An online petition asking the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to deny entry to an American Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist has garnered more than 2,000 signatures to date.
Circulated by B’nai Brith Canada, the petition asks the CBSA to bar Kevin Barrett from speaking at the annual Al-Quds rally at Queen’s Park in Toronto, which is slated for June 24.
It’s “a bid to protect Canada from foreign hatemongers,” said B’nai Brith.
Barrett left his teaching position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006, after he supported the notion that the Sept. 11 attacks were an “inside job” coordinated by the U.S. and Israel, B’nai Brith wrote in a press release.
“Since then, Barrett has repeatedly questioned the murder of six-million Jews by Nazi Germany and its allies during the Holocaust. Barrett has also argued that widespread Holocaust denial in Muslim countries such as Morocco somehow confirms that the Holocaust was fabricated to promote ‘self-serving Zionist assertions,’ ” B’nai Brith stated.
“This is both outrageous and unacceptable,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “Inviting a notorious Holocaust denier to this event demonstrates once and for all that Al-Quds Day is not a mere ‘anti-Israel’ event, but rather a hate rally designed to demonize and denigrate Canada’s Jewish population.
“Toronto police must not allow Queen’s Park, our provincial legislature, to become a platform for Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, and the CBSA must not allow Kevin Barrett into our country. Enough is enough.”
According to B’nai Brith, Barrett was barred from entering Canada in 2015 for having stated that the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, which resulted in the deaths of 12 people, was a “false-flag” operation.
In a statement to The CJN, CBSA spokesperson Nicholas Dorion said that while the agency “will not speak to specifics of any one case or file, we can tell you that the Canada Border Services Agency takes its border and national security responsibilities very seriously. The safety and protection of Canadians are the CBSA’s top priorities.
“All persons, including Canadian citizens, seeking entry to Canada must present to the CBSA and may be subject to a more in-depth exam. All persons must demonstrate they meet the requirements to enter and/or stay in Canada.
“Admissibility of all travellers is decided on a case-by-case basis and based on the information made available to the border services officer at the time of entry.”
Several factors are used in determining admissibility into Canada, “including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations, in organized crime, security, health or financial reasons,” he explained.
Al-Quds Day is an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan that was initiated by Iran in 1979 to express support for Palestinians and oppose Zionism and Israel’s existence.
In Toronto, in 2013 and 2016, rally speakers called for Israelis to be shot, which lead to police investigations.
Also in 2016, Mississauga Catholic school teacher Nadia Shoufani was suspended after she used her Al-Quds Day speech to laud a former leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is listed by Canada as a terrorist entity, B’nai Brith pointed out, adding that in 2014, the PFLP claimed responsibility for the massacre in the Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem that left six Jewish worshippers, including one Canadian, dead.
‘Toronto police must not allow Queen’s Park, our provincial legislature, to become a platform for Holocaust denial’
In a statement on June 20, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the Al-Quds Day rally will not take place on the grounds of Queen’s Park.
“As you may know, the use of the grounds of the Ontario legislature falls within the area of responsibility of the speaker of the legislative assembly,” Wynne stated. “The sergeant-at-arms, who reports to the legislative assembly, has advised that there is no Al-Quds event scheduled to take place at Queen’s Park.”
On their Facebook page, organizers of the rally say participants are scheduled to “walk from Queen’s Park” starting at 3 p.m., to the U.S. consulate on University Ave.
A map indicates the rally will begin between Charles and Bloor streets, at Avenue Road, just south of Queen’s Park.
The Jewish Defense League called Wynne’s letter “a lie,” saying the rally will begin on “Queen’s Park’s north side.”
But JDL Canada director Meir Weinstein told The CJN that the event is “probably” outside the boundaries of the provincial capital grounds and that organizers, therefore, do not require a permit.
He said last year’s rally started from the same place as this year’s.
“The Jewish Defense League will confront the supporters of radical Islam on that day,” Weinstein promised on B’nai Brith Canada’s Facebook page.