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Role of registered charities in anti-Israel rallies being questioned

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The annual Al Quds Day march took over University Ave. in downtown Toronto on April 30.  “I’m glad that it wasn’t as bad as it’s been in years past, but that doesn’t take away from just how bad it actually still was,” said CIJA vice-president Noah Shack. (Screencap: Toronto99News)

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Having finally attracted the glares of Toronto politicians and the glare of media attention with their dry-run the week before, GTA-area organizers dialed back the violent Al Quds Day antisemitic rhetoric on April 30, while maintaining the pro-Palestinian message of hate against Jews and Israel.

As B’nai Brith Canada explained, “Al-Quds Day was created in 1979 by the Islamic Regime in Iran and calls for the complete destruction of Israel. Al-Quds Day events in Canada have become a notorious forum for the promotion of antisemitism, terrorism and even calls for genocide. At the 2014 Toronto iteration of the event, Moulana Zaki Baqri called for “Yahoodi,” i.e. Jews, to be “dismantled.” In 2013 and 2016, speakers called for Israelis to be shot.”

Media coverage largely promoted the narrative that the Al Quds rally last Saturday turned out to be nothing to worry about. CBC Radio was especially dishonest on this point, as Mike Fegelman of Honest Reporting Canada explained:

“… instead of providing context to its listeners about the toxic agenda and bigoted statements made by past and present participants, CBC presented the rally as being benign in nature and ignored the serious concerns of Canada’s Jewish and pro-Israel community… No mention was made about how, for example, Mayor John Tory and Police Chief James Ramer, have both expressed zero tolerance for intimidation, harassment, and hate at the Al Quds Day rally… No mention was made about how this rally featured calls for “Intfidadas,” and reportedly carried antisemitic statements claiming that “Zionism is racism”.

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“I’m glad that it wasn’t as bad as it’s been in years past, but that doesn’t take away from just how bad it actually still was,” CIJA vice-president Noah Shack told CJN, who told the newspaper there was an apparent effort to mute the angry tone this year. “I’m glad that it didn’t include the kind of vitriolic calls for violence that we’ve seen in the past, or the dehumanization at levels that we’ve seen in the past.”

Taking the initiative, B’nai Brith took aim at the organizers and coordinators of the mullah-inspired annual march – and found support on Parliament Hill.

In a formal complaint sent to Canada Revenue Agency, B’nai Brith Canada reported it obtained a list used by Al-Quds Day organizers of the five mosques that were used as pick-up locations for people traveling to the Toronto rally by bus. “Four of the five mosques involved operate as registered charities and some have also had clergy attend and deliver speeches at previous Toronto rallies,” said the human rights organization. “Three of the five mosques have been the subject of prior complaints by B’nai Brith to the CRA over apparent antisemitic or pro-terrorist conduct…”

“As they marched around Nathan Philips Square, they chanted “Long live the intifada!”… In addition, protesters chanted, We heed your call, oh Nasrallah! in reference to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, a designated terrorist entity in Canada.”

“The ongoing impunity for religious charities that breach the conditions of their charitable status is unacceptable and against public policy,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Canadian taxpayers must not be forced to subsidize the promotion of hatred against Jews or Israelis and glorifying acts of terrorism, via our charities system.”

Yet another registered charity, at the forefront of anti-Israel protests, may also be heading for the radar of CRA.

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For two years B’nai Brith sent warnings to officials in Ottawa about Canada having admitted a PFLP member across our border. It fell on deaf ears. On April 28, Terry Glavin exposed the Khaled Barakat scandal in the National Post and ears perked up.

Barakat is a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist entity in Canada. It was established in 1967 as an armed Marxist-Leninist movement. In the description of the PFLP on the currently listed terrorist entities of Public Safety Canada, it says: “In 2014, the PFLP claimed responsibility for a November gun and knife attack at an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in West Jerusalem that killed 6 people.” The sixth victim, Toronto-born Rabbi Chaim “Howie” Rothman, lingered in an incapacitated state for almost a year before passing. 

Barakat emerged as a Palestinian student activist in 2004 in Vancouver, after being deported from the US. He is barred from both the US and Germany, yet Glavin describes how “Still, for years now, Barakat has been appearing at rallies and meetings across Canada. He traveled to and from Europe several times as well.”

According to B’Nai Brith, “The PFLP’s proxy in Canada is the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, a group with which Barakat is closely associated… While in Canada, Barakat has published articles in which he calls for acts of international terrorism by the PFLP, targeting Israeli and “Zionist” targets beyond the Middle East.”

CIJA issued a statement identifying Samidoun as one of several anti-Israel groups that organized the antisemitic BDS rally on April 24 that led to the warnings from Mayor Tory and Chief Ramer against an Al Quds Day repeat. As a result, CIJA and B’Nai Brith were urged in a letter sent this week by Bill Narvey of Winnipeg to ask CRA to add Samidoun to its probe.

Originally from New Jersey, Charlotte Kates lives in Vancouver as the international coordinator of Samidoun and is married to a PFLP figure, Khaled Barakat. According to B’Nai Brith, “PFLP’s proxy in Canada is the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.” Samoudin was an organizer of a BDS rally in Toronto’s Dundas Square in April where chants included “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, “with our soul, with our blood, we will redeem al-Aqsa”, and “We are not antisemitic, you all sound so pathetic.” (Photo: File)

The National Post story reported that Barakat’s wife is Charlotte Kates, one of three directors on the board of Samidoun. 

Three days after Israel declared declared Samidoun a terrorist organization and “a subsidiary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Trudeau government allowed it to incorporate under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. 

The Barakat scandal was then raised in the Senate during question period on Tuesday by Conservative Senator Leo Housakos. He asked why Barakat is allowed to remain in the country, apparently having split his time between Vancouver and Montreal for the last 2 years.

“I am very aware of the person you described,” replied Sen. Marc Gold, representing the government. He claimed Canada has a ”robust system” to screen out inadmissible people, but he “cannot comment on specific cases” in the hands of the CBSA. 

Housakos challenged Gold about the government having ignored the B’nai Brith information for two years.

“The government of Canada takes the question of antisemitism and all forms of hate very seriously and has demonstrated that thru its actions… Canadians should remain satisfied that this government takes allegations of this kind and situations of this kind most seriously.” 

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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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.

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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!

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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