A federal Court judge has just upheld the ban on George Galloway entering Canada.
Regardless of which way the ruling goes his ideologically driven misuse of power in order to suppress the airing of a political opinion to which he has opposed has caused the questioning by commentators from across the political spectrum of Kenney's judgment and willingness to apply a torutured interpretation of section 34 of the Immigration Act and abuse post-9/11 security concerns for poltiical purposes.
In so doing, rather than silence Galloway, Jason Kenney has given the anti-war activist a far larger stage from which to speak. The original fault may lie with cabinet ministers who treat seriously the advice of the extreme, anti-Arab Jewish Defence League in cynical hopes of manipulating Jewish voters.
The banning of the British MP from Canada is proving to be a major embarrassment to the Canadian government whose lawyers had great difficulty justifying the action in court this past weekend.
When asked to provide evidence that Galloway had engaged in terrorism government lawyer Stephen Gold tried to argue that the government has made no decision to bar Galloway despite the fact that the MP received a letter from the Canadian High Commission which announced that a decision had been made to bar Galloway on the grounds that Ottawa believes he is a member of a terrorist organization, Hamas.
When asked to provide proof of Galloway's membership, Gold was forced to admit that there was none. Barbara Jackman, acting for Galloway, pointed out the absurdity of the government describing the humanitarian convoy that he led to Gaza as aiding terrorists when Israeli authorities, which control the entry points to the beseiged strip, thought otherwise as they allowed Galloway and the goods in.
Meir Weinstein, leader of the extremist Jewish Defence League of Canada, has gloated that he is responsible for the government's decision to bar the British MP. On March 16, the JDL sent a letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney as well as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas) Peter Kent.
The barely articulate open letter called Galloway a "hater," quoted him stating that he didn't think Hamas or Hezbollah are terrorist organizations, maligned the Canadian Peace Alliance which is sponsoring Galloway's tour and accused Galloway of being a neo-nazi because Weinstein recalled that a poster promoting a 2006 Galloway speech used the colours red and black.
Normally, the letter would have been largely ignored, evoking only a non-committal letter penned by a junior member of staff, but Kenney and Kent have focussed on pandering to right wing Zionists in the Jewish community in hopes of winning their allegiance to the Conservative Party.
While Kenney claims his political staff did not contact the Canada Border Services Agency in order to flag Galloway, Kent -- who was criticised earlier this year for being Weinstein's "Facebook friend" -- has made no such assurances. Nor is it clear that Kenney's
non-political staff did not pass on the letter with the suggestion that the minister was interested in the case.
Regardless of the exact chain of events, Kenney, in Jackman's words, found himself "mouthing off all over the world about Mr. Galloway's inadmissibility to Canada" and did so four days after receiving the JDL's letter. Kenney's protestations that the decision that Galloway is inadmissable was not political driven is a case of inplausible deniability.
One of the ironies of the past week is that Meir Weinstein, the leader of the Jewish Defence League of Canada and former North American spokesperson for the banned Kach movement, called for George Galloway to be banned from Canada as a terrorist apologist. Hence we have a bona fide terrorist apologist, Meir Weinstein, calling someone else a terrorist apologist. Kach has been listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization since 1994 and has been banned by Canada since 2005 .
How is Weinstein an apologist for terrorists? Well back in 1994 Kach and JDL member Baruch Goldstein shot and killed 30 Palestinians at Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs. Weinstein, using the pseudonym of Meir Halevi and in his capacity as Kach's North American spokesperson was asked about this by the media. Weinstein told Canadian Press ""[o]ur organization does not condemn the attack. It condemns the Israeli government for not providing adequate protection for settlers."
This leads us to our second irony of the week, Liberal aide and one time anti-racist Warren Kinsella spoke over the weekend at a meeting organized by the JDL as a surprise guest. Kinsella hinted at this earlier on his blog, but it seems he was too embarassed to actually name the organization that called the meeting describing it only as a "Zionist group."
Now what would possess Kinsella to share a platform with a man who has been an apologist for terrorists and who, until recently, belonged to a Facebook group called מוות
לערבי (mavet l'aravim) which means "Kill the Arabs" in English? Has he gone completely mad? If he was simply naive and was somehow bamboozled from Weinstein he should say so publicly and apologize. Otherwise, we're left with no other conclusion than that Kinsella has completely lost whatever political judgement he once had. Who in their right mind would associate themselves with a group that has advocated genocidal murder?
Apparently Kinsella and or apologists are now trying to tell BCL that the event was not a JDL meeting but a "public meeting at the Zionist Centre." Well that's being too cute with the truth. Yes, it was a public meeting at the Toronto Zionist Centre, but it was organized by the Jewish Defence League, featured Meir Weinstein, head of the JDL, and was billed as a JDL meeting on the JDL website.
If that's not bad enough, Weinstein, in a comical appearance on Britain's Channel 4 news, showed his fascist colours by saying that if Galloway's tour organizers attempted to pursue a plan to allow Galloway to speak to planned meetings via webcast or some sort of closed circuit broadcast the JDL "will see to it that the Canadian government will be monitoring every individual and organization that will have anything to do with it" and also called for anyone associated with the Galloway tour to be investigated. Kinsella is supposed to be a liberal. Does he support the police state tactics Weinstein is advocating?
Finally, one can't forget that the JDL is a terrorist organization. A succinct and well-sourced summary can be found on Wikipedia.
"In its report, Terrorism 2000/2001, the FBI referred to the JDL as a 'violent extremist Jewish organization' and stated that the FBI was responsible for thwarting at least one of its terrorist acts. The National Consortium for the Study of Terror and Responses to Terrorism states that, during the JDL's first two decades of activity, it was an 'active terrorist organization.'"
The JDL was specifically referenced by the FBI's Executive Assistant Director Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence, John S. Pistole, in his formal report before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. While the consortium writes that the JDL does not currently engage in terrorist actions, according to the Washington Post, both active and former JDL leaders currently serve as primary fundraisers for the outlawed Israeli terrorist group Kahane Chai. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has compiled a long list of mainstream sources it says show a 30-year history of JDL terrorism on U.S. soil, as well as its association with Kahane Chai.
While apologists have claimed that Canada's JDL has nothing to do with the U.S. JDL, in fact it is clear that they are a single entity. Really, if someone set up Al Qaeda Canada would anyone take seriously claims that this Al Qaeda has nothing to do with the others?
Andy Lehrer is a Toronto based writer and researcher.