Senator Linda Frum launched a vicious attack on Hassan Yussuff, a retired Canadian labour leader, only a day or two after he was named to the Canadian Senate by Justin Trudeau, claiming that he hates Jews. “This is Trudeau’s Canada: a place where Jew-hatred is becoming normalized and loathing of a democratic ally, Israel, is becoming mainstreamed,” claimed Frum for whom criticism of Israel appears to be proof of anti-Semitism. Read more…
A few weeks before the upcoming “Summit on antisemitism” , Senator Linda Frum has given Canadians an inkling of what can be expected from it – more condemnation of anybody who criticises Israel. She attacked Trudeau’s senate appointee Hassan Yussuff, a retired president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), claiming that “in Trudeau’s Canada, Jew-hatred is becoming mainstreamed”. Frum offered NO evidence of anything Yussuff has ever said or done to prove any anti-semitic sentiments. Her only justification appears to be that Yussuf was the president of an influential national organization which dared to criticise Israel.
In an email sent to the Canadian Jewish News (CJN), Frum pointed to two CLC tweets which she said support her view that Yussuff hates Jews.
One CLC tweet, sent during the most recent murderous Israeli bombing campaign on Gaza, called on the government “to condemn excessive violence by Israeli forces and call for an end to (the) occupation.”
A second CLC tweet repeated the CLC’s well known opposition to a bill before Ontario’s legislature last year that incorporated the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.
Frum told CJN that the tweets ““contain the pro-BDS (anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions) sentiments of Yussuf”.
Frum’s logic – Criticising Israel = Jew hating
So there you have it in a nutshell, according to Frum. Yussuff is a “Jew-hater” because as head of Canada’s largest labour organization, he spoke out to oppose excessive Israeli violence, and against a definition of anti-Semitism which includes anything critical of Israel. And because she feels sure he had anti Israel “sentiments”.
On that score Frum will no doubt also condemn many other people as anti-Semites including UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk because of his most recent report to the UN alleging that Israel is committing war crimes in the West Bank and all the 14 Church and religious leaders who wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau last May urging him to oppose the expulsion of Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem.
Somebody should apologize… but who?? Trudeau or Frum?
Alleging anti-semitism is a serious charge. If Frum has any evidence to back up her claim that Yussuff is in fact a hatefilled anti-Semite, she should bring it forward. If it is found to be true, Trudeau should be criticized for another failure in vetting, and he should apologize.
But if Frum doesn’t have any such evidence, then SHE should apologize – to Yousef, to Trudeau and to the Canadian public. It might even be wise for her to do so. If she had made her comments in the Senate Chamber she would have been protected by parliamentary privilege. But since she made them on Twitter, it is not clear whether she would have that protection if Yussuff should decide to pursue her for slandering him.
In either case, the anti-semitism summit should not be an excuse to attack those who would criticize Israel for its continual violation of the human rights of Palestinians.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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