Antisemitic comments cause controversy and raise fears in USA and Canada

Sportswear giant Adidas announced that it was dropping its sponsorship of controversial rapper Kanye West (also known as “Ye”) following his repeated antisemitic slurs. The move comes a few weeks after another scandal here in Canada over alleged vicious antisemitic slurs by a well known Palestinian human rights activist. Both cases are very harmful to the cause of human rights for Palestinians. Read more…

Adidas has ended its partnership with US rapper Kanye West, saying it “does not tolerate antisemitism”, after the rapper was suspended from Instagram and Twitter over offensive posts.

The German sports brand said recent comments and actions from West, who has officially changed his name to Ye, had been “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness”.

West has a history of bi-polar disorder and erratic comments. He is a Black man who was a vocal supporter of Donald Trump during the last US election and lashed out against Black Lives Matter. In the most recent incident, he also threatened Jews saying that he was “going to go death con 3 (sic) on JEWISH PEOPLE” (a bizarre statement which most interpreted as a threat of violent action).

Adidas’ action took place in the wake of the growing public controversy and pressure as the value of its stock plunged.

The spectre of anti-semitism in Canada

Meanwhile in Canada, highly public allegations of antisemitic tweets by a little-known radical human rights activist (who apparently lives in Lebanon) have caused a minor political scandal for the Trudeau government which had given his organization funding for anti-racist work.

According to revelations by Jewish groups in Canada, Laith Marouf, a radical human rights activist, has publicly tweeted hateful remarks about Jews.

In one oft-cited (but now deleted) tweet, Marouf is alleged to have written that “Jewish White Supremacists” deserve only a “bullet to the head.” He also allegedly referred to Zionist Jews as “loud mouthed bags of human feces” who would eventually be purged from Palestine.

CTIP does not know whether Marouf actually made these remarks. But in a statement on September 22, Marouf defended his “right to be disgusted with genocide and supremacy (…) The right to offend our oppressors.”

Oppressed people do have the right to be disgusted by their oppression, of course. But a look at speeches by serious anti-oppression leaders, like Mandela, Arafat or even Martin Luther King shows that they never appealed to supporters on the basis of racism.

If Marouf did make these abhorrent statements, they should be clearly rejected by those working to promote human rights for Palestinians in Canada. If he did not make them, then those who have fabricated these allegations should be condemned, and perhaps pursued for defamation.

The incident is especially harmful to the Palestinian cause in Canada because it has put the Trudeau government on the hindfoot.

Pressures have been mounting on the government to include conditions about “anti-semitism” in government funding, and specifically to include the IHRA definition as a litmus test. The Canadian Radio and Television Commission has been backed into performing a review of its own funding programs.

The Marouf allegations have increased that pressure.

This is especially unfair because antisemitism is very rare among those who defend human rights for Palestinians. None of the leading Canadian NGO’s in the field have ever made racist remarks like those attributed to Mr. Marouf.

But unfortunately statements like those of Marouf and Kanye West provide ammunition to pro-Zionist organizations to claim, or imply, “this is what the Palestinians and their supporters really think”, thus raising alarm in the Jewish community and among Canadians more broadly. They lend credence to the Zionist narrative that Jews can only be safe if they have their own state. They also provide leverage to push state officials to clamp down even more on Palestinians and those promoting their human rights.

CTIP firmly dissociates itself from the kind of remarks attributed to Kanye West or Laith Marouf.

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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  1. I dont support any of those comments. None. Yet in the last two days we’ve heard a top Israeli doctor complain about wombs he doesnt like.
    Ye isnt going to change anything. Never was going to but now he’s burnt toast. The racist state of Israel is going to cause the death of many people every single day. Lets deal with ye once we’ve dealth with the real problem that is rogue states like Israel and the US. Ye is essentially irrelvant before and now. He’s a distraction for israeli crimes against humanity. And US genocide.

  2. “diffamation”? No such word. And it’s Laith Marouf, not “Laath”. I met him in the late 1990s when he was a student at Concordia U. where my daughters were also students at the time.

      1. Yes. The smears of Laith Marouf from the Israel lobby folks are typical of their usual MO. Laith Marouf was one of the most militant Palestinian students at Concordia U. when I met him there in the early 2000s. According to my daughter he was originally from one of the refugee camps in Syria. I can’t attest to the issue of whether he has made the comments attributed to him BUT I’m not easily swayed by the allegations of the usual suspects.

  3. The fundamental problem is that the real issues are never dealt with, because the power is with the oppressors, the perpetrates of genocides, destruction of countries and horrendous crimes they inflict on defenceless people, will find here and there a sentence or twit to divert attention, coverup and destroy the one who dares to bring them to light. No one with some authority or power ever tackles the crimes of U.S. or Israel.
    So we end up with a few courageous people who dare to speak truth to power, and being crushed. (This is not to say that what Marouf and K. West are fine with their statements. This is just a general comment).

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