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Israel demolished a car dealership, but Hamilton NDP representative Matthew Green fell for activists’ claims the building was a Covid field hospital for Palestinians

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Matthew Green, an NDP Member of Parliament who was duped by an anti-Israel Covid-19 story, is a close ally of party leader Jagmeet Singh. (Matthew Green Facebook page)

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Canadian MP’s were the target of an email campaign in July 2020 falsely alleging that Israel had demolished a COVID-19 medical facility in Hebron, therefore denying Palestinians access to testing and treatment for COVID-19.

The email campaign was orchestrated by “Just Peace Advocates”. What do we know about this organization? 

The Just Peace Advocates website currently does not identify any specific contact person(s) or physical address for the organization under their “About Us” and “Contact Us” links.

Their website recently indicated that the organization’s “location” was on Queen Street East in Toronto. However, the address is really a UPS location. The location has been removed from the website, leaving an email address as the sole method of contact as of the writing of this article. 

The Just Peace Advocates Facebook page states that it is a federally incorporated not-for-profit in Canada. A federal corporation search sheds light on the organization’s history and leadership. 

The Certificate of Incorporation is dated March 27, 2018. Four directors are listed: Jonathan Kuttab of Manheim, Pennsylvania; Ali Mallah and Karen Rodman of Toronto; and John Philpot of Montreal. Articles posted on the organization’s website indicate that Kuttab and Rodman are the group’s co-founders.

What do we know about the co-founders? 

A June 16, 2020 article on the Just Peace Advocates website states that Mr. Kuttab is “a leading human rights lawyer and a Non-resident Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC. He is a resident of East Jerusalem and a partner of Kuttab, Khoury, and Hanna Law Firm there. He is the co-founder of Al-Haq, the first international human rights legal organization in Palestine, and of the Palestine Center for the Study of Nonviolence, and a founding member and director of Just Peace Advocates in Canada.” Osgoode Hall Law School’s website notes that Mr. Kuttab was a visiting scholar at the law school (located at York University in Toronto) in the fall of 2017.

Karen Rodman’s LinkedIn Profile indicates that she is the “Voluntary Executive Director” of Just Peace Advocates – as well as an ordained United Church Minister. 

Between July 17, 2020 and July 21, 2020, numerous posts were made on the Just Peace Advocates Facebook page falsely alleging that Israel had stopped the construction of and destroyed a facility in Hebron characterized as a “COVID-19 facility”, a “COVID-19 field hospital” and a “COVID-19 building”.

The posts include a digital rendition of a non-existent building with a large sign that says “COVID-19 HEALTH CENTRE”. 

  • A July 17, 2020 Facebook post encourages people to “Write a letter to Canadian elected officials even if you are not in Canada–urge them to insist Trudeau get on the phone to tell Israel to open the facility NOW.” 
  • A July 19, 2020 Facebook post invites people inside and outside of Canada to write a “letter to Canadian MPs”.
  • A July 21, 2020 Facebook post says “The Hebron Covid19 building was destroyed by Israel military today. It seems that Trudeau’s hypocrisy of boasting about how Canada would be there for countries around the world to fight and recover from Covid-19 does not include Palestine. Silence to the 300+ letters written.”

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The posts contain a now-inactive link to the US-registered actionnetwork.org website, which provided users with the ability to send an email to all 338 Canadian MP’s. On its website, the Action Network describes itself as a “501(c)(4) non-profit organization” that “trains and educates progressives about organizing and mobilizing with technology.” The website’s terms of service state that the terms are governed by the laws of the District of Columbia.

After Just Peace Advocates made the aforementioned posts, at least one MP fell for the false allegations against Israel.

On July 19, Matthew Green, the NDP MP for Hamilton Centre, tweeted that “Hundreds have contacted my office with serious concerns over the Israeli gov’s military stoppage of a #COVID testing centre in #Hebron #Palestine. I condemn this blatant disregard for human life during this pandemic. The order must be lifted and Centre built to save lives.”

On July 23, The Jerusalem Post reported that a car dealership near the entrance to Hebron in Zone C of the West Bank (controlled by Israel) was under construction without proper permits. The Post reported that the illegal structure was bulldozed on July 21, 2020.

A Civil Administration spokesman told the Post that “Contrary to the false claims, this was not a center for coronavirus testing,” and that “it was not a health clinic. That’s a total lie.” 

The Canadian non-profit Just Peace Advocates mounted a lobbying campaign at federal legislators, falsely alleging that Israel had stopped the construction of and destroyed a a “COVID-19 field hospital” in Hebron (Photo justpeaceadvocates.ca)

Also on July 23, the Israeli Embassy in Canada responded on Twitter directly to Mr. Green’s tweet, pointing out that the facility in question was actually in Silwan (part of Jerusalem), that lawful permits are required (as in Canada) to construct medical facilities, and that there are dozens of health facilities within a 5 km radius of Silwan providing COVID tests and treatment to anyone, regardless of religion or cultural background.

Mr. Green eventually deleted his tweet. However, the misinformation spread by his tweet may have reached thousands of people. After all, he represents a significant riding in a large Canadian city. Canadians expect that their local MPs, regardless of party affiliation, will not post information online that is demonstrably false.

It is abundantly clear that the Jewish community, as well as the pro-Israel community (consisting of Jews and non-Jews alike) in Canada, must remain vigilant against misinformation campaigns targeting our elected officials.

At the time of the writing of this article, the Facebook posts by Just Peace Advocates remain on the organization’s Facebook page.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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