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Israeli-Arab Politician Set to Speak at Venues with Antisemitic Histories

Israeli-Arab Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas is set to address two Ontario organizations with a history of promoting antisemitism and anti-Israel conspiracy theories.

This evening, Ghattas will appear before the Canadian Arab Society in London, Ont. The Canadian Arab Society’s official Facebook page claims, among other things, that Israel is exporting oil on behalf of ISIS and that the Jewish State staged the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.

Thursday evening, Ghattas is scheduled to speak at Beit Zatoun, a Palestinian cultural centre in Toronto that hosted notorious antisemite Ken O’Keefe in April. Although O’Keefe’s speaking engagement was widely and publicly condemned by B’nai Brith Canada and other human rights organizations, Beit Zatoun declined to comment or apologize.

“Ghattas, an Arab Member of Knesset who was democratically elected in Israel, is aligning himself with groups that promote antisemitism in Canada,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.

Ghattas is no stranger to controversy, even in Canada. Last Thursday, he addressed the World Social Forum in Montreal, an event which had been widely denounced as antisemitic and suffered a loss of federal government support as a result. In his speech, which was monitored and recorded by B’nai Brith, Ghattas took pride in comforting the families of Palestinian terrorists, falsely claimed that a third of Israel’s cabinet consists of “settlers,” and advocated a wholesale boycott of Israel, with no distinction between Israel proper and territories east of the Green Line.

“Ghattas advocates for the wholesale boycott of Israel, despite the fact that the Canadian Government opposes such demonization of the Jewish State,” Mostyn added. “Ghattas, in his role as an elected Israeli official, is visiting Canada and promoting a discriminatory concept that is counter to Canadian public policy. There is no room for an Israeli Member of Knesset to be speaking at venues that have a history of supporting antisemitism. This is absolutely unacceptable, and we call on Ghattas to cancel the planned speeches, and for the Government of Canada to speak out against him and his divisive message, if he refuses to do so.”

York Centre MP Michael Levitt, Chair of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Group, told B’nai Brith, “I’m extremely disappointed to learn that Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas participated in BDS sessions last week at the World Social Forum, and that he continues to engage in divisive dialogue in our country that seeks to vilify and delegitimize the State of Israel rather than advocating for the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. The Prime Minister, the Government of Canada, and the Canadian Parliament have been very clear that we oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and that antisemitism is never acceptable.”

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