Gila Martow, MPP for Thornhill, introduced the petition to her parliamentary colleagues on Monday, Nov. 18. The petition addresses the issue of Joel Harden, the MPP for Ottawa Centre who B’nai Brith recently exposed for having made statements demanding the release of Khalida Jarrar. Jarrar is a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist entity in Canada, who was arrested in Israel in late October under suspicion of “involvement in terrorist activity.”
The petition calls on the Ontario government to demand that Harden “publicly apologize for his statements, disavow Khalida Jarrar for her involvement in the terrorist group, PFLP, and denounce terrorism as a legitimate means of negotiation.”
The PLFP has been responsible for many deadly terrorist attacks over the years. The group was behind the 1972 Lod Airport massacre, which killed 26 people including Canadian Lonna Sabbah. In 2014, the group claimed responsibility for the gruesome Har Nof synagogue massacre, which killed five Jewish worshipers and a Druze security guard. One of the casualties in this incident was Ontarian Howie Rothman. As recently as the summer of 2019, the group was linked to the murder of teenager Rina Shnerb.
When asked to apologize and unequivocally condemn the PFLP, Harden instead doubled down on his support for Jarrar. Harden’s party, the Ontario NDP, has thus far declined to explicitly condemn his comments – stating merely that it “hope[s] for a peaceful and sustainable negotiated resolution to the conflict in the region, and a lasting peace that respects human rights.”
“Why an elected official in Ontario would seek the release of a leader of a terrorist group that has viciously murdered Canadians and Ontarians is beyond comprehension – and Harden must apologize,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “This is a serious matter, the PFLP is a terrorist organization with Canadian blood on its hands.”
Petitions of this sort must receive an official government response within 24 sitting days.