Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez broke his silence on Wednesday about his department’s funding of an agency whose lead consultant posted a series of tweets about “Jewish white supremacists,” more than a week after the government cut the money.
“Racism in all its forms has no place in Canada. I condemn the disgusting anti-Semitic comments made by Laith Marouf,” Rodriguez said in a written statement to The Canadian Press.
“I have no tolerance for that.”
Trudeau promises ‘comprehensive review’ of funding for anti-racism groups after consultant tweets
Rodriguez also said the Community Media Advocacy Centre, for which Marouf works as a consultant, should never have received “a penny of taxpayers’ money” and that the Liberal government is reviewing the vetting process to ensure that this does not happen again.
His remarks mirror those of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said Tuesday he was launching a full government review of CMAC funding.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that federal dollars have gone to this organization which has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism,” Trudeau said.
Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen last week cut $133,000 from the Department of Heritage’s funding to CMAC and suspended an anti-racism project he was overseeing after ‘reprehensible and despicable’ tweets emerged. » published by Marouf.
On Monday, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, who is Jewish, posted a tweet urging all 338 MPs to condemn anti-Semitism, after which a significant number of Liberal MPs began speaking out on the issue.
Rodriguez had not commented until the statement sent Wednesday.
Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman, who is also Jewish, had criticized Rodriguez for not speaking out about the tweets.
“The most vile thing about it is the silence,” she said.
Marouf’s Twitter account is private, but a screenshot posted online showed a number of tweets with his photo and name.
One tweet read: “You all know those loud-mouthed human excrement bags aka Jewish white supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they came from, they will again be whispered bitches of their (sic) Christian/secular white supremacist masters.
CCMC did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer acting for Marouf requested that his client’s tweets be quoted “verbatim” and distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists'” and Jews or Jewish people in general.
Marouf harbors “no animosity toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” attorney Stephen Ellis said in an email to The Canadian Press.
“While not the most astutely worded, the tweets reflect a frustration with the reality of Israeli apartheid and a Canadian government collaborating with it,” Ellis added.
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