Robert Fisk: How on earth can Israel tolerate this filth from B’nai Brith Canada?

Four million Canadians carrying the anti-Semitic ‘disease’? We’ve heard this kind of despicable propaganda before

Share

Not long ago, I was handed the most outrageous, vile, dishonest and slanderous calumny uttered against the people of Canada. It was contained in a full-page advertisement in the National Post (founder, Conrad Black), a newspaper handed out – free, I’m happy to say – on my Air France flight out of Toronto. Here is the headline: “Almost 4 million Canadians are afflicted by this disease.”

Beneath this title is a half-page, very blurred and uncaptioned colour photo of a large crowd – they could be football supporters, rush-hour commuters in Vancouver, you name it; they are mostly white males but include women and with at least one dark-skinned man close to the camera. Beneath the picture, this incredible ad continues: “Left unchecked, it [the disease] can result in violence tendencies. Many times, those infected haven’t been diagnosed and may pass it on to their children, grandchildren, colleagues or friends. Please help stop the spread of this disease before it contaminates your community.”

This is frightening stuff, of course. Could this refer to some of the six million Canadians who may be living with HIV/Aids? Or the 4.5 million Canadians affected by arthritis? Or the 2.5 million Canadians believed to have diabetes? Or even some of the estimated 7.8 million Canadians treated for depression each year? Nope. This is far more serious. For the “disease” afflicting “almost 4 million Canadians” is “anti-Semitism” and this disgusting advertisement – published without comment by one of Canada’s leading right-wing newspapers – was produced by B’nai Brith Canada and the “Jewish Christian Alliance”.

“At the first sign of anti-Semitism,” this appalling ad concludes, “call the B’nai Brith Canada Anti-Hate Hotline…” In other words, this pro-Israeli Jewish group – whose exaggerations and hateful propaganda have been rightly condemned by Jewish Canadians – claims that four million of their fellow-countrymen and women are sick, racist neo-Nazis. What other conclusion are we supposed to draw if almost 9 per cent of the Canadian population is “diseased”, “infected” and “contaminated”.

Now let’s forget that B’nai Brith regards any criticism of the state of Israel – however justified, however mild, made by Jews and non-Jews alike – as anti-Semitic. Let’s forget previous protests by Jewish Americans against the organisation’s grotesque exaggerations. Let’s even ignore its equation of Palestinians with Nazis, a comparison that led it to publish a bowdlerised version of the infamous photograph of the wartime Grand Mufti of Jerusalem meeting with Hitler – the Nazi dictator was “moved” in the B’nai Brith version of the snapshot about three feet closer to the Palestinian so that Hitler appears to be almost sitting on his visitor’s lap.

And let’s not ask why the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, did not immediately leap to the defence of his own Canadian people when confronted by this disgusting statement of “disease”. For alas, Harper told the Israeli Knesset last January – while archly claiming “criticism of Israeli policy is not in and of itself necessarily (sic) anti-Semitic” – that condemnation of Israeli policies amounted to anti-Semitism. This included those who supported the boycott campaign against Israel or referred to it as an apartheid state. “On some campuses,” said Harper, “intellectualised (sic) arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students.”

“Sickening,” Harper called this. Yes, the Canadian Prime Minister himself was using the “disease” metaphor employed by B’nai Brith. And why not? Because there’s another reason Canadians can expect no protection from their own Prime Minister, who in his speech might have been a member of the Knesset rather than a guest of its members: Stephen Harper was awarded the “International Presidential Gold Medal” for “his commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel” in 2008 – by B’nai Brith.

But what, we have to ask, possesses Israel’s “friends” to publish this pernicious material about 4 million “diseased” Canadians? Does B’nai Brith Canada not realise that these very same despicable lies were used by the Nazis in their hate propaganda against the Jews of Europe? In Hitler’s Germany, Jews were described as microbes. Jews, according to Julius Streicher, were “the carriers of disease and vermin among men”. In August 1941, Goebbels called Jews “the carriers of infectious diseases” and two weeks later referred to Jews as “parasites”. By November, he was calling them “lice”.

But now, 4 million Canadians carry “disease”. Undiagnosed “infections” will be passed on to children and grandchildren. The “community” is in danger of being “contaminated”. If this stuff was not so revolting, it could be laughed off. It’s not just a question of how Stephen Harper can tolerate this garbage. How can Canadians? And – here I draw only on my own experience of visiting Israel itself dozens of times – how on earth can Israel tolerate this filth from B’nai Brith Canada? Disgrace is the word that comes to mind. And it prompts two grim thoughts. If this dangerous material is really supposed to defend Israel, then Israel must be in much greater danger than it believes. And with a Canadian outfit such as B’nai Brith and the National Post as its “friends”, Israel doesn’t need Arab enemies.

So, that’s what Isis has been up to

While the Iraqi army supposedly fights back against Isis, it’s worth remembering that the cities at either end of the Islamists’ new self-proclaimed caliphate – Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq – have historic links which precede the post-First World War Anglo-French Mandates that divided them with a Syrian-Iraqi frontier. I’m indebted to a short but enlightening monograph by John McHugo (chair of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine) which points out that “in 1919-20… the separation of Iraq from Greater Syria was still only a division between occupation zones. Aleppo had stronger links and greater fellow feeling with Mosul than with Damascus.”

Both, says McHugo, were cosmopolitan, merchant cities “which had been trading partners for hundreds of years, if not for millennia, along the Silk Road, and there was no natural frontier between them.”

It gets better. According to McHugo – a lawyer by trade, as well as an Arabist – Aleppo, “still at the time probably Syria’s largest city and certainly the country’s commercial hub, had retained its links with Mosul and Baghdad throughout the Mandate years. Many politicians from the city favoured Syria joining Iraq in a federation, or even a full union…” So there you have it. The Silk Road reconnected. Now we know why the Isis lads have been bulldozing the border ramparts between Iraq and Syria.

READ NEXT: The morning catch-up: a Battlebus poll, a surprising secrecy advocate and a majestic gaffe

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Liz Kendall  

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine