Ontario government pulls ads from paper with history of anti-Semitic articles

Editorial page of al-Meshwar, April 16, 2021

Ontario is hitting an Arab-language newspaper with a long history of anti-Semitic attacks where it hurts the most – the bottom line.

The Ford government announced April 22 that it is pulling COVID-19 safety advertisements from al-Meshwar. The newspaper, published and edited by Nazih Khatatba, of Mississauga, has praised a 2014 massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue, called Judaism a “terrorist religion,” blamed Jews for the Holocaust and glorified suicide bombings.

B’nai Brith Canada called on private businesses to follow suit.

“Reputable businesses should not be making money from anti-Semitism,” Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada said in a press release. “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.”

The decision to withdraw provincial advertising from the publication was not publicly announced by the government. B’nai Brith said the action was taken at its request.

 “While there was no government release, the government did respond directly to B’nai Brith on this issue, further to our concerns,” Mostyn said in an email. “The government should not be advertising in this paper in the future. We have reached out to all businesses currently advertising in al-Meshwar equally.”

Premier Doug Ford’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

 Over the years the newspaper has published articles alleging Israeli soldiers have buried Palestinians alive, have harvested blood and organs from them, and it continues to glorify acts of terrorism and murder.

In September 2019, for example, 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.

In its most recent campaign against the paper B’nai Brith emailed all of its advertisers questioning why they were supporting a periodical with such a vile past.

Among the advertisers on the al-Meshwar website Friday were companies Tek-Data Telcom, realtor Tarek elMasry, mortgage agent Yhumma Moussa and A2Z Restoration.

The newspaper is published by Nazih Khatatba. On his Facebook page he describes himself as “Dr. Nazih Khatatba” who studied modern history at the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1988. He is originally from Nablus, a city in the West Bank area north of Jerusalem.

Khatatba struck back at B’nai Brith in his most recent edition, calling the advocacy agency’s targeting of his advertisers “economic terrorism.”

(The editorial is originally written in Arabic. The translation which follows is through Google Translate.)

“What the Zionist organization did against Mishwar newspaper is not new, as it has been attacking us for 10 years, but what is new is in the manner of economic terrorism by addressing advertisers directly after its failure and despair from confronting us directly through the Canadian judiciary and after its failure to close the newspaper despite all the pressures that it exerted through parliamentarians and agencies Previously security and police,” he wrote.

“We said it and we say it again that we do not deny the Holocaust, and we have no interest in that. No one from my family or the Palestinian or Arab people has ever participated in its perpetration, but we are victims of these Holocausts, as it pushed thousands of Jews from Germany and Europe to immigrate to Palestine to replace its people.”

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