In a series of tweets issued last Wednesday and Thursday, NDP MPP Joel Harden, who represents Ottawa Centre, said he was “Saddened, sickened and disgusted” by Israel’s arrest of Khalida Jarrar, who he called “my parliamentary colleague.”
Jarrar is a high-ranking member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist entity in Canada. She was convicted of incitement and promoting terrorist acts in 2015, but had since been released from prison until she was re-arrested on Wednesday, again on suspicions of “involvement in terrorist activity.”
The PFLP has murdered Israeli civilians since its founding in 1967, and has also killed Canadians such as Lonna Sabbah in 1972 and Howie Rothman in 2014. As recently as last August, a PFLP cell is alleged to have murdered Israeli teenager Rina Shnerb.
“It is appalling that an elected official would call for the release of a leader of what Canada rightly acknowledges as an antisemitic terrorist group,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The PFLP has a history of overseas attacks and has killed Canadian Jews before – so how can our community feel safe when politicians commiserate with a PFLP figure?”
Harden is an avowed supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned as antisemitic. Harden endorsed a failed attempt to have the federal NDP adopt BDS in February of 2018.
B’nai Brith sought an apology from both Harden and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, but had not received a response by 2 pm (EST) on Monday.