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Antisemitism hounds election campaign, while 48 candidates pledge to “Vote Palestine”

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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh raises the arm of Beisan Zubi, his candidate in KItchener Centre, at a rally held on Tuesday that was attended by managers of the pro-Iranian, pro-Hamas, anti-Israel Ontario non-profit ‘CD4HR’. On Wednesday, 2 NDP candidates were dropped over antisemitic online behavior. (Photo: Instagram)

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Post-debate, O’Toole and Trudeau seek momentum

The election campaign grew more personal and heated this after Justin Trudeau failed to land any big punches on his political challengers at the English language debate on Sept. 9. Bristling at being held in check by the debate moderator and finding himself cornered time and again by the other leaders for calling the $600M election during a pandemic solely as a power grab, Trudeau floundered on-camera as a result, especially in a poor response to APTN’s Melissa Ridgen. In the aftermath, he attacked the moderator, the debate format, and characterized a debate question about Quebec’s Bill 21 as “offensive” and “inappropriate”.

As noted by Global News reporter David Akin last Sunday: “The #LPC leader campaigned in the riding of Oakville tonight. Incumbent is the minister in charge of vaccine procurement. If you have to campaign to support her with 8 days to go — that’s not sending much of a message of confidence. #elxn44]”

In a resulting tactical move, “Trudeau has been sharpening his attack lines against Conservative Erin O’Toole” tweeted CBC’s Ashley Burke. “He is in the pocket of the gun lobby,” said Trudeau [Monday}. “He’s giving into his anti-vaxx fringe elements in his caucus.” 

The same day in response, O’Toole reminded voters, “when Justin Trudeau was partying — and we’ve all seen the photos — I was doing search and rescue missions. … We’ve all known a Justin Trudeau.”

Polling compilations generally showed the Tories continuing to hold a lead of around 2 points over the incumbent Liberals since the debate. The Hill Times reported, “Ekos polling revealed broad appeal for the Conservative Party from… a rare coalition of working, middle and upper-class voters concerned with “a government that keeps taxes low, deals with debt, and focuses on economics rather than social issues.” For those voters, Covid-19 does not override those core values.

Pollster Nik Nanos told the Hill Times, “The expectations were that the Liberals were going to steamroll to a majority government, and that Erin O’Toole was weak and that the Conservatives were in disarray. What we got is Erin O’Toole ploddingly getting through this election without making a lot of mistakes and exceeding expectations. And what could have been a Liberal juggernaut has not met expectations.”

Nanos also added that the various protests and demonstrations at Trudeau campaign events were not to be dismissed as inconsequential. 

“Anyone but Justin Trudeau benefits from this,” Nanos explained. “Erin O’Toole can get his message out, Jagmeet Singh can get his message out. Justin Trudeau can’t get his message out… Those protesters are punching above their weight.” 

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His media honeymoon might be over

In an attempt to build a new wedge issue, Trudeau took a sternly divisive approach last weekend, claiming “we choose the rights of Canadians who got vaccinated, he chooses anti-vaxxers!” He also claimed to be against labeling people as it is an impediment to “moving forward”, while in the same breath lumping “anti-vaxxers” as people with “misogynistic beliefs”.

As for the CPC approach, O’Toole told Global News, “I think we haven’t been doing a good enough job telling people how they’re safe and effective for use… there are some Canadians that have questions, you have to build trust. You aren’t going to build that trust by pushing people away, by attacking.” By mid-week he had refined his message for an audience in Russell, Ontario, saying that a leader who calls a snap election during a health crisis “is not a person you can trust.”

Trudeau also harangued the Globe and Mail for publishing a scathing excerpt from a new book by former Attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould in which she alleged Trudeau tried to influence her to lie to avert a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavelin for bribery and corruption. Denying he had “told” her to lie (which is not what she alleges happened), Trudeau continued to refuse to allow RCMP investigators full access to related documents. (By the end of the week, Trudeau had to answer questions about his own book when it was learned it was republished by a China-controlled company after his election as PM in 2015. “Former foreign policy and security advisers to the PM say they were not consulted on the arrangement, and would have advised Trudeau to reject the deal,” said a Globe and Mail story.) 

An increasingly sceptical press corps has rattled Trudeau since the debate, with him stumbling badly on Saturday after a CTV reporter asked him to account for the rise in hate since he became Prime Minister. The next day he was on the wrong end of an exchange as a sit-down TV interview on Global BC with host Neetu Garcha in Vancouver didn’t go according to (his) script.

The 12 minute discussion touched on housing, reconciliation, Quebec’s Bill 21, feminism and Afghanistan and he was challenged on many of his previous commitments going unfulfilled. As Garcha wrapped up the session, Trudeau interjected, “Wait – this is an election on big things that we didn’t get to talk about, we didn’t talk about the pandemic, we didn’t talk about climate change… this is what people care about in BC!”

Garcha pointed out that Global reporters across the country had been refused interviews about “a range of topics and you have denied the request.”  

Nothing that resulted from the federal Antisemitism Summit, or from the mouths of political leaders during the election, has convinced Jew-haters in Toronto to put down their spray paint. (Photo: Rafi Yablonsky)

NDP drops two candidates as antisemitism continues to flare

In the election battleground of the Greater Toronto Area, symbols of Jew-hate have continued to appear not only on election signs, but on public spaces. B’nai Brith Canada reported an overpass tagged with “Jews did 9-11” and a reference to an antisemitic media website.

The same tag, along with “Jews ran the slave trade”, was spray painted on a wall and posted on Twitter by Rafi Yablonsky, who directed his ire at political leaders. “We have a major antisemitism problem in #Toronto. This photo is from Knox and Eastern. @JohnTory, @fordnation, & @JustinTrudeau we need action and not just words to make real change”.  This week, Jewish on Campus tweeted about “Antisemitic graffiti reading “1488” (a white supremacist slogan) and “Israel did 9/11” next to a Star of David was just found in the library at York University. We call on @yorkuniversity to take immediate action to investigate this incident and protect your Jewish students.”

Meanwhile, Jagmeet Singh had to cut a couple of his supporters off the ballot in mid-week, with them “promising to learn more about antisemitism”.

In the first instance, a Toronto-St. Paul’s NDP candidate was confronted with a recent tweet about Israel. Sidney Coles, self-described as a “Human Rights and Equity Advocate”, is trying to unseat Liberal MP and cabinet minister Carolyn Bennett in a riding with a substantial Jewish voter base. Coles deleted her Twitter account Sunday night after Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies showcased her offending posts online Sunday morning. 

In late January and early February 2021, Coles was engaged with other Twitter accounts chiming in on a post that speculated “millions of vaccines in America” were missing. Coles leaped in: “They went to Israel”, and then a few days later responded to a similar speculative post, “Uh, I think Israel might be able to help you solve the mystery.”

In replies to subsequent comments in the threads, Coles stated: “I say Israel.” “They went to Israel” “They went to Israel. I keep saying this”. 

The NDP candidate in Toronto-St. Paul’s was forced to backtrack on claims that vaccines destined for the USA had been diverted to Israel. (Photo: Twitter)

Anti-Israel pledge garners miniscule support

Cole’s change of heart upon discovery of her online antics was evidently not enough.

“In the past I posted unsubstantiated theories about vaccine supply linked to Israel. These comments weren’t based on evidence,” she admitted, but were “a common anti-Semitic trope”, denying it was her intent. “(I) apologize and retract those statements. I will continue to stand firmly against anti-semitism, racism and discrimination in all its forms.”

Although the political mouthpiece of Jewish Federations in Canada, CIJA, accepted her apology, it wasn’t good enough for the NDP leader.

Also not good enough for him was the apology of Dan Osborne, running in the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland—Colchester where he was on the local NDP executive. On Oct. 7 2019, the then -16 year old Osborne had tweeted a question to of all people, Oprah Winfrey: “@Oprah Was Auschwitz a real place?”

The Liberal incumbent in Toronto’s York Centre, Ya’ara Saks, had retweeted it to Singh on Sunday but it took until Wednesday morning for him to react. Asserting the departure of Coles and Osborne were voluntary, he said, “Those messages were completely unacceptable and the right decision was made.” 

Left unaddressed is whether CIJA was even aware that Coles had also promoted of the myth that Israel is an “apartheid state”. 

In a tweet on May 16 directed to “All the white people” who were defending Israel during the Gaza war this spring, Coles insisted that Canada was itself, “the apartheid state we live in and seek Justice at home.”

Surprisingly, Coles was not among the 21 NDP candidates who signed a “Vote Palestine” pledge. As of Wednesday evening, 16 Green Party and 11 Communist Party hopefuls had also agreed, for a total of 48, out of over 1500 candidates on the ballot nationwide.

The initiative is being sponsored by five groups – including IJV Canada and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East – and endorsed by dozens of others, including the BDS Coalition, Al-Quds Committee Toronto, CD4HR, and numerous Mennonite Church groups.   

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East put out an election scorecard and gave the most pro-Israel party, Erin O’Toole’s conservatives, a big fat ‘F’, while grading Jagmeet Singh’s NDP an ‘A-‘. (Image: CJPME.org)

Reader pans pandemic politics

A reader of Thej.ca who is a first responder, was alarmed at the increasing hostility being advanced towards those who variously oppose mandatory mRNA vaccinations, vaccine passports, lockdowns, masks in schools or other ‘public health’ measures.

After a controversy about whether Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party of Canada was secretly behind a rally at Calgary city hall that drew a reported 1000 participants, he provided the following perspective:

There is a large contingent of vaccine hesitant healthcare workers here in Calgary. Many of them are naturally PPC Supporters. I wouldn’t call them (political) ‘shills’ … Every day I immunize People from all over the world, they all have different questions and concerns… and I’m nice to all of them.

The level of vitriol from vaccinated thugs is bizarre, many of them are far angrier at their former friends and neighbors than they are at the openly anti Semitic.

As recently as July 29, 2021 there was an article in CMJAnews quoting a spokesperson stated, “Alberta Health is running an awareness campaign for those who still have questions about the vaccines, noting, “we know that different people have different feelings and concerns about COVID-19, and that’s okay.” So how did we get to a place where the next step sounds like it might be, “Throw the unvaccinated into a pit!”– Let’s be kinder to each other, OK? There are people in the world who really do WANT to kill us. Focus the rage there.

Another reader, noting how mainstream media is promoting without question passport-style restrictions in daily online polls, and how they are perplexed why their news audience is rejecting those policies by large numbers, sent along this as an explanation:

“If you divide any society into two distinct classes of people you have abandoned liberty and democracy and replaced it with tyranny, fear and suspicion.” (Sky News Australia)

Related election coverage from TheJ.ca:

Canadian Election: Debates, Gun Policies, And “Dime-Sized Rocks”

#Election2021: Where the Canadian Parties And Leaders Stand on Israel

Trudeau appearance at Food Fare irks Winnipeg Israelis

Jewish Voters Eyeing Antisemitism In Federal Election Campaign

Confronting Jew-hate, support for Israel top of mind in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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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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