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Iranian Foreign Influence in Canada Must End

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June 15, 2023

TORONTO – Fed up with the continued occurrence of Al Quds Day events across the country, B’nai Brith Canada is releasing the fourth installment in our video campaign demanding that the City of Toronto end these annual festivals of hate.

Originally inspired by the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, Al Quds Day has consistently become an inherently antisemitic event where activists openly celebrate members of designated terrorist groups and chant genocidal slogans calling for the destruction of the State of Israel, the world’s only Jewish nation state.  B’nai Brith previously launched a petition calling on the City of Toronto to follow the precedent set-in other jurisdictions by banning the annual hate fest.

This year’s rally featured a speech by Khaled Barakat, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated-terrorist entity in Canada, and a founder of Masar Badil. Barakat called for the liberation of Palestine, “from the river to the sea”, a refrain that has become code for calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. He also reaffirmed the connections between Al Quds Day events and the Iranian regime. Barakat not only expressed his disdain for the Jewish State, he used his Al Quds Day appearance as an opportunity to insult Canada’s prime minister and to forecast the imminent demise of Western civilization.

Al Quds Day events must no longer be allowed to continue to occur unimpeded, as they are representative of the efforts of the Iranian regime to spread its inimical influence across the globe.

As a country with a large Iranian diaspora and proud history as a leader in the solemnization of human rights, Canada is a natural target of Iranian foreign interference programs. Iran’s despotic regime is threatened by those nations that promote an ethos of freedom and democracy.

The Government of Canada has recently recognized that there is a problem in this country regarding foreign interference in our democratic institutions. While the Special Committee dedicated to this issue has so far focused on the malign influence and interference of the People’s Republic of China, we believe that foreign interference by the Islamic Republic of Iran should not be downplayed.

“The will of a foreign theocratic dictatorship is effectively being carried out on Canadian soil,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is unacceptable. The Government has made it clear that it will not tolerate Chinese interference in our country, the same concern ought to be applied to the Iranian Regime. 

“Year over year, the City of Toronto has neglected to assert the rule of law over the unsanctioned Al Quds Day events – the City of Toronto should be standing in solidarity with the Iranian people who yearn for freedom, rather than standing on the sidelines watching Iranian regime propaganda radicalize Canadians.”