After a condemnation from B’nai Brith following a notorious Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist’s lecture at the University of Toronto’s JJR Macleod Auditorium on April 29, 2016, the university responded by banning Modern Knowledge, the promotional group which brought O’Keefe to campus, from booking any halls or venues on campus in the future.
During the April 29 lecture, O’Keefe told a crowd of several hundred that “Jews control the corporate world, the bank sector, Hollywood, the mass media, the Supreme Court, the courts system, the financial system and the political system”. He claimed that challenging the “Holocaust narrative” will “make you go to prison”, that the “Holocaust myth” was invented by Jews in order to “steal Palestine from the Palestinians”, and that Jews were responsible for John F. Kennedy’s assassination and were behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Following the announcement from U of T that Modern Knowledge has been banned, Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith – the Canadian chapter of the oldest Jewish service organization in the world – issued a statement thanking the university for reiterating its commitment to combating anti-Semitism and all forms of racism from campus and adding: “Our Annual Audit of anti-Semitic Incidents has demonstrated that anti-Semitism remains a serious thorn in Canada’s fabric of tolerance and multiculturalism, and university campuses have become a primary location for the expression of anti-Semitic sentiments. We look forward to continuing our work with the University of Toronto and other Canadian universities in order to keep Jewish students and faculty safe and sound.”
One day before spreading Holocaust-denying propaganda at U of T, O’Keefe spoke at Beit Zatoun, a hotbed of radical Palestinian activism in Toronto, who on their website touted his “achievements”, including the conspiracy theory that the Mossad was directly responsible for 9/11 and for claiming to have disarmed two Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish boat filled with radical anti-Israel activists who unsuccessfully tried to break through a legal (according to the UN) blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel to prevent arms smuggling to Hamas. Outside Beit Zatoun, approximately 30 members of Jewish Defence League of Canada confronted O’Keefe by staging a vocal but peaceful protest.