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Online pressure from Jewish Canadians - not from ‘Jewish leadership’ – sidelined Laith Marouf

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“This was the Titanic of bad hires: an avowed supporter of Hezbollah terrorists, of genocidal Assad, spewing Goebbels-like venom against Jews & calling to kill them—hired by the Canadian government to teach ANTI-RACISM,” tweeted Hillel Neuer of UN Watch. “This is a colossal, catastrophic failure of whatever departments and programs are involved. Something is rotten there—with whoever hired Marouf, then with that person’s supervisor, and then all the way to the top to at least one minister, @HonAhmedHussen or @pablorodriguez” (Image: Twitter)

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In a controversy that exploded on Twitter – forcing the corporate media to pay attention – highly accomplished professionals from the Jewish community cornered the Trudeau government into firing a Jew-hating radical posing as a legitimate media training consultant. None of them are among the ‘machers’ of the ‘organized Jewish leadership’ in Canada. 

In particular, telecommunications policy expert Mark Goldberg, Quillette editor Jonathan Kay, and Hillel Neuer of UN Watch – among many others – were relentless in piling up evidence the anti-racism expert Ottawa chose ”to build an anti-racism strategy for media” hated the Jews, the blacks, the French, the military, and pretty much anything else that the democratic western world values.

The Jerusalem Post identified the consultant, Laith Marouf, as a Syrian Palestinian, and unlike the mainstream media in Canada clearly explained the path he followed to get government funding to parrot hate as ‘anti-racism’- by wearing the cloak of merely being an anti-Zionist:  

After a Canadian government scandal in which an anti-racism program’s adviser made violent and derogatory remarks about Israelis and other groups, authorities suspended the program and cut funding to the adviser’s firm.

The public record of Marouf the instigator goes back to his role in a riot at Concordia University in 2002 to thwart an appearance by Benjamin Netanyahu; he was banned from campus for attacking security and using spray paint on walls to espouse his vile distortions of Israel. In 2017 he claimed “white Jews who adopted Nazism created Zionism.” His Twitter account had been suspended for his offensive baseless rants. Still – he was selected to influence Canadian media policy.

A summary from Jamie Sarkonak explained: “Telecom consultant Mark Goldberg first raised the issue in a blog post last summer, where Marouf is shown referring to a representative of the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres a “wacko Indigenous House-Slave.” Tweets preserved by Jonathan Kay of Quilette show Marouf frequently referring to “Jewish White Supremacists.” Marouf’s online activity points to a belief that Israel, the United States and the Commonwealth nations are apartheid colonies whose occupants must leave (His words: “Come get your garbage Europe!”).”

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It fell to Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen to try to tamp down the controversy after first pronouncing he was concerned about ‘disturbing tweets’ and having staff look into it. After 8 days Hussen was forced put his name to the announcement that the $133,000 contract with the Community Media Advocacy Centre was suspended. Hussen pretended not to know the organization was a corporate holding of Marouf and his wife Gretchen King, despite having been quoted praising Marouf when the Heritage department program – “Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting” – was launched last April.

As Neuer explained, “his response to the toxic hate of Marouf is to ask King and Marouf why they hired Marouf.” He also said, “The 🇨🇦 government gave him a $133,000 grant to build an “anti-racism strategy” for Canadian broadcasting. That’s like paying Jack the Ripper to run a women’s shelter.”

Kay elaborated further: “Marouf’s surreal career arc as a racist anti-racist also presents larger lessons about the manner by which benign-seeming progressive jargon can now be used as a smokescreen for truly toxic ideas and personalities.”

Hussen was thrust into the line of fire because the Trudeau braintrust was desperate to hide the role of the Heritage Minister actually responsible for the funding, serial Liberal screw-up Pablo Rodriguez. Since he is supposed to manage legislation (Bill C-11) to prevent online hate, the Liberal Party squirming over how Marouf – who has lived in Beirut since 2019 – and CMAC got hired by Rodriguez has only just begun. This is despite attempts by MPs and by some Jewish leaders to celebrate the weak, belated response of the federal government.

First on the list of Liberal MPs who played both sides was Anthony Housefather, who at first lauded the suspension of the program. 

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He stated on Twitter:

“Pleased that the contract with CMAC has been ended & that CMAC needs to account for its hiring of Marouf. But we need to also ensure that the Ministry of Canadian Heritage accepts accountability.”

But upon seeing that grassroots Jewish activists weren’t impressed that he was “pleased” and was apparently still unaware Marouf and CMAC are one and the same, Housefather rushed to the media to proclaim his own efforts to get Marouf fired were exemplary.

“Housefather told the National Post he first contacted the minister before the news was widely reported on in the media.”

Exactly what day did he hear of it and from whom? Had he heard of Marouf before?

This comment seems to support the contention that Liberal MPs only react to antisemitism within their government if they fear the MSM will make an issue of it.

“I said the contract had to be cancelled. I alerted him (Hussen) and I persistently communicated with the minister in his office, from the day I learned about it, until today, and aggressively demanded that action be taken… Action could have been taken more quickly.”

Exactly when did he contact the minister and how many conversations followed over those 8 days?

Housefather said he was “very pleased that the minister and his office had been collaborative with me but I believe that the action should have been taking more swiftly.”

If you say you fight Jew-hate in one breath and then kiss the ass of the funders of an antisemite for ‘being collaborative’ while they slow-walk firing him, you’re acting like a ‘go-along to get-along’ appeaser – and not as a real leader of the Jewish community. But within that caucus, Housefather was not alone in letting the community down. 

According to David Krea, “there are TWO different kinds of Antiracism. 1) Antiracism™ – Radicalized –>RACISM<– derived from Critical Race Theory / Intersectionality and Privilege Theory, which denies histories of ethnic oppression. 2) Actual Antiracism, rejects colorism and prejudice.” Guess which kind the Trudeau government throws hundreds of millions of dollars at? (Image: Twitter)  

On August 20 York Centre MP Ya’ara Saks tweeted “I have been and continue to work with colleagues, the Minister and department officials to ensure this does not stand. Stronger processes must be implemented to prevent future occurrences. “

Former Ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici repudiated Saks, sub-tweeting an attack from Marouf in which he claimed “three promenant Zios, incl staff at Isra UN embassy and ex Can ambassador to Isra are directing their dogs at me here.”

“And?” she told Saks. “I, apparently, am one of the “promenant Zios” directing my “dogs” at him. Do something. Now. And a public apology from your government is, I expect, forthcoming. I have no “dogs” I direct. This is your “expert.”” 

Len Almeida pointed out that Saks is Parliamentary Secretary for Families Minister Karina Gould, who “stood and applauded JT (Trudeau)” in the House of Commons when he called Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman, of all people, a Nazi sympathizer. He noted, “The social media tweets aren’t new so there must not have been a vetting process or any oversight.”

Rex Murphy amplified that point about “processes” in the National Post:

“If Mr. Kay, who doesn’t have the resources of a whole government department can search Twitter, how did you possibly come to hire this man? Who said Yes? Who examined CMAC? Or is all you require in such matters that someone merely says they are “anti hate” and the words alone are enough. Efficiency again.”

In a subsequent column he noted, “Slander, insult and actual hate against Jews gets a pass — until some truly extreme example calls attention to it. Try referencing any “marginalized” group as “bags of feces” and see how long any journalist, politician or ordinary citizen would last.”

Murphy did more to enunciate the problematic underlying issues than any Jewish “leader” I could find (more on that next week).

On August 24 Mark Goldberg provided proof that Pablo Rodriguez was warned in April that Laith Marouf was a dangerous bigot. Instead Heritage Canada allowed him to operate 3 of the 6 planned anti-racism sessions; at the UBC event he blamed Israel for the shooting of an Al Jazeera reporter and stated “This disgraceful media coverage is an example of racism in Canada’s broadcasting and we can see how media upholds white supremacy, genocide and colonialism from Turtle Island to Palestine.” (Image: Twitter)

It is precisely because Rodriguez had been publicly warned about Marouf months ago, that Liberal MPs contorted themselves to keep his name out of the headlines.

Goldberg said he “found at least 11 Tweets between mid April and the end of July that warned @CdnHeritage, @pablorodriguez, as well as opposition members @MPJulian, @JohnNaterMP, @KevinWaugh_CPC (among other MPs from both sides)… Have all the Antisemitism roundtables you want; go ahead and make all the apologies for past government wrong-doings. When presented with evidence of an issue, how many MPs stood up and acted? @AHousefather was the only one who responded and prodded the department. כל הכבוד”

Law professor Michael Geist – a fierce critic of Rodriguez rushing Bill C-11 through the House – offered his views on the Marouf funding and Goldberg’s revelations about it on Twitter:  “When the government launched its anti-racism strategy in 2019, @pablorodriguez was the chief architect. He’s still Canadian Heritage Minister but now insists it isn’t his file so has nothing to say about the program being used to fund an anti-semite.”

Geist also asked, “How does @pablorodriguez make online hate the focal point of his summer but say nothing when his dept funds an anti-semite to conduct anti-hate training programs? Tech regulation much needed but he seems lost on digital policy when issues more complex than just blaming big tech.”

He was then blindsided by yet another Liberal Parliamentary Secretary for – guess who? – The Minister of Canadian Heritage. Chris Bittle, a Liberal seat-warmer from St. Catherines who sees himself as a Trudeau caucus right-think enforcer, personally attacked Geist in a wretched example of the low quality of backbenchers Trudeau employs. 

“I’m the grandson of holocaust survivors who thinks it shouldn’t be too much to ask the Heritage Minister to say something – anything – about officials in his department funding an anti-semite despite multiple warnings” Geist replied. “Instead, the Parliamentary Secretary suggests I’m racist.”

The Heritage Minister was silent about writing a big cheque to a rabid antisemite to “teach” Canadian media on “anti-racism”. When Prof. Michael Geist dared to suggest Pablo Rodriguez was shirking his duty by not speaking out, he was smeared by the minister’s parliamentary assistant as a racist. (Image: Twitter) 

Bittle pretended to apologize last Friday, pleading that “Yesterday, in a moment of anger, I made an implication about @mgeist that was unfounded and inappropriate. I hold myself to a higher standard for the office that I hold and I apologize to Professor Geist. I have deleted the offending tweet.” By Tuesday, he was claiming “I got bullied by a bully and got baited into a tweet.” 

Geist told the St. Catharines Standard he never mentioned Bittle and doesn’t follow him on Twitter “and have muted his tweets for months… It was only after other Twitter users pointed to the tweet that I saw it… To claim he was baited or bullied by me is patently false.”

“Standard Liberal operating procedure,” tweeted Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun, “ @mgeist, professor and  descendant of Holocaust survivors, makes same criticism of feds Liberal MP  @AHousefather did re not moving fast enough to dump Laith Marouf, so Liberal MP @Chris_Bittle accuses him of racism.”

As David Mulroney explained, “As we learn more about Laith Marouf and his toxic views, we should be concerned about 2 things: that some in Heritage sympathized, and that others, sensing this, were afraid to speak out.” Bercovici, who pounded government officials mercilessly as the scandal evolved, added “We should also be mindful of the fact that these views are not limited to Heritage. Not by a long shot.” 

On Saturday night, Bercovici tweeted, “I’m gonna keep at it. We all have to.”

Jonathan Kay provided an important comparison: 

“something completely bizarre about this story. Six months ago, the ruling class absolutely lost its mind about a confederate flag on a truck. Now you’ve got the guy running anti-racism programs for the govt ID’d as a massive anti-Semite, and it’s like “oh yeah we’ll look into it”

On Monday evening, a former (Jewish) Liberal MP spoke out in bitter disappointment. 

Looking back on events over the last week w/ regards to Marouf affair, I’m utterly disheartened,” tweeted Michael Levitt, CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal. “Taking a stand against antisemitism should be a given & yet so few of my former Liberal colleagues have done so. This truly hurts. Jewish MPs shouldn’t be left to call this out alone.”

That’s what the Jews of Canada are up against. 

Coming next: Responses from CIJA, B’Nai Brith and other Canadian Jewish organizations and leaders to our questions, and a review of how they handled the Marouf scandal.

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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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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