Arabic language paper runs blood libel article

(Flickr photo)

B’nai Brith Canada is shining the light on a Toronto-area Arab language newspaper that published two anti-Semitic articles, in its Feb. 28 edition, that repeated blood libels, praised terrorists and compared Israelis to Nazis.

B’nai Brith said it has contacted the Toronto Police Service “in order to file a complaint” in connection to an article in al-Meshwar by a “Hamas figure” titled, The Abuse of the Martyrs and the Manipulation of their Bodies Are Jewish Commandments and Israeli Directives.

According to B’nai Brith, the author of the article, Mustafa Yusuf al-Lidawi, accused Israel of burying prisoners alive and stealing their organs, “a practice he blames on Israel’s ‘ancient malice, and Talmudic and Torah commandments.’”

Al-Lidawi also praised the “martyrdom” of terrorist Muhammad al-Na’im, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who was killed in February planting a bomb on the Israel-Gaza border.

An article in the same page of the same paper by Mohamed Kamel, a Canadian-based Egyptian political activist, alleges that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is worse than that suffered by the Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

B’nai Brith states that Kamel’s original article appeared on his personal blog before being picked up by al-Meshwar. The article, titled The Holocaust of the 21st Century, “suggests that the memory of the Holocaust is ‘controlling the minds of humanity’ as part of a ‘planned and deliberate endeavor aimed at manipulating the gullible to accept the Zionist project.’ He goes on to say that ‘the horrors of the 20th century Holocaust become a justification for a crime uglier than its predecessor, and the victim was thus transformed into a murderer and perpetrator of the 21st century Holocaust’.”

B’nai Brith described Kamel as co-founder of the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD).

B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn said the organization “monitors certain Canadian-Arabic publications, including al-Meshwar. In this instance, a concerned Arabic speaker brought the articles to our attention.”

After receiving an independent translation of the articles, B’nai Brith made its concerns public.

Al-Meshwar is published by Nazih Khatatba. Al-Meshwar did not respond to a request for comment. On two previous occasions dating back to 2014, Khatatba turned down requests from The CJN for comment.

As for B’nai Brith, Mostyn said, “We have not spoken to Mr. Khatatba, although we did reach out for comment to Mr. Kamel and his organization, the ECCD, who declined to provide a response.”

Responding to the article comparing Israelis to Nazis, Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith, said, “It is shocking and bewildering that a leader of a group supposedly dedicated to democracy and charter values would so callously abuse the memory of the Holocaust to spread dangerous mistruths about the world’s only Jewish state.

“World Jewry will never tolerate those who attack us through nefarious falsehoods about the State of Israel. It is irrefutably anti-Semitic and harmful to imply that the Jewish state – the only genuine democracy in the Middle East – and its citizenry have become modern-day Nazis.”

In a comment on the article by al-Lidawi, the Hamas figure, Mostyn said, “It is unacceptable that Canadian publications, in any language, continue to demonize Jews and glorify terrorism. These relentless and baseless attacks on our community undermine inter-communal relations and increase the risk to our safety.”

The CJN has reported on al-Meshwar and Khatatba dating back to 2014. At the time, al-Mashwar ran an article praising of the synagogue massacre in the Har Nof neighbourhood of Jerusalem, in which four rabbis and a police officer were murdered.

A year later, it ran an article that labeled Judaism a terrorist religion and said killing is ingrained in the Jewish faith.

In 2018 al-Meshwar published an article that praised three women whose sons carried out or co-ordinated suicide bombings against Israelis, on behalf of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.