Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tore into British students Wednesday for joining the Boycott Israel movement, while a British official tried to cover up a government boycott action by promising a “commitment” to trade with Israel.
The National Union of Students in Britain voted Tuesday to join the BDS movement to boycott Israel. The move has little practical effect but is an important propaganda victory for the Boycott Israel movement.
The British government, along with France and several other countries, also have boycotted Israel by banning companies in their countries from staging an exhibition at this week’s seventh annual Israel Defense Expo in Tel Aviv.
Rob Dixon, Britain’s Deputy Ambassador to Israel, ignored the ban at the exhibition, as if it didn’t happen, and assured Israel on Wednesday that his government is against BDS and is “committed to advancing trade links” with Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a meeting with visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson, chastised the British students Union for joining BDS and said:
They condemn Israel and do not condemn ISIS; they condemn themselves.
Israel has an exemplary democracy. We have academic freedom, press freedom, human rights. ISIS tramples human rights to the dust. It burns people alive in cages and the national student groups in Britain refuse to boycott ISIS and have boycotted Israel. It tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement.
The Canadian government has vehemently denied a media report that it is considering applying hate crime laws against Boycott Israel-BDS sponsors.
The original report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s (CBC) Neil Macdonald has been called into question by Honest Reporting (HR), which said that the writer jumped to illogical conclusions in the article that was falsely headlined “Ottawa Threatening Hate Charges against Those Who Boycott Israel.”
CBC later toned down the headline to delete the word “threatening” because there was no such threat, except in the imagination of Macdonald. Honest Reporting wrote that Macdonald’s “animus against Israel is well-known.”
His story was clearly his own imitative and was written after he asked the government what exactly it meant by statements that Ottawa would show “zero tolerance” for those who promote boycotts of Israel.
The Jewish Press reported the CBC story here yesterday. The office of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney stated in a speech at the United Nations in January:
[Canada has] zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination including in rhetoric towards Israel, and attempts to delegitimize Israel such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
His spokeswoman Josée Sirois, asked by Macdonald what he meant and if Blaney intends to work against the BDS movement, e-mailed him that Canada has “one of the most comprehensive sets of laws against hate crime anywhere in the world.” She added that Canada’s Criminal Code applies to the promotion of hate against an “identifiable group,” which includes those of “national origin.”
After Macdonald wrote his article of the supposed “threat” to punish those who boycott Israel, Blaney’s office responded:
This story is inaccurate and ridiculous. These laws have been on the books for many years and have not changed…. We won’t dignify this bizarre conspiracy theory with further comment.
CBC’s “correction” insisted that the response “appears to contradict the email comments” by Sirois.
The Jewish Press wrote here yesterday that applying hate crime laws to the BDS movement would raise questions of freedom of speech, a supposed threat that may be exactly what Macdonald wanted to promote.
CBC wrote in its correction, “Those who support BDS fear that the change in the law could lump in people who speak against Israel with those who are anti-Semitic.”
Honest Reporting has asked CBC for some clarifications and charged the national media outlet with violating standards.
Concerning the original headline that Ottawa “threatened” hate crime charges against BDS promoters, HR wrote, “Can the CBC even cite one such example? The article itself does not contain anything to substantiate this charge except conjecture and Mr. Macdonald’s deductive reasoning, along with his forming conclusions based on some statements made by senior officials….
“In fact, Mr. Macdonald only says that ‘The Harper government is signaling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.’ This may or may not be the case, but there’s a marked difference between signaling intentions and claiming outright that the government has already ‘threatened’ those who boycott Israel.”
The possibility, if not probability, that Macdonald and CBC have an agenda to trump up charges against the government is supported by another headline, in a different article, that CBC had to change, according to HR.
The headline “McMaster students who boycott Israel among those who could face hate crime charges” was changed to “Are McMaster’s Israel boycott advocates among those who could face hate crime charges?”
HR said that “CBC adroitly changed the headline from a claim to a question and never did publicly disclose that the headline had been amended, a violation of CBC standards. The same violation occurred in the CBC’s failure to publicly acknowledge it edited its original inflammatory headline to Macdonald’s article.”
The pro-Israel Canadian government may be planning to include boycotts of Israel as a hate crime, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported Monday.
It said that such a move would target organizations such as the United Church of Canada, Canadian Quakers, campus protest groups and labor unions. It also would raise legal questions under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canadian Prime Stephen Harper is unarguably the most pro-Israel head of any government in the world. He sounded like an echo of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel last year.
Recently-retired Foreign Minister John Baird in January signed an agreement with Israel to fight the Boycott Israel movement, and government ministers have said they will show “zero tolerable” towards groups that are part of Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS). He described the Boycott Israel movement as “the new face of anti-Semitism.”
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney recently said that boycotts of Israel cannot be separated from anti-Semitic hate speech and the recent terrorist attacks against Jews in France.
CBC asked the government to explain the meaning of “zero tolerance,” and Blaney replied that Canada has “one of the most comprehensive sets of [hate] laws anywhere in the world.”
Last year, Canada changed its definition of hate speech to include statements made against “national origin” and not just race and religion.
That has raised fears among civil libertarians that anti-Israel remarks could be classified as statements against Jews.
The concept of associating Israel with Jews goes at the very heart of the liberal Jewish community, as well as Jews who have no interest in Judaism in Israel. Whether they like it or not, hatred of Israel and Jews increasingly makes them identified with Israel by the fact that they are Jews.
They can like it or not, but inevitably, “Jew” cannot be separated from “Israel.” They can like it not, but the “People of Israel” means Jews – everywhere.
The question is whether that definition has a legal standing.
CBC reported that the Canadian Quakers wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson in March “expressing concern” about describing boycotts as acts of anti-Semitism.
Blaney’s office did not specifically say that would be the case but noted that it is illegal to promote hatred against an “identifiable group.”
However, BDS protests in other parts of the world have been anything but violent, with frequent clashes with police such as in France.
In Israel, it is against the law to boycott the country
In France, hate speech as a crime includes statements aimed at people’s “national origin,” and BDS activists sometimes have been charged with violating the law.
Belgium is considering a similar law.
On paper, it would seem that prohibiting a group from promoting a boycott of a country – and Israel is the only nation that is targeted – because of its political polices is a violation of freedom of speech.
In reality, such protests are often like the Palestinian Authority term “resistance,” a code word to encourage terrorists to kill Jews.
Both Iran and its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, have been removed from the National Intelligence list of terrorism threats – the most authoritative document produced by the National Intelligence Agency.
Fox News‘ On The Record with Greta Susteren reported late Tuesday on information found in the unclassified version of the report, the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities 2015 (PDF), dated February 26, 2015. An annual report, this one was delivered recently to the U.S. Senate by National Intelligence Director Lt.-Gen. (ret.) James Clapper.
The document noted Iran’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners and de-escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.” Also noted was the fact that “Iranian leaders – particularly within the security services – are pursuing policies with negative secondary consequences for regional stability and potentially for Iran… Iran’s actions to protect and empower Shia communities are fueling growing fears and sectarian responses…”
The intelligence report added that Tehran’s “overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige and regional influence” have led it to “pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so.”
Whether or not Iran would choose to do so it still not clear, according to the U.S. intelligence assessment. However, if the Iranian government decides to go ahead, there exist no “insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon,” American intelligence experts concluded, most likely to be delivered via intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told Fox News journalist Greta Susteren that he believes the removal of Iran and Hezbollah from the terrorist list was not a simple “format change” as reporters were told at a briefing, but rather a deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to deceive the American public.
“What we’re having now is an Orwellian example of disappearing references to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah from the terrorism report,” Bolton said, during an exchange with Susteren on Fox. “This was a concession, I think, by the administration relating to the nuclear negotiation. You will not find it in the signed deal.
“How many other concessions has the administration made that are not in the deal — that may not even be related to the nuclear program — in this desperate effort to get a deal?”
Meanwhile, Iran is moving to widen its sphere of influence in South America, where its diplomatic ties are already strong with Argentina and even warmer with Venezuela, which has the largest reserves of uranium in the Western hemisphere, outside of Canada.
Photos that flashed across Fox News during a report by Susteren showed a heavily guarded facility that was set up in Bolivia in 2011, allegedly with Iranian backing.
“There are elements of that facility which is supposed to be some type of military academy,” Susteren reported, “but is very heavily fortified. And the suspicion is that it’s being used by Iran as a way to have a footprint in Bolivia” which she described as “not a friend of the United States.”
Despite the disappearance of Iran from the terror map in the 2015 National Intelligence assessment, Fox journalist Cathern Herridge also noted that “the documents, the photos and Congressional testimony show that Iran is really effectively expanding its influence into South America, into our neighbor.”
In effect, Herridge said, Iran is “creating a launching pad into North America.”
Bolton concurred in his own remarks. “Look, Iran has terrorist networks all over this hemisphere,” he pointed out. “Remember, three years ago, the Justice Department indicted senior officials of the Revolutionary Guards Corps for conspiring to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States in Washington by infiltrating through the Mexican border.
“I think this is just another example of Iran’s activities.”
Canadian authorities nabbed a potential terrorist before he could carry out a plot to bomb the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, CTVNews reported Wednesday.
Jhanzab Malik, a Pakistani national holding permanent resident status in Canada, also allegedly planned to attack targets in the city’s financial district as well.
He was arrested on suspicion of “engaging in terrorism and being a danger to national security.” The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is claiming Malik has a “violent and extremist mindset” but has not charged him.
The suspect was ordered to be held on “security grounds” pending deportation following an immigration hearing on Wednesday. He appeared via video link from Lindsay, Ontario; it is not clear why he is being held for deportation rather than being charged under the country’s anti-terror laws.
The CBSA alleged that Malik befriended and attempted to radicalize an undercover RCMP officer; he showed him videos of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) beheading captives. He also claimed to be a friend of American-born Al Qaeda imam Anwar al-Awlaki, killed in Yemen by the U.S. in a 2011 air strike, according to CBC.
Malik originally entered the country on a student visa in 2004 but gained permanent status via his wife’s sponsorship five years later.
The CBSA has been tracking the suspect for some time; in 2013, he was questioned by Canadian border guards and then by intelligence officials at Pearson International Airport upon arrival from Libya, where he said he had been teaching.
Malik also claimed during that questioning to have been visiting Saudi Arabia – but it is now believed he received weapons, landmine and combat training at a terrorist camp in Libya.
The government is working to pass a new anti-terror bill that is expected to put teeth into Canada’s law enforcement abilities. The country is still on high alert following two terror attacks that took the lives of two Canadian soldiers.
Montreal police have launched a probe into what they are calling a hate crime after residents of an apartment house found their cars damaged and death threats in envelopes with a bullet for each. The ethnicity and religion of the owners of the targeted vehicles was not released.
The incident, which occurred in the parking garage beneath an apartment building on Côte St. Luc Road, was clearly directed at the Jewish community, however — the neighborhood in which the incident took place is known as a “Jewish area.” The vandalism was discovered late Monday night when the smoke alarm in the garage suddenly activated.
Four of the vehicles were branded with swastikas, albeit painted backwards, sprayed in red paint on the hoods. Five of the cars “had envelopes on them, and on the white envelopes there were swastikas on them,” said a resident in the building who requested anonymity. CBC News agreed not to reveal his family name. “The swastikas were huge. They covered pretty much the majority of the hood,” he said. His neighbor’s car had a smashed windshield. On the ground in front of the car lay a hatchet.
“I’ve lived in Montreal my whole life… I’ve never seen this before first-hand, never been a victim of it and just to have it happen literally in your own home, it just left me speechless,” he told CBC Radio One.
One of the envelopes contained a bullet together with a threatening note, another resident told CBC News. Police collected the rest of the envelopes as evidence, before they were opened. “I’m just shocked. This is a hate crime and you never expect it to happen in your community,” the resident said.
“While the intent of the perpetrator cannot be absolutely determined at this time, given what is happening globally, the fact that swastikas are involved, that there were threatening notes and this is a Jewish area, leads one to understand that this was not just an act of simple vandalism but a crime targeting the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, chairman of the security committee of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
Although police have not released all the details, Poupko told the Canadian Jewish News on Tuesday the notes were attached to all of the damaged vehicles. “They said something to the effect that ‘this bullet is for you,’ “ he told the paper.
The garage has no security surveillance cameras and there are no suspects, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call 514-393-1133.