When I started this blog, it was to write about advertising.
Then I made one post expressing my concern about what the election of George Smitherman as mayor would mean for Toronto’s Jewish community and things took a strange turn.
A group of Smitherman supporters sent out letters and made blog posts. They attacked me, they lied about me, they attributed statements to me that I never made (and that they know I never made).
In their desperate defence of George Smitherman, they twisted facts, they denied his public record and they hoped that this would be enough to confuse the Jewish community into thinking that Smitherman was an acceptable choice.
Do you know my favourite thing about the Internet? It makes it so much harder for people to get away with lying. With everything available a few clicks away, it makes it that much harder to run from your words, deny things you’ve said or mislead people as to your record.
Smitherman’s campaign seems to be learning this lesson too late.
In the letter they sent out attacking me, they denied that Smitherman had announced support that he’d received from the anti-Israel Canadian Arab Federation. So in a follow-up post (found here: http://bit.ly/aYw8FJ) I linked to posts on his website and on his Twitter feed showing that he did, in fact, do so. Why would he be proud to publicize support from a coalition that included this group?
His supporters claimed that nobody from the Canadian Arab Federation supported his campaign, I was able to link to an article (found here: www.thecanadiancharger.com/page.php?id=5&a=623) in which the VP of the CAF, Ali Mallah, does indeed encourage Torontonians to vote for Smitherman.
One of the biggest lies in the letter from Smitherman’s supporters had to do with Smitherman’s position on the group “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid”.
Their letter claimed that I said “that George refused to speak out against the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) protest group.”
That’s a blatant lie on its’ own, given that this is what I actually wrote: “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.”
His supporters included a quote Smitherman made rebuking this group to Sue-Ann Levy of the Toronto Sun.
Just yesterday, however, Smitherman met with a different publication; this time, a gay rag named Xtra, a trashy publication that earlier in the campaign called for the homosexual rape of Rob Ford.
Smitherman was asked about the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and their participation in the group.
Here’s what the report had to say:
“when asked if he thinks Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) ought to be allowed in the Pride parade or not, instead of a simple “yes” or “no,” Smitherman would say only that it is “a question the broader community has to grapple with. We grappled on this for some time, but he would not be boxed in.”
You can see a video that interview below.
You’ll notice that Smitherman clearly avoids saying that no taxpayer money should go to the parade if this group is again given a platform to spread their anti-Israel message.
That’s bad enough but it actually gets worse. Smitherman actually defends this anti-Israel group and praises the leaders of it.
Starting around the 4:20 mark of the video, you’ll see Smitherman agree that the two leaders of QuAIA are “longstanding queers with illustrious records.” (note: he means that as a compliment).
Shortly after, at the 4:40 mark, he says of the group: “there are lots of people that I have respect for there.”
Later, at the 5:08 mark, the interviewer states that this group is “not dangerous, not hate-fueled, not anti-Semitic.” Smitherman responds that he “makes no quarrel with that.”
This is very interesting, isn’t it?
When Smitherman did an interview with a Jewish reporter from a conservative, mainstream newspaper he was willing to criticize the group. Then, during an interview with a gay publication and an interviewer who clearly supports the group, Smitherman praises its leaders and speaks of his respect for them.
You’d almost think he was one of those politicians trying to play both sides of an issue and changing his position around to suit different audiences.
At a previous debate, when asked about his position on the inclusion of “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” in the parade, the best Smitherman would offer is that the issue was “complex.”
To his credit, his opponent Rob Ford, had a very different take: