Part 4 / Antisemitism, Islamophobia & The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict / Michael Mostyn

Wow. So we got a lot to talk about here. So Iqra Khalid she spoke about every voice
being, having an opportunity to be heard on this issue so speaking of voices being heard,
you spoke to the committee that’s looking at this Islamophobia motion. What exactly did you share with them, in light
of the fact that your community is the one thats being targeted the most for hate crimes? – Yeah, so I was privileged to be able to speak to the community on behalf of b’nai b’rith, and there were a few points that we raised up. The first is acknowledging that the rational
and the reasoning behind this bill, I mean is something that all Canadians should support. There should be no systemic racism
against any community. And the muslim community, the muslim community
does get targeted for hate crimes, and that’s wrong. – They’re number 2. – Absolutely. Yeah, I think on the most recent Stat-Can’s numbers. So that’s, it’s a noble purpose, because no
group, identifiable groups just like individuals should not be targeted. And that should be baseline and nobody should
be saying otherwise in this country. However, words matter. And, I mean we spoke earlier, I’m a lawyer,
and words and definitions of words are very important to me, and it’s very important,
it’s been an important issue in the Jewish community I know, but a very important issue
to all Canadians. This is a huge matter for public debate, I
mean on both sides, a lot in the newspapers. And the term Islamophobia, became an issue. A huge issue. Because what does it mean? There were many groups that provide a testimony and said it means this or that or the other. – In your opinion, or in your understanding, what is the traditional meaning of the word Islamophobia, the traditional definition? To be honest I don’t know, because, and it’s
a problem because i’ve heard so many def..I’ve heard different definitions from different
groups in Canada, I’ve heard… but internationally there are groups like the OIC which is an
organization of 57 muslim countries around the world. They have their own definition of Islamophobia. And in many parts of the world, that term
has been part of the connotation, is not just discrimination against Muslims but also what
we would view in Western Canada as a blasphemy law, because it is trying to restrict criticism
of the religion. – Right. And I think that’s the important thing because
there’s a difference between a hate crime against an individual, or a community, and
criticism of an ideology, or criticism of a religion. – Even a political movement. And that is not something that in Judeo-Christian
culture or western society, or in the Westminster system. That’s foreign to us. And we allow criticism of faith. Right or thought. – It’s one of the beautiful things of our
society. – Absolutely. People should be able to say anything else. I have the right to offend you per say, but
I don’t have the right to discriminate against you because of your beliefs say. – Are actively doing a hateful action. – A hundred percent, not, but against if someone
wants to criticize Judaism for example, right. No one in the Jewish, I mean some people might
be offended, right, but they’re not going to say you can’t do this. And the problem is that even certain Canadian
groups that were advocating, had included that in part of the definition, and as part
of the testimony. And so, I think it’s as simple as in the beginning,
at the beginning of the day when the motion came forward, if a different term was used, that
wasn’t controversial such as “anti-muslim discrimination” or “bias”. Something like that, I think that’s something that all Canadians can agree on. Can’t happen, can’t happen. But when you give a loaded term that ill defined, and that you know , and part of what we testified about was, even if a definition, a Canadian
definition did come out of this exersise, there are international definitions. – Which might differ. – That may differ. And it can be a subject of abuse, because
then others outside of Canada could say hey Canada recognized this, we feel it means this,
and then they can change the narrative to whatever biased way that they want. – So was one of your recommendations to the committee that they remove that term and just sort of make this about discrimination of
all peoples, all creeds, all cultures? – Well, yes, so I mean certainly we did raise and as you alluded to we did raise the fact that the Jewish community is the most targeted. All communities are worthy, and Iqra Khalid herself said this. You know, no group should be over or under any other group. All groups are worthy of protection against
discrimination in Canada. But we did say that this is a problematic
term, we suggested that it would be not the right thing to do to try even define it, because
it will be subject to abuse regardless of this fact. Uhm, so yeah those were part of the, recommendations
and, the video is available on the website and our recommendations are right there. We know that the committee is going to be
coming forward with a report, they are not hearing anything from any more witnesses. So I guess at this point we’ll, we will wait
and see, but again it is a motion. It was before the heritage committee, it’s
not before the justice committee for example. So, we’ll have to wait and see, what comes out of this. – Okay well we just have about a minute and
a half left here, and so, I want to talk just to the average Canadian out there. Go back to the issue of hate crimes against
the Jewish community, antisemitism. What can the average Canadian out there do
to fight racism and specifically Antisemitism? – I think what they could do is if you see
something, you say something. Right, yeah because hateful actions they all start with hateful words and before that hateful thoughts. And so whether its targeting the Jewish community,
and we’re often the canary in the coal mine, and I mean in societies that’s just the history of it. Often Jews are targeted and then very rapidly
other groups are discriminated against. And so, all groups have to stand up for each
other that’s the philosophy of… – Your fight is our fight. – Absolutely. And, it doesn’t matter if it’s from the extreme
right or the extreme left. Often media in Canada, B’nai B’rith is regularly
publicizing these sorts of things. We research, we find out, we try and get consequences
under Canadian law for hate mongers, and we notice that it’s quite, you know, media will
jump, i mean you alluded to this flyer. When anything is with swastikas, Nazi symbols,
everybody in the media is rightly condemns this. But then we see things sometimes from
the extreme left. Things regarding the boycott of Israel, which
in the same way tangibly there is an Antisemetic impact on individuals down the line. We don’t see the same mainstream media coverage. So I think when we see hate, it shouldn’t
matter where it comes from. We condemn it. And, we try and act against it. – Powerful, we can all do something right. So, B’nai B’rith Canada, what’s the website
if people want to find out more about your work? – www.bnaibrith.ca. – Michael it has been so wonderful to have you with us today. Hope we can have you back. – One hundred percent. – Thank you for your great work in
fighting racism in Canada. – Thank you.

Stephen Childs

One Comment

  1. The thumbs up on this video has been manipulated so I cannot give a thumbs up…it shows "0" thumbs up. Further more, Youtube is not giving the opportunity to watch the videos in order.

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