The overwhelming irony of this article will write itself, as a conference set to deal with the issue of how threats of Islamophobia hinder the ability for free speech had to be relocated due to threats of Islamophobia. This story would be funny, if there wasn’t something much more sinister behind it.
About a week ago I was contacted by the Rabbi of Beth Tikvah synagogue, Jarrod Grover, who was rather distraught over this article in Now magazine labeling his synagogue “anti-Muslim”. The very first thing you see in the article is a picture of the chapel at Beth Tikvah with the name of the synagogue right below it.
To understand the gravity of the story, we need to go over the sequence of events that lead up to the article, the history of antisemitism and the consequences of an accusation like this and the major figures in the “anti-racism” movement.
Synagogue was to host conference on threats to Canadian freedoms
A group called Canadians for the Rule of Law (CFTRL) organized a conference in March of 2019 to discuss issues and groups that pose a threat to Canadian freedoms, specifically “far-left, Islamist, and far-right” groups. You can read their description of the event here.
The event organizers went looking for a venue to host the conference and settled on Beth Tikvah. Just to be clear here, Beth Tikvah was never a sponsor or had any control over the event, they were just the host venue, which means they were paid a fee for their space.
This is a very common way for religious institutions to earn money to pay their rent.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network intimidated synagogue with negative media attention
On December 9th, Rabbi Grover was contacted by email by Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN), who demanded to know why Beth Tikvah would let such an event take place.
The CAHN was set up to monitor far-right groups across Canada and claims to be inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in the U.S.
It is interesting to note that the SPLC just had to payout a $3.4 million lawsuit to Maajid Nawaz for slandering him as an anti-Islam activist despite being a Muslim himself and former radical who now speaks out against extremism.
One would think that Bernie Farber and the CAHN would want to participate in an event that talks about the dangers of the far-right, not shut it down.
However, as I will go into later, that is not Bernie Farber’s MO.
Farber’s email made it clear to Rabbi Grover that unless Beth Tikvah condemns the event and repents their association, the media around it would not be positive. Rabbi Grover told me that he wanted to make a stand for free speech and Canadian values and did not give into Farber’s demands.
Low and behold the very next day, there is an article in NOW magazine by Michael Coren talking about the anti-Muslim element in the Jewish community with a picture of Beth Tikvah right on it.
You might wonder who is quoted at the end of the article?
None other than Bernie Farber himself, how convenient.
This set off a firestorm as the national media got involved wanting to know the same thing as Bernie Farber.
Does Beth Tikvah support the views of the listed speakers?
Exposure lead to security concerns at the Synagogue
Here is some inside information for the readers here.
I know some of these speakers, and a lot of them disagree with some of the views or reasoning of the other speakers involved. Which is why this is a conference and not a rally!
Regardless, this is the new era of moral puritanism, where any association to anything the far-left and media establishment disagrees with is blasphemy and must be punished.
After the massive uproar, there started to be threats against Beth Tikvah and their board needed to get involved.
After meeting, they determined that they could no longer host the event due to the ongoing security concerns.
Was Beth Tikvah Threatened?
Anti-hate activists only care when it's politically convenient
Antisemitism is on the rise and synagogues are under threat. Don’t take my word for it, listen to Bernie Farber.
We all remember the horrific shooting by Robert Bowers at the Tree of Life synagogue that spawned the “together against antisemitism” movement.
However, not so many of us remember the next week when Mohamed Mohamed Abdi rammed his car into a crowd of Jews leaving a synagogue in LA, spawning the much more popular “together against antisemitism, only when it is politically convenient” movement, implicitly endorsed by the progressive Left and mainstream media.
This was followed up by a foiled ISIS-inspired attack on a synagogue in Ohio.
Yet, if you were to read Bernie Farber’s column, there is not one mention of any Islamist or far-Left group in connection to antisemitism, despite the overwhelming evidence of these two influences on the new influx of antisemitism. Instead, we must worry about the Proud Boys, a group that has not even sneezed near a synagogue.
Rabbi Grover said something interesting to me. He said “I’m not Pam Geller”.
To explain, Pam Geller hosted a draw Mohammed contest, and as a result two armed Islamists attacked the event. Rabbi Grover meant that he was not willing to put the lives of his congregants in danger to prove a point.
A good reason, considering Jewish sites across the world are prime targets for Jihadist attacks.
After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the next spot was a kosher supermarket.
During the infamous Mumbai attack, major targets where attacked by Lashkar -e- Taiba as well as a tiny Chabad house that was out of the way, but contained a few Jews they could kill.
Calling a synagogue "anti-Muslim" is painting a target on it
Calling a Jewish institution “anti-Muslim” is tantamount to painting a target on it for radical jihadists. Bernie Farber should know this, since he used to be an activist against antisemitism.
Now I have a personal connection to this story, because as a kid, I went to the Jewish day school that used to be located at Beth Tikvah.
Almost every year, we received a bomb-threat, so I refuse to believe for even a second that a man like Bernie Faber didn’t understand the implications of what he was doing.
Shame on Bernie Farber, shame on Michael Coren and shame on Now magazine for putting hundreds of families in the cross-hairs for the sake of progressive ideology.
What Constitutes Antisemitism to the Progressive Left?
There is a very important question the Jewish community must ask in relation to the modern fight against antisemitism: Are the inmates running the asylum?
Progressive icons ignore the real threats to the Jewish community
People like Bernie Farber and Karen Mock are two “Progressive” icons that the media loves to use as the voice of the Jewish community.
However, my first exposure to Bernie Farber showed me just how dangerous this is.
I first saw Bernie Farber last year when he was a moderator at a Holocaust education event on Holocaust denial.
In my view, to say the event was “unproductive” would be an understatement. However, what really struck me was in the question period when an Iranian political refugee got up to ask a question.
The talk had focused on very marginal groups like the Soldiers of Oden and other right-wing boogie men.
His question was basically, he grew up under the regime of the Islamic Republic in Iran and knows their views on Jews very well.
Now Iran finances genocidal antisemitic terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the Al Quds day march in Toronto.
Before he could finish, Bernie Farber shut down the question and refused to let Al Quds day enter the discussion.
Progressives enable Islamic antisemitism
For reference, Al Quds day is a very popular Islamist march in Toronto that oscillates between Holocaust denial and Holocaust enthusiasm. If you want to see what type of speeches they endorse, take a look here.
Basically, thousands of Islamists march through our streets and chant “death to Jews”, the progressives blame it on Israel and the media takes the day off from fighting racism.
As I stated before, enabling Islamic antisemitism is nothing new for Farber and his friends.
Early last year there was an incident at Majid Toronto where a video surfaced of an Imam praying to “cleanse the Al-Aksa mosque from the filth of the Jews” and for Allah “to slay them one by one”.
It should be noted quickly that Majid Toronto falls under the purview of the Muslim Association of Canada, which has been identified in a Canadian Senate testimony as a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood and has a long history of inviting known hate preachers to incite antisemitism.
Enter Bernie Farber and Karen Mock. They were a big part of the Toronto Star’s fluff piece on Ayman Elkasrawy, the man who led the genocidal prayer.
They present the man as so very misunderstood and utterly incapable of any hatred. A true Canadian hero unjustly torn down by the evil right-wing media.
According to them, it was all a misunderstanding, and he regrets his word choice (as if the word choice was the problem). Hopefully next time he expresses his desire for the annihilation of Jews he does it through the language of “anti-Zionism”…
Did Mock and Farber try and explain to him during their anti-racism sessions that the real misunderstanding in the incident was his conception of the conflict of the Al-Aksa mosque?
The mosque is built on top of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the holiest site in Judaism.
Fun Fact: even though it is on Israeli land, the Israelis let the Jordanians administer the site and it is illegal for Jews to pray there.
Yes, you read that right. In Israel, at the holiest site in Judaism saying a Jewish prayer there is illegal.
I doubt they saw this as the source of the misunderstanding.
So here we stand, as the Jewish community in Toronto where our so-called representative can’t find anything antisemitic when someone says kill all the Jews one by one.
Where does this leave us?
The CFTRL now has to find another venue for their event, but at least they have a definitive answer to the question of whether or not accusations of Islamophobia are being used to stifle free speech.
Beth Tikvah, which has made much progress building relationships with the Muslim community over the years has to start from square one and consider themselves lucky that nothing happened to their people.
The warriors against antisemitism that the media props up are in fact its greatest enablers.
The message to Canadians is “Be quiet or you’re next”!