TORONTO — The Government of Ontario has cancelled its advertisements in a newspaper with a long history of anti-Jewish incitement, and B’nai Brith is calling on private businesses to follow suit.
In response to advocacy from B’nai Brith, the Government has ceased placing COVID-19 safety ads in al-Meshwar, published and edited by Nazih Khatatba of Mississauga. Over the years, articles in al-Meshwar have praised a 2014 massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue, called Judaism a “terrorist religion,” blamed Jews for the Holocaust and glorified suicide bombings.
In response to B’nai Brith’s outreach to his advertisers, Khatatba doubled down on the antisemitism and Holocaust distortion in his editorial (page 4) in last week’s edition of al-Meshwar, equating the Holocaust with what he called “the continuous Palestinian Nakba Holocaust,” while blaming B’nai Brith for “creating sedition and civil wars, not just in Palestine, but throughout the Middle East.” The allegation that Jews are behind all wars, or all conflicts in the Middle East, is a classic antisemitic canard.
The Nakba, or “Catastrophe,” is a term used by some Palestinians to refer to Israel’s War of Independence. Six million innocent Jewish men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. There is no valid comparison between that and the circumstances surrounding the reestablishment of Israel in 1948 — when the nascent state came under attack by the combined armies of the surrounding countries, which tragically resulted in casualties of war on all sides. During this same time period, more than 800,000 Jewish refugees were forced to flee numerous countries across North Africa and the Middle East.
Khatatba similarly trivialized the Holocaust with comments on television in 2016, which led Rogers TV to scrap the program.
“Reputable businesses should not be making money from antisemitism,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “No lawyer, real estate agent or contractor should want to see their name or face appear beside an article that downplays the Holocaust or praises acts of terrorism.
“We thank those advertisers, including the Government of Ontario, who have already done the right thing.”
Aside from antisemitic canards, al-Meshwar also continues to glorify acts of terrorism and murder. In September of 2019, it ran an article calling Israel “the Auschwitz State” for imprisoning Maher Younes, an Israeli Arab serving a 40-year sentence for murdering an Israeli soldier in 1980. In February of this year, it ran another piece lavishing praise on Muhammad al-Tous, who murdered five Israeli civilians in 1984-85. Both pieces were written by Issa Qaraqe, the former Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs.
All editions of al-Meshwar published between March of 2016 and the end of 2020 have recently been removed from its website. However, B’nai Brith has preserved copies of the articles in question.