Toronto (December 1, 2022) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is deeply disturbed and seeking answers after the editor of a notoriously antisemitic newspaper was invited to an event hosted by Canadian members of Parliament.
On November 29, Nazih Khatatba, editor-in-chief of Meshwar, an Arabic newspaper based in Toronto, was in Ottawa as a guest at an event hosted by the Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group, chaired by MP Salma Zahid.
Khatatba has come under fire on numerous occasions for promoting Holocaust denial and distortion, pushing antisemitic conspiracy theories and celebrating terrorist attacks in Israel through his Meshwar newspaper.
In a series of tweets today in response to Khatatba’s attendance, MP Zahid failed to show any accountability or denounce Khatatba’s antisemitism and attendance, stating, “We are not able to research the history of every attendee.”
FSWC notes that Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra, who attended the event, released a statement denouncing Khatatba’s antisemitism, stating, “The individual who attended the Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group event should not have been invited” and “What this individual said is offensive and antisemitic and must be condemned.” MP Larry Brock, also in attendance, denounced Khatatba, tweeting, “I deeply regret and apologise for the harm and hurt this has caused. I am a strong supporter of our Jewish community in Canada and the world and reject racism and anti-Semitism in all their forms.”
FSWC has reached out to MP Zahid asking for an explanation of how and why an individual with such a long and well-documented history of promoting antisemitism could have been invited to take part in a parliamentary event, and what steps will be taken to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
“It is disturbing that an individual with such a long history of promoting antisemitism could be invited to such an event,” said Dan Panneton, Director of Allyship and Community Engagement. “The rhetoric that Nazih Khatatba espouses makes our society a less safe place for Canadian Jews, and his presence on Parliament Hill, hobnobbing with Canadian political leaders, is reprehensible."