Home News Canada B’nai Brith accuses Maxime Bernier’s adviser of anti-Semitism

B’nai Brith accuses Maxime Bernier’s adviser of anti-Semitism

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People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier, left, and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer chat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2017.

B’nai Brith Canada is calling on Maxime Bernier, the leader of the upstart People’s Party of Canada (PPC), to sack Martin Masse, his political adviser and longtime friend, for allegedly publishing anti-Semitic, conspiratorial, misogynistic and anti-gay views.

Bernier has rejected any suggestions that Masse be removed. Meanwhile, both he and Masse countered B’nai Brith’s allegations by noting that the organization’s CEO, Michael Mostyn, ran unsuccessfully as a Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) candidate in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections, suggesting the accusations were politically motivated. Bernier is a former Conservative cabinet minister and failed leadership candidate who left the party to form the PPC as an alternative to the Conservative party.

Conservative Leader Andrew “Scheer and Cons are so panicked about the rise of PPC that they co-ordinated a smear job full of lies with this so-called ‘nonpartisan human rights org’ headed by a former CPC candidate,” Bernier stated on Twitter.

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Mostyn called Bernier’s response a “feeble attempt at deflection (that) is most unfortunate. He has not stated that these are not the writings or views of Mr. Masse, nor has he offered an apology to any of the aggrieved parties. It is improper for Mr. Bernier to be questioning B’nai Brith’s motivation when he should be looking in the mirror and addressing the serious and legitimate concerns that we have raised.”

B’nai Brith publicized its allegations after “an independent investigation” of Masse’s views, some dating back 18 years to his time as owner and publisher of Quebecois Libre, an online libertarian news outlet.

According to a press release put out by B’nai Brith, “Masse also published an article that discredits LGBTQ groups as wanting to establish ‘their own tyranny.’

“In several articles, Masse personally defends former European politicians Jorg Haider, who spoke highly of Nazi war criminals and often trivialized the Holocaust, and Jean-Marie Le Pen, a convicted Holocaust denier who endorsed several anti-Semitic tropes – including that former French president Jacques Chirac was ‘controlled by Jewish organizations, notably the notorious B’nai Brith.’

“Similarly, Masse has referred to B’nai Brith and other Jewish groups in Canada as ‘ethnic barons,’ and decried ‘pro-Israel media.’ He has … derided egalitarian laws for favouring ‘femi-fascists,’ and suggested that both Israel and the United States are partially to blame for terror attacks against them, while calling the former a ‘police state.’ ”

B’nai Brith also said that in 2001, Masse wrote an article for Quebecois Libre, in which he called Zionism “just another fancy justification for killing and displacing Palestinians, stealing their land and colonizing what remains of it that is not already under Israeli control.”

In a statement published on the PPC website, Masse addresses the allegations, saying that, “Not a single one of these ridiculous accusations is true.”

Referring to the allegation that he defended Haider and Le Pen, Masse said, “What I did was to argue that nothing in the two men’s ideology and policy proposals justified calling them neo-Nazis, as they were often being described at the time by some critics, including B’nai Brith. They were democratic populist politicians.” Masse added that the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal called Haider a right-wing populist, not a neo-Nazi.

“The press release implies that I am an anti-Semite because I denounced Zionism and repressive Israeli policies towards Palestinians. It fails to mention that in the same article, I wrote that from my libertarian perspective, Zionism is ‘a very telling illustration of how a good cause – finding a place in the world where Jews can live securely after centuries of persecution – will necessarily be perverted as it is hijacked by statist aims.’ My evaluation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would probably (more) be nuanced today than 18 years ago, but absolutely nothing I wrote at the time can be described as anti-Semite [sic],” he said.

Turning to allegations that he published an article that discredits LGBTQ groups, Masse said, “If B’nai Brith had done a little research, they would have found that I am gay. The article was in fact a totally appropriate criticism of radical gay activist groups … who wanted to criminalize any opinion opposed to giving special rights to sexual minorities.”

“The press release goes on to make several other insinuations based on quotes taken out of context from contributors to my magazine, all of which are perfectly acceptable when you read the full article,” Masse continued.

“B’nai Brith Canada has discredited itself with these blatantly false, distorted and defamatory accusations.”

Yet Mostyn said, “We stand by the quality and integrity of our work.

“Upon presenting our research to Mr. Bernier, we wanted to give him enough time to sufficiently go over the materials. We were shocked when he replied within 24 hours saying there was nothing in our dossier that was either ‘racist’ or ‘anti-Semitic.’ ”

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