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Canada’s Palestinian envoy in antisemitic twitter impasse

Oct 25, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Canada's Palestinian envoy in antisemitic twitter impasse
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Canada’s Palestinian envoy in antisemitic impasse

According to AP reports, the Palestinian Authority (PA) envoy to Canada, Linda Sobeh Ali, was recalled yesterday after she tweeted a link to a Youtube video calling upon “millions” to “destroy the Jews”.

Of course, the Canadian Authorities were very hostile towards the video and pressured the PA into recalling Ali. The PA, however, not only made excuses for the poem but went on to blame the “Jewish Lobby” for having to bring their envoy home.

Joseph Lavoie, a spokesman for Canada’s foreign affairs minister, said Monday it was a serious enough matter for the Palestinian Authority that they recalled Sobeh Ali.

“This video is completely unacceptable and offensive as it calls for the death of Jews,” Lavoie said.

Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister, speaking in Ramallah, said the envoy posted the link thinking it was a “normal national poem.”

“We asked her to leave Canada because we didn’t want to create any problems,” he said.

According to Malki, the “Jewish lobby and Jewish institutions” in Canada complained to the Canadian government. The envoy “went back to the poem and there was something wrong with the translation.” The phrase translated in the English subtitles as “destroy the Jews” was actually “to kill the soul of Zionism.”

The irony in Malki’s response is startling. Here there are antisemitic tropes being employed to excuse his colleague’s promotion of antisemitic material. These kinds of incidents demonstrate the problematic attitudes that are all too widespread even in the supposedly moderate PA, which may explain why they continue threatening to derail peace talks.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

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