Why is it OK to deny the existence of Palestinians in Canada?

Honest Reporting Canada map erasing Palestinian existance

Canadian Zionists regularly seek to erase Palestinians’ very existence but charge antisemitism if a Palestinian employs harsh rhetoric to decry supporters of Israeli colonialism.

On campuses today, hatred against Israel is out in force”, tweeted Avi Benlolo, former head of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) Canada. “AGPIworld.com continues to monitor the situation and get reports from students. This picture is from Guelph University in Ontario taken moments ago. We need government to step in.”

Benlolo linked to a photo with a Palestinian flag draped over a table. The long-time head of Canada’s third most important Israel lobby group, Benlolo gives talks to police on antisemitism. A registered charity, FSWC has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government contracts over the years.

Honest Reporting Canada (HRC) also responded to a Toronto Star story about a Palestinian artist by mocking Palestinians’ existence. Linking to a fantasy map, HRC tweeted, “Where is ‘Palestine’ located? Below Narnia, with Whoville at its south, Middle Earth to its west and to the southeast of Neverland! Meaning, there is no internationally recognized State of Palestine.”

After many complaints Twitter temporarily suspended HRC’s account over its anti-Palestinian tweet. But Canadian media regularly publish HRC material and respond to the registered charity’s outlandish criticism.

In November the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF) is hosting a conference titled “RISE UP Ottawa!” As Paul Salvatori recently noted, the Toronto-based charity denies Palestinians’ existence. In an April letter they wrote, “there has NEVER been a country called Palestine and the word was only applied to the Arabs in the land after 1964, but they are not a distinct people.” On their site CAEF states, “the Arab Palestinian ‘narrative’ is a concocted history, one which has appropriated Jewish history, and is ideologically based without any supporting evidence. There are no ancient ‘Palestinian’ artifacts in the land of Israel, no evidence of any such state.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, “the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada”, is co-sponsoring CAEF’s event. Justin Trudeau’s Special Envoy on Antisemitism, Irwin Cotler, is also scheduled to speak.

Canadian Zionists are constantly denying Palestinians’ existence. By referring to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria” groups such as Christian Friends of Israeli Communities effectively deny Palestinians the right to a state on even 22 percent of their historic homeland. Jewish National Fund (JNF) educational materials and their maps of “Israel” on Blue Boxes distributed to Canadian school children also encompass the West Bank and Gaza.

Dozens of registered charities, which can provide tax credits to donors, contribute directly to erasing Palestinian existence. Canadian Friends Yeshivat Har Etzion, which is located in the illegally occupied settlement of Alon Shvut, directy enables Israeli colonization of the West Bank. So does the registered charity Canadian Friends Of Yeshivath Birkat Moshe-Maaleh Adumim, which supports a religious school in the West Bank colony of Ma’ale Adumim. It was established by Montreal-born and raised rabbi Nahum Rabinovitch who in 1996 called for planting roadside bombs if Israeli soldiers sought to remove settlers from the West Bank.

Other registered charities support an Israeli military obstructing Palestinian statehood. Established “to recognize and honor the contribution of Lone Soldiers to Israel”, the HESEG Foundation provides scholarships and other forms of support to Torontonians, New Yorkers and other non-Israelis (Lone Soldiers) who join the IDF. It’s not only Heseg that supports the Israeli military. The Jewish National Fund of Canada, Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin and Beit Halochem Canada aid the IDF. The Canadian Zionist Cultural Association (CZCA) has allocated millions of dollars to initiatives supporting IDF soldiers. Until a formal complaint was instigated, an IDF website named CZCA as one of six international organizations “authorized to raise donations for the IDF.”

As significant sums of public money — through direct grants or tax write offs — flow to groups that explicitly deny Palestinian existence or contribute to erasing it, Canada’s conservative media has gone into a tizzy over funding for the Community Media Advocacy Centre. The reason is that the organization’s main spokesperson, Laith Marouf, repeatedly employed harsh, violent, rhetoric against Israel supporters on Twitter. While a number of Marouf’s tweets are objectionable, contrasting the media’s response towards Marouf and those erasing Palestinian existence is illuminating. A search of the National Post database found 27 stories that mentioned Marouf between August 20 and September 11. There wasn’t a single article about Zionists mocking Palestinian existence during this period and the paper doesn’t appear to have ever published a story about registered charities assisting West Bank colonies or the occupation army.

Apparently, it’s okay to openly erase the Palestinian people and their country, promised by the United Nations and governments around the world, including Canada.

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