Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/5/2017 (1103 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
New Democrat MP Niki Ashton, who has come under fire from B’nai Brith Canada for comments and actions it sees as supporting Palestinian terrorists, says she is obligated to "speak out in the face of injustice."
Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s chief executive officer, said the Jewish advocacy group is upset Ashton — who is running for the federal leadership of her party — attended a rally in Montreal remembering the Nakba. Ashton also posted photos on her Facebook page showing her in front of posters depicting the likeness of Ahmad Sa’adat, the jailed leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Mostyn said "the Nakba" is an Arabic term criticizing the founding of the modern state of Israel, while the PFLP is described as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government.
"We take this very seriously," Mostyn said Friday. "We take the comments seriously and the photos she chose to post seriously, too."
In a statement provided to the Free Press, Ashton said, "I have consistently spoken out for peace and justice in the Middle East, including for Palestinians.
"Many, including the Canadian Labour Congress and Amnesty International, have shown their support for the hunger strikers who are opposing inhumane conditions. As someone who is completing a PhD in peace and conflict studies, it is clear to me that one must speak out in the face of injustice, whether here at home or abroad.
"Canada must return to its traditional role, supporting a balanced position and a just peace in the Middle East."
Ashton, the MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, had posted on Facebook she was "honoured to stand with many in remembering the Nakba.
"It was also powerful to join many at a rally in solidarity with those on hunger strike in Palestine today. The NDP must be a voice for human rights, for peace and justice in the Middle East.
"I am inspired by all those who in our country are part of this struggle for justice."
Mostyn said Ashton failed to say most of the hunger strikers had been imprisoned for committing terrorist attacks that killed Israeli civilians. He said Sa’adat "is a murderer" who served a 10-year sentence for assassinating Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi.
"This is the leader of a listed terrorist organization, and here we have an MP seeking to lead her party — and possibly the country, too — promote a symbol of a banned terrorist group," he said. "It doesn’t get any worse than that."
Mostyn called on Ashton to apologize.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.