A member of the Quebec National Assembly is being accused by B’nai Brith Canada of promoting “anti-Semitic tropes.”
The organization is calling on Amir Khadir, a Québec solidaire MNA, to apologize to the Jewish community for comments he makes in a film produced by British filmmaker Abid Mahi, called #Quebec4Palestine.
A trailer for the film on YouTube is accompanied by the text, “Why are so many Canadians waking up to Israeli’s [sic] crimes!” Elsewhere, Mahi says his goal is advancing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Khadir can also be seen telling interviewer Melanie Messier that, “The dynamics of politics is completely controlled when it comes to the Palestinian issue … by the Israeli lobby.” He goes on to say that “there was a direct link to some lobby that was authorizing or not authorizing (Quebec politicians’) support of this.”
Later, he says: “Unfortunately, as we know, money talks a lot in politics.… In that case, the pro-Israeli – the pro-extremist politics of Israel – lobby is very strong.”
B’nai Brith chief executive officer Michael Mostyn stated that this is “a dangerous anti-Semitic canard. The odious belief that Jews or Zionists control the political system has led to terrible anti-Jewish persecution in dozens of countries over the course of history. There’s no place for this in Quebec in 2017.”
Khadir has a long history of anti-Israel activity, going back long before Québec solidaire was founded. The left-wing separatist party officially endorsed BDS in 2009 and Khadir has tried repeatedly to get the National Assembly to entertain a motion on the issue.
The Iranian-born physician was the first Québec solidaire member elected to the National Assembly, has represented the downtown riding of Mercier since 2008 and used to be the party’s co-spokesperson (the equivalent of its leader).
Although he was once deemed the most popular politician in the province, Khadir was widely criticized for taking part in a pro-BDS demonstration in late 2010 outside a family owned shoe store on St-Denis Street that stocked Israeli-made footwear.
B’nai Brith is also disturbed by remarks by another Quebecer, Lorraine Guay, a longtime social justice activist and outspoken BDS supporter, who says in the film: “We know that Israel is always (having) a huge confrontation with the United Nations, with international law, because they think that this law doesn’t apply to them, because they’re the state of the Jews.”
Mostyn concludes: “The irony is that this film was intended to promote the BDS movement; instead, it has simply highlighted yet again the strain of anti-Semitism that can be found throughout this bigoted campaign.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said Khadir’s remarks are in the same vein as others he has made over the years.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that CIJA has come out on this issue and Amir Khadir. It has been a recurrent problem for several years. These disturbing comments are just another in what has become a long list of outbursts of his, echoing some of the most absurd conspiracy theories with respect to Jews and the Zionist control of the worldwide media and economy, as well as global politics,” said CIJA Quebec vice-president Eta Yudin.
Khadir did not immediately respond to The CJN’s request for his reaction to B’nai Brith’s accusation.