Jerusalem Post: no evidence for shocking anti-Semitism claim

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Mark Twain

The question however remains will those who uncritically jumped on this smear repair the damage they caused? Will elected officials all with duties of office admit their culpability? Where is the contrition of Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Doug Ford and John Tory all of whom targeted innocent students.

And where is the shame of Toronto councillor James Pasternak always counted on to suppress any criticism of Israel in metro Toronto. He too has egg on his face with this embarrassing tweet:

A disgraceful display of anti-Israel,anti-Semitic violence at York University yesterday.The mob violence isan attack on our free and civil society.We must all condemn the growing hate in Toronto.

Nice work Councillor

Nora Barrows-Friedman of   Media Watch  reported (edited) 

A major Israeli newspaper has conceded that it has no credible evidence for accusing students at Canada’s York University of shocking anti-Jewish bigotry.

The Jerusalem Post initially claimed that hundreds of students protesting the presence of Israeli soldiers on their Toronto campus on 20 November, chanted “Intifada, Intifada, go back to the ovens” at Jewish participants.

They were protesting an event hosted by Reservists on Duty, a group that brings Israeli soldiers to speak on campuses.

The newspaper has now admitted that the evidence-free accusation was made by a former member of an Israeli army death squad who is now part of an elite propaganda outfit.

It offered no substantiation for the inflammatory accusation, and despite there being numerous videos from the event, none provides any evidence to support the assertion.

Moreover, the group Christian Peacemaker Teams, whose members witnessed the event, says the chant never happened.

Yet the initial accusation was accepted on its face by Canadian leaders. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined in the attack on the York students, accusing them of directing “violence and racist chants” against Jews.

But it was not Jewish students or supporters of Israel who were attacked and subjected to abuse.

It was the students rallying for Palestinian rights who were attacked by members of the Jewish Defense League, a violent anti-Palestinian group.

After JDL members assaulted protesters outside the event, Reservists on Duty – backed by Israeli media and Canadian politicians – smeared the protesters as anti-Semites.

Still, no shred of evidence has emerged a full week later.

During the 20 November event, the Calgary-born Sher Leyb (bottom row, second from right) stated during the 20 November event that he was a member of Duvdevan, an elite Israeli military unit whose members often disguise themselves as Palestinians in order to carry out extrajudicial executions.

According to the group’s Facebook page, Leyb joined a 2017 tour as part of Reservists on Duty “to give their testimony and to battle the outrageous lies that delegitimize the IDF [Israeli army] and the State of Israel.”

Smear artists

The unit aims to smear Palestine solidarity activism as “anti-Semitism.”

As Vancouver activist Marion Kawas points out, Leyb clearly had an agenda to smear the Palestine rights supporters – and The Jerusalem Post helped him.

Still no evidence  to support the claim that anyone at all chanted “go back to the ovens.”

Lawyer and human rights campaigner Dimitri Lascaris says he has examined “over 50 separate video clips taken at the York University protest, but found no evidence of violent or anti-Semitic conduct on the part of Palestinian solidarity activists.”

“In particular, in none of those videos could pro-Palestinian protesters be heard to chant the words ‘go back to the ovens,’” Lascaris adds.

Lascaris also notes that Shar Leyb speaks in six of the dozens of video clips but “At no time in any of those clips did Leyb claim to have heard pro-Palestinian protesters chant ‘go back to the ovens.’”

“The damage has been done, the smear was repeated and repeated, and a half-hearted revision five days after the first story will not [undo] the harm that has been caused,” Kawas writes.

Michael Bueckert tweeted

The Jerusalem Post backs away from some of its most inflammatory false claims about the pro-Palestinian protest at York, which had been eagerly exploited in order to smear activists (who had actually been subject to JDL violence and racism)

Independent Jewish Voices did as well

IJV unequivocally supports courageous Palestinian students and their allies who showed up en masse at York University in Toronto on November 20th to protest a planned presentation by members of Israel’s occupying forces” 

Hours after the initial email exchange, Kawas says that the Post issued an update to its article, which slightly amended the lead sentence to attribute the chant to “several protesters.”

The Post also added an editor’s note claiming “a mistake in editing accidentally attributed the chant … to all of the protesters at the event. This was not the case. The comment was made by a handful of protesters to some of the organizers.”

Yet this effort at spin is no more honest than the original article.