iran’s Press TV ran an article derived in part from Galili (although it endorses the accusation, it naively preserves her comment that the charge was made “at a pseudo-academic conference” which “also featured two professors who presented a book blaming ‘the Zionists’ [for] the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s, as well as the country’s current condition”). The Iranian article, “Ukrainian kids, new victims of Israeli ‘organ theft’,” Press TV (3 December 2009),, was uncritically republished by a bi-weekly Muslim community newspaper in British Columbia, alAmeen Post. On receiving a news release from B’nai Brith Canada on January 7, alAmeen Post deleted the article from its website and issued a partial apology, pleading its own lack of journalistic resources. This was followed by a full apology, “Poor Planning, Lack of Judgment equals Grief and Hurt!” alAmeen Post (12 January 2010),, which included a commitment never again to reproduce material from Press TV, a source now recognized as “not only controversial” but also “unreliable.”

51  A detailed analysis of the CPCCA’s claims is offered in my concluding chapter.

52  Audio recordings of their testimony, as well as links to their submissions to the CPCCA, are available at

53  Barbara Kay, “The rise of Quebecistan,” National Post (9 August 2006), The hallucinatory notion of Pierre Trudeau ‘flirting’ with the FLQ must result from malice rather than ignorance, since Kay has apparently lived in Québec since the early 1970s, and could hardly fail to be aware of Trudeau’s invocation of the War Measures Act in response to the two FLQ kidnappings in October 1970. Kay’s journalistic integrity has more recently been on display once again, in her attack—before troubling to read the book—on Giller Prize nominee Lisa Moore’s new novel February; see Stuart Woods, “Lisa Moore still ‘unreadably Canadian,’ Barbara Kay says,” Quill & Quire (10 September 2009),

54  See “Les décisions rendues par le Conseil [Numéro D2006-08009],” Conseil de presse du Québec (2 February 2007), (The phrases quoted from that judgment are in my translation.)

55  “Frequently Asked Questions,” CPCCA,

56  See Dawg’s Blawg: News, Views and Analysis (13 December 2009), One notable instance of slander by a senior figure in StandWithUs is discussed in the concluding chapter of this book.

57  The phrase, from one of Cézanne’s letters, was used by the philosopher Jacques Derrida as the title for a book, La vérité en peinture (Paris: Gallimard, 1978).