March 15, 2017
Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) was outraged to see the coverage of The Rebel Media’s Gavin McInnes during his recent trip to Israel, which was blatantly antisemitic, Islamophobic and homophobic. IJV is greatly disturbed by the total failure of the self-proclaimed representatives of Canada’s diverse Jewish communities—the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai Brith Canada—to identify McInnes’ comments as antisemitic, and to forcefully condemn them.
McInnes, in a Compound Media video from March 11, referred to the Holocaust using air quotes, and engaged in outright Holocaust denial. In describing his visit to the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, he said “I felt like I felt myself defending the super far-right Nazis.” McInnes went on to blame the Ukranian genocide, the Holdomor, on “Marxist, Stalinist, commie, left-wing, socialist Jews” and blamed “Jewish intellectuals” for the rise of Hitler.
A day later, McInnes complained that the video of him engaging in Holocaust denial and spouting antisemitic conspiracy theories was taken out of context, but his explanation is nonsensical. Following his explanation, he says that “it’s very clear where I stand”—after saying how Israel should not “capitulate” to Palestinians, should embrace Christianity and Donald Trump, and should unite with those who hate Islam— and encourages viewers to watch the other videos of his trip to understand his views better.
In another video of his trip, McInnes referred to Jews as “evil”. In a video posted on March 13 titled “Miles McInnes: Arafat was Right! (And Gay)”, McInnes says, “they [Palestinians] grow up thinking that Jews are trying to kill them and are evil, which they are….”
In yet another video titled “10 things I hate about Jews”, which The Rebel Media later changed the title of to “10 things I hate about Israel”, McInnes opens with “I’d like to tell you ten things I hate about the Jews.” In his diatribe, McInnes includes his belief that Jews are “scared of Christians and Trump” because they have a “whiny, paranoid fear of Nazis”, and that Jews should stop complaining about the Holocaust and should—along with Blacks in regards to slavery—“be a little more positive about it.”
In the aftermath of all of this, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), which portrays itself as the representative voice of Canada’s diverse Jewish communities, tweeted (here and here), “We love humour about Israel. But Gavin McInnes’ “10 Things I Hate about Jews” on Rebel Media just isn’t funny. It’s offensive and stupid. If Rebel Media thinks this helps Israel’s cause, think again.” It is simply appalling that CIJA would respond to The Rebel Media’s viciously antisemitic coverage as merely “offensive and stupid”, and lament that it does not help “Israel’s cause”.
B’nai Brith Canada, which refers to itself as the “grassroots voice of the Jewish community”, has been completely silent about The Rebel Media’s Israel coverage and its correspondent Gavin McInnes’ blatant and recurrent antisemitism. The organization, which frequently conflates support for Palestinians’ human rights with anti-Jewish hatred, appears to be focusing its energies on condemning Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). It regards IAW as a form of antisemitism that should be banned, and recently described it on its twitter account as “hatred”.
While IJV is enormously disturbed by CIJA’s reaction to The Rebel Media’s outright bigotry and the complete silence of B’nai Brith Canada, it should come as little surprise when one looks at The Rebel Media’s overall coverage of its trip to Israel. It was overwhelmingly supportive of Israeli nationalism, which it sees as an ethnically exclusivist ideology at the forefront of the “clash of civilizations”; it was deeply offensive and hateful towards Muslims; and it argued that Palestinians are not the ones living under apartheid, but, in fact, Israelis are.
McInnes, in his over eight minute-long antisemitic tirade, said in regards to President Trump, “Look at the ambassador he just hired, he’s perfect. He’s the ultimate mensch.” B’nai Brith openly welcomed Trump’s victory, and the US ambassador to Israel has political views that align comfortably with both B’nai Brith Canada’s and CIJA’s. Perhaps this, along with the rest of The Rebel Media’s coverage of this issue, can explain the reaction (or lack thereof) from Canadian Jewish establishment organizations.
IJV has pointed out that these organizations have failed to speak out against antisemitism and other forms of bigotry emanating from within and surrounding the Trump administration. But when The Rebel Media’s antisemitism is spewed alongside its fervent support for Israel’s policies, it becomes much clearer why Jewish establishment organizations have chosen to mute their condemnation of such despicable hatred targeting Jews and others.
Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is a national human rights organization whose mandate is to promote a just resolution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine through the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties. There are currently ten chapters of IJV in cities across the country, in addition to a growing number of student chapters on major university campuses. IJV supports the right of Canadians to criticize and challenge the current laws and policies of the State of Israel, including through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.