Islamophobia and anti-Arab Racism Are Unacceptable in all their Forms
Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) has been monitoring posts on the “Never Again Canada” Facebook page since last February, when Islamophobic and libellous attacks against a Palestine solidarity activist and the President of York University were first posted there. We have seen with increasing concern that the page has been growing in popularity, and we are disturbed by the Islamophobic and anti-Arab hatred casually expressed by both the site administrators and those who leave comments on the page.
The people who created this page accuse those who participate in the growing international BDS movement—whose aim is to pressure Israel to abide by international law and respect the rights of Palestinians—of being haters of Jews and “terrorists”. According to their Mission Statement, “Never Again Canada Is dedicated to exposing all those who hate the Jewish people and hide behind the Islamic Terror Proxies like the BDS movement which targets the only Jewish state, Israel.”
The Never Again Canada Facebook page is run as a promotion of the state of Israel, including typical Israeli propaganda and appeals to readers to buy Israeli products. Never Again Canada also appears to be closely aligned to the Jewish Defense League of Canada (JDL), partnering with them in protests, and posting the JDL’s hate. As the JDL does not have a Facebook page, Never Again Canada’s page may be used as a front for JDL’s Facebook activities. JDL’s national director Meir Weinstein frequently makes similar posts to his personal page.
The JDL is an offshoot of the ultra-nationalist and banned Israeli group Kach. It is important to note that the JDL’s American branch was labeled as a “right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI. The JDL’s Canadian branch has directly supported the English Defense League—a white supremacist organization with neo-Nazi organizational connections. While the Never Again Canada Facebook page appears to be run by Jewish-Zionist extremists, its commenters include what appear to be white supremacists and ordinary Canadians.
We feel that the Never Again Canada Facebook page is an all-too-accurate reflection of the profound hatred of Arabs commonly expressed in Israeli society and enthusiastically promoted by many leading Israeli politicians. In our view, the views expressed on this Facebook page play an important role in the frightening growth of Islamophobia throughout the western world. It appears that certain members of the Zionist community are importing the rampant degree of racism in Israeli society into Canada.
Hatred of Muslims, Arabs and refugees has no place in Canadian society. Such views are abhorrent, regardless of who spouts them. As Canadian Jews, we feel a particular obligation to speak out against them in light of our own relatives’ experience with being the targets of vilification and discrimination.
IJV believes that it is important for bigots in Canada to be exposed and for the voicing of this kind of distortion and hatred to be actively opposed. While we cannot take credit for the tumblr page that has been created to document some of the outrageous statements that have been posted to the Facebook page of Never Again Canada, we greatly appreciate the effort that has gone into putting it together.
We call on the self-appointed leaders of the mainstream Jewish community in Canada to outright condemn the Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism of Never Again Canada, the JDL, and the Israeli government. In the past, organizations such as the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), B’nai Brith and Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies have been silent, refusing to condemn the JDL’s behaviour as racist and inciting hatred and violence. These organizations have been entirely silent about Never Again Canada, and of course, about the incitement to hatred and violence by Israeli politicians and leaders.
Now is the time for Canadians of all backgrounds to speak up and oppose Islamophobia and racism in all their forms. We invite the mainstream Jewish community organizations to join us.