“In Trudeau’s Canada, Jew hatred is becoming normalised” claims Senator Linda Frum. Really?

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.

He has the courage to criticize Israel. Therefore he is a Jew hater??

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.

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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.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org

14 comments

  1. Senator Frum is, tried and true member of the extremist almost deranged Israel lobby, led by Bnaibrith Canada ( BB Bibi Bennet) who will accuse anyone from the,Prime Minister on down of antisrmitism and genocidal Jew hatred for the slightest criticism of Iseael and advocacy for Palestine. As the accused former CLC lead and Senator Yousseff serms to be of Middle Eastern Arabic heritage and possbly a Muslim Senator Frum is getting the national summits and antisrmitism and Islamophobia off to a controversial start.

    By the way Canada should be encouraged to reverse its decision to participate in the Durban process which sought to define interbational standards against racism where antisemitism and Islamophobia are serious sub or associated sets. Israrl lobby has prevailed against this beause some countries asdociated Zionism andxracism at the conference 20 years ago, even though there is nothing antisrmitic in the Durban final document. 20 yesrs on both the Uzn and promonent hunan rights organizations have accused Usrwrl of practising a form of apartheid against the Palestinians population. Certainly Canada should be present at Durban to rekate its own battles against racism which are currently very relevant in context of residential achools and Black lives natter. Bob Rae our ambassador to the UN and prominent human rights advocate should lead the charge at Durban, but he may have caved to the Isratl lobby.

    1. Hey George, thanks for writing.
      The Durban conference conclusion that Zionism (as practiced by Israel) is a form of racism was justified. But IMHO Durban was flawed because many of the countries which denounced Zionism were (and are) practicising racism against their own minorities.

      1. Thanks Peter. UN proceeses are seldom fully satisfactory to every one but still better to participate that boycott over 1 special interest.

        Do not think that the Durban conference made any conclusions that Zionism was a form of racism. Some delegations may have said that, but most nations did not. To my reading there was nothing in final documents about zionism as racism and only reference to Israel Palestine was to the right of Palestineself determination incudingl in a state of their own. The whole document was devoted to defining an interbational strategy against racism in Durban ten years after the end of apartheid (i once swam on a whites only beach in 1973 in Durban as a student touring Africa after a period in Dakar.

        My point is that the Israel lobby took exception to the nature of the debate about zionism and racism and successfully got a number of states to withdraw from the Durban process at the time and not to participate in its memorial 20 years later. This seerm totally wrong and self indulgent especially in current circumstances when.antisemitism and Islamophobia should be defined within a standardized sense of racism.

        Perhaps the,Israrl lobby’s own misuse of antisemitism charges against Israel critical Palestine rights advocates which could also constitute Iskamophobia and conclusions 20 years after Durban by HRW UN committees and other groups that Isrell Palestine writ large constitutes an apatlttheid system and total refusal of the Israrl lobby ro admit any rights for Palestiniians compared to Jews makes it imperative for them not to have us participate.

        Not even Mr Rae our amvassador to the UN seems to be,able to reconcile this situation.

    2. You erred on calling Bob Rae “prominent”. The correct term is “selective”. I will die with the embarrassment of once thinking highly of him as well as associating Erwin Cotler with human rights.

    3. We missing a point here. I dont think anybody is anti Jewish. There are millions who are anti Zionist who are occupiers of Palestine and in the process killing the Palestinian people left right and centre. Now let us address those issues first and not create a flimsy facade and adopt a stupid “anti semitism” slogan to mislead any body. The whole world are aware of the heinous crimes committed against in occupied territory. Justice is what the world is asking for. Anti semitism is as a result of the INJUSTICES.

      1. Hey Mahomed,
        Thanks for your comment. I wish it were true that “nobody is anti-Jewish” but I’m afraid it is not so. Anti-Semitism has a long history in Canada and still exists to this day. I agree with you that the extent of anti-Semitism is exaggerated, and other forms of racism, including Islamophobia, anti-black and anti-indigenous racism are more pervasive and more acute.

        I also agree that anti-semitism is in part fed by the actions of Israel. But I think we all need to make sure that Israel’s crimes are not used as a justification for anti-Semitism here in Canada. it cannot be accepted.

    1. Thanks Robert,
      But does she actually believe it, or is she just pushing the anti-Trudeau line?

      Believe it or not, I was once told by a very nice employee at the Jewish Community Centre here in Ottawa (where I am a member) that “Trudeau hates the Jews”.!!!

      I was flabbergasted, but I think the person who told me that believed it.

  2. Linda and the likes of her should be told that their actions are the ones which create and increase ill feeling against Zionists Never ending the use of “antisemitism” as a tool to shield Israel.

  3. I’m told that antisemitism is among the most common form of hate speech or activity in Canada, yet year after years no one ever seems to be identified as the culprits whereas anti-muslin,anti immigrant in general and anti Indigenous hate with culprits and victims are headlines nearly daily across Canada.
    Frankly, I blame Canada’s media for not only playing into this ruse, but going out of it’s way to stop or impede Canadians from publicly
    discussing the matter.

  4. It is such a contradiction when an intellectual Canadian who is reacting against historic bigotry against Jews embraces present day bigotry against non Jews that is officialized in Israeli government policy, and takes it further to viciously criticize Canadians who don’t agree with her.
    Senator Linda Frum, please think again.

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