Did you know that you’re reading an “extremist blog”? You may have been under the impression that this is a blog where I occasionally share my thoughts on advertising. So, you’ll understand that I was surprised to be alerted to a blog post from James Morton identifying this as such.
So, Mr. Morton, a candidate for the provincial Liberal nomination in Thornhill, who I shall henceforth refer to as an “extremist blogger” published an attack on me signed by five of the remaining handful of Jews yet to abandon the Liberal Party.
They took issue with the concern I expressed over support that Mr. Smitherman has received from the Canadian Arab Federation.
The letter contained a number of factual errors, outright lies, personal attacks and distortions of my words, including attributed to me statements I never made and which a quick review of my original post shows that I never made. It’s sad and ironic that these individuals (all partisan Liberals and Smitherman supporters) would attack me for “dishonesty” while simultaneously resorting to lying about me.
First of all, they claimed that I sent an email around to members of the Jewish community attacking Smitherman. This is an outright lie. No such email was sent. I challenge the signatories of this letter to produce this email that I allegedly sent.
The article identifies me as having “long been active in supporting Rob Ford’s campaign.” This is a blatant lie. I’ve never been involved in Ford’s campaign. In 10 months, I attended precisely ONE Ford event; a kosher BBQ that he hosted in my neighbourhood for members of the orthodox Jewish community (Mr. Smitherman hosted no similar event). I’ve been highly critical of Mr. Ford, including on this blog, and if I end up voting for him (and I likely will) it will be with little enthusiasm. I wrote what I did as a Jew, not as a partisan political supporter. They, evidently, had the opposite motivation. (On a personal note, I’m sad that they chose to desecrate the Sabbath in order to attack a fellow Jew while lying to the Jewish community. This seems to be the definition of chillul Hashem).
They take issue with my suggestion that Mr. Smitherman boasted of his “endorsement” by a coalition of what he labeled “community organizations” that included the Canadian Arab Federation, a group with a long history of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel statements.
If they want to claim that this wasn’t a formal “endorsement”, fine. I’ll clarify that: in their capacity as a member organization of the Colour of Poverty campaign, CAF gave Mr. Smitherman their “Top Grade” in a “Report Card” on mayoral candidates. This was published in a report and press releases were issued. It seems clear that the obvious intent of said action was to influence opinion in the upcoming election.
The support was featured on Mr. Smitherman’s website (it can be seen here: http://bit.ly/aDWF0H). It was also tweeted about on an official Smitherman account (seen here: http://bit.ly/ax4g9s). Despite the incoherent grammar, the tweet in question makes clear that Mr. Smitherman is “proud” of the support.
The fact is that Mr. Smitherman personally met with a “coalition” that included this odious group. One would think a candidate for high office would investigate such groups before meeting with them. The CAF’s record of inflammatory anti-Semitic behaviour is widely known and easily reasarchable. Had he been invited to share his views on transit policy with a “coalition of community organizations” that included the KKK, I have my doubts that he’d meet with them. This is a man, after all, who bears the distinction of being the only person in the history of the Michael Coren Show to refuse to shake hands with a staff member (in this case, a 20 year old man) because he disagreed with him.
Additionally, just this past week, the VP of the Canadian Arab Federation, Alli Mallah gave an interview to The Canadian Charger in which he encouraged Torontonians to vote for Smitherman. The Canadian Charger also formally endorsed Smitherman and the article makes clear that they did so specifically after consulting with Mr. Mallah. That article can be found here:
Here’s a video of Mr. Mallah physically attacking a blogger who was filming him while Mallah and other members of the CAF were protesting a visit to Toronto by the Israeli PM at a rally that prominently featured the flags of Hezbollah. This incident occured well before Mr. Smitherman agreed to meet with the coalition that included the group of which Mr. Mallah is VP.
If you’re not familiar with The Canadian Charger, which endorsed Smitherman this week after consulting with Mr. Mallah, it is a fringe magazine dominated by left wing radicals, Islamic extremists and lunatic 9/11 conspiracy theorists.
It was founded by Mohamed Elmasry. Here’s a video of Mr. Elmasry stating that all Israeli men and women over the age of 18 are legitimate targets for murder.
Dr. Elmasry was also responsible for the Human Rights Commission compalint filed against Maclean’s magazine and is a strong supporter of these commissions actions in censoring freedom of speech. In that regard, he has an ally in the chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Barbara Hall who has argued for the commissions powers of censorship to be strengthened even further. When Barbara Hall was mayor of Toronto, George Smitherman was her chief of staff. When she later ran unsuccesfully, he was chairman of her campaign. They’re close friends and she even baked the cake at Smitherman’s wedding, which was apparently a “traditional First Nations ceremony” despite the fact that Smitherman, as far as I know, is not First Nations.
Other endorsements for Mr. Smitherman this past week include Borys Wrzesnewskyj, a Toronto Liberal MP who was disciplined by his party after calling for Hamas and Hezbollah to be removed from Canada’s list of banned terrorist organizations. Mr. Wrzesnewskyj also, for whatever bizarre reason, felt it necessary to call up the Globe and Mail (unsolicited) in order to attack immigration minister Jason Kenney for attending a memorial to the Jews murdered at Auschwitz (sadly, a high number of my grandfather’s family among them). He called the trip a “jaunt.”
Do I think that George Smitherman is an anti-Semite? No.
I do think that he bears a hostility to people who hold traditional religious values. I do think he has often gone against the interests of the Jewish community, such as in his support for maintaining discrimination against Jewish schools (good luck to Mr. Morton explaining that policy when he runs in Thornhill). I do find it rather pathetic that the best these Smitherman apologists could offer as an example of support for the Jewish community was that as health minister, he funded Mt. Sinai Hospital.
So while I don’t regard Mr. Smitherman as anti-Semitic, I do feel it legitimate to raise concerns about his ability to attract the support of those who are.
Another outright lie contained in the extremist blogger’s article is that I claimed “that George refused to speak out against the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) protest group.”
A simple reading of my article makes it obvious that I said no such thing. What I actually stated is this: “While candidates Rob Ford and Rocco Rossi stated that city funding should be revoked if this group is again permitted to participate, Mr. Smitherman refused to join in this call.”
This is factually accurate unless his position has changed in the last few days. Certainly, on two separate occasions, Smitherman refused to say that no gvernment funding would go to the parade if this group were permitted to be participants.
It’s great that Smitherman is willing to “condemn” them. However, he has stated that he is willing to continue to provide taxpayers money to a parade that allows them to spread their anti-Israel message.
I hope that this clarifies the falsehoods levelled against me and gives a clearer picture of the tortured distortions that Mr. Smitherman’s supporters are willing to engage in in order to obfuscate their candidate’s record.
Toronto’s Jewish community should review the candidates, their records and their proposals and cast their votes accordingly.
If asked, however, how many votes I think that Mr. Smitherman deserves to receive from our community, I’d borrow a famous old Liberal slogan: “None is too many.”