FSWC Relieved Canadian Government Cancels Funding for Organization Over Antisemitism, But Many Questions Remain Unanswered

August 23, 2022

Media Release

Toronto (August 23, 2022) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is relieved the Canadian government has cut anti-racism funding for an organization whose senior consultant has a history of posting abhorrent, violent antisemitic tweets.  

However, critical questions remain regarding how and why the Department of Canadian Heritage funded the organization in the first place, given its senior consultant, Laith Marouf, who reportedly also helped found the organization, had posted numerous antisemitic comments on social media.

Yesterday, the Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, released a statement saying funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) “has been cut and their project has been suspended” due to the “reprehensible and vile” comments made by Marouf. In the statement, Minister Hussen called on the organization to “answer to how they came to hire Laith Marouf, and how they plan on rectifying the situation given the nature of his antisemitic and xenophobic statements,” a puzzling request given reports of Marouf being a co-founder of the organization.  

Last week, in a letter to ministers Ahmed Hussen and Pablo Rodriguez and to other MPs, as well as during a meeting with the office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, FSWC called on Canadian Heritage to address the more than $133,000 in anti-racism funding it gave CMAC, despite Marouf’s highly disturbing antisemitic tweets. Previously, he called Jewish Zionists “Jewish White Supremacists” and “heirs of Nazis” and stated, “I have a motto: Life is too short for shoes with laces, or for entertaining Jewish White Supremacists with anything but a bullet to the head.”

FSWC called on Canadian Heritage to immediately cut the funding and launch an investigation into how it was possible that the government could have awarded anti-racism funding to an organization that employs a consultant who openly expresses violent antisemitic views.

Moreover, a recording of a presentation supported by Canadian Heritage, part of a series of consultative events titled “Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting: Conversation & Convergence,” shows Marouf further promoting his odious views, falsely claiming “colonialism and racism” govern media and Israel is a “Zionist apartheid regime” whose "Zionist militias" had "waged a campaign of genocide.” Canada has repeatedly disavowed the baseless, defamatory claim that Israel is committing apartheid.  

FSWC Director of Policy Jaime Kirzner-Roberts issued the following statement:  

“The Canadian government committed an egregious error by funding an organization and its ‘anti-racism’ project whose senior consultant repeatedly posted antisemitic tweets. Far too often, antisemitism is not treated as the serious form of hate that it is, coming from both sides of the political spectrum. Antisemitism must never be tolerated. We expect Canadian Heritage and its leadership to explain where they went wrong and how they will ensure organizations and their members that promote antisemitic views will not receive government funding in the future.”  

FSWC recognizes the work of Mark Goldberg, who first exposed the antisemitic tweets of Marouf, Jonathan Kay who further publicized the issue and CIJA for its strong advocacy on this case. FSWC is also grateful to political leaders across party lines - including MPs Anthony Housefather, Melissa Lantsman, John Nater and Peter Julian - who have publicly spoken out about this issue.

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