Toronto (May 2, 2023) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) has voiced deep concern to federal and municipal public officials after a just-concluded, hate-filled anti-Israel conference in Ottawa promoted antisemitic rhetoric and terrorism, including releasing a declaration yesterday that calls for the “sweeping away” of Israel and expresses support for the Palestinian “revolutionary armed struggle.”
Over the weekend, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement (PARPM), hosted a three-day “Liberation Conference” in Ottawa at the SAW Centre and an outdoor rally, listing the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network as an “endorser.” The PARPM was co-founded by Khaled Barakat, who allegedly has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - which Canada officially classifies as a terrorist organization - and Samidoun, which has also been linked to the PFLP.
FSWC wrote to the SAW Centre last week urging the venue to reconsider allowing the conference to take place, pointing to Samidoun’s involvement as an “endorser” of the event. The SAW Centre did not respond.
In the conference’s “Ottawa Declaration” published yesterday, it called for the complete destruction of Israel through armed violence, supporting “the path of removing and dismantling the racist Zionist settler entity (“Israel”) and sweeping away this project from the land of Palestine.” It also stated, “We renew our pledge to the martyrs, wounded and prisoners who have marched on the path of revolutionary struggle, and we reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to practice all forms of struggle for the liberation of Palestine, first and foremost of which is the revolutionary armed struggle.” The declaration further rejects “the inclusion of Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab resistance forces, as well as many fellow liberation forces around the world, on the so-called ‘terrorist lists’ in the U.S., Canada and Europe.”
In a letter to Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino, FSWC raised grave concern over the conference and its organizers, particularly the involvement of Samidoun and Barakat due to their alleged PFLP ties, and reiterated the importance of listing Samidoun as a terrorist entity in Canada, once and for all.
“In the past, Jewish advocacy groups, including FSWC, have repeatedly brought evidence of Samidoun’s antisemitic actions and language, yet the terror-linked organization remains unlisted and allowed to spread their hate without legal limitations. Such behaviour cannot be tolerated at a time of rapidly escalating antisemitism, when Jewish Canadians are reporting feeling less safe and secure,” said FSWC Director of Allyship and Community Engagement Dan Panneton, who also expressed disappointment over Canada allowing Barakat to live in the country despite his alleged links to terror activity.
FSWC has also written to the Mayor of Ottawa, Mark Sutcliffe, to ensure the city’s leadership is aware of the antisemitic hatred spread in the nation’s capital over the weekend, including on city streets, and the SAW Centre’s brazen disregard for the concerns of the mainstream Jewish community, as well as to hold the event space accountable for allowing the conference to take place on its premises.
“It’s infuriating that groups and individuals are given free rein to incite hatred and violence under the guise of anti-Israel activism,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “The conference and its declaration clearly promote the complete erasure of Israel and its Jewish people through terrorism. Furthermore, by rejecting Canada’s listing of ‘Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab resistance forces’ as terrorist entities, the conference organizers have made it clear they support terror groups such as the PFLP, Hamas and Hezbollah, among others. It’s extremely disturbing that an event space has allowed such a hate-fuelled conference to take place, and that those such as Samidoun and Barakat continue to operate with impunity in promoting violence and terror.”