Irwin Cotler – Israel’s main man in Canada’s government

Canada’s new justice minister and attorney-general is not what he seems. Irwin Cotler’s much-vaunted career as an international human-rights lawyer and ivy-league law professor matters less than his reputation as a propagandist for Israel.

Cotler is well aware of his reputation as a pro-Israel advocate, and so in a Dec. 24, 2003, interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz he sought to defuse the issue:

“In Canada, each minister deals exclusively with the matters related to his or her own ministry. Consequently, only the foreign ministry deals with matters related to Israel…I will of course make my views known around the Cabinet table, but the moment the decision is made, or if a policy is determined, it is clear that all members of the cabinet are committed to it.”

It’s all well and good that Cotler will refrain from speaking publicly on Israel, but his private advocacy for the zionist state is the real danger. The most telling evidence of the threat Cotler poses to Canada’s policy comes from his support for the “new anti-Semitism”:

“A new globalized, virulent anti-Semitism juxtaposes with older forms. If classical anti-Semitism denied the rights of individual Jews to live as equals in society, the new anti-Semitism denies the Jewish People the right to live as equal members of the Family of Nations.” (“Prof. Irwin Cotler: Beyond Durban” (

First, “anti-Semitism” is a meaningless term of insult, since it is used selectively to refer to bias against Jews, thus making bias against fellow Semites (Arabs) acceptable.*

Second, and more important, the “new anti-Semitism” is a subterfuge to de-legitimize international condemnation of Israeli atrocities. In the abovementioned article, Cotler identifies nine facets to this “new anti-Semitism,” of which five are analyzed below.

–¢ "Genocidal anti-Semitism": the public calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish People.Examples are:- The Covenants of terrorist groups like Hamas, which commit themselves to the destruction of Israel and the Jewish People;- Religious legal rulings (Fatwas), which call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish People;- State-incited calls for genocide (e.g. the Iranian threat to annihilate Israel)."

Leaving aside the false equivalence of “Israel and the Jewish People,” Cotler says nothing about Jews who call for the destruction of Semitic Palestinians, or of Israeli documents like the April 1976 Koenig Memorandum, which set out steps to dispossess and harass Israel’s Arab minority.**

–¢ “Political anti-Semitism”: The denial of the Jewish People’s right to self-determination;The de-legitimization of Israel as a state. The attribution to Israel of all the world’s evils. Israel as the "poisoner of international wells.

Israel is illegitimate. The Nov. 29, 1947, “Partition Plan” was never ratified by the Security Council and was therefore not legally enforceable. Zionists stole land–”even beyond the Plan–”and blackmailed the world into approving “The Jewish State.”

The description of Israel as a “poisoner of international wells” is apt, because in May 1948 zionists poisoned the Acre water supply with typhoid. An attempt to introduce typhoid and dysentery into the Gaza Strip later that month failed. Until Israel came along, the U.S. had no enemies in the Middle East.

–¢ “Ideological anti-Semitism"(which surpasses the Zionism = Racism rhetoric) to “Nazify” Israel.: If the jackboot fits, wear it. It is public knowledge that zionists collaborated with the Nazis to exterminate Yiddisher Jews and prevent them from escaping persecution. Furthermore, Israel is founded on the same master-race mentality as Hitler’s Germany was. In January 2002, an Israeli army officer even suggested that Israel apply lessons from the Nazi liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto to invasions of major Palestinian centres like Nablus or large refugee camps.

–¢ “Racist terrorism against Jews”: In December, Deborah Fink, a Jewish singer and music teacher in London received more than 150 pieces of hate mail. One said: “Too bad Hitler didn’t get your family. With six million Jews dieing [sic] 60 year [sic] ago it’s a shame scum like you somehow managed to survive.” The author was an American zionist doctor. Fink opposes Israel’s occupation. ( The Guardian, Jan. 19.) So much for the equation of Israel with “the Jewish People.”

–¢ “Denial to Israel of equality before the law in the international arena–” the singling out of Israel for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena": Nowhere is Cotler’s dishonesty more obvious than here. Israel stands in violation of more than 70 UN Resolutions, the UN Charter and the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding treatment of occupied peoples.

The U.S. and international Jewish lobbies enforce a moral double standard that insulates Israel from having to comply with international law. The sharp international condemnation of Israel in 2001 at Durban, South Africa, was a demand for equality.

If Cotler were a legitimate champion of human rights he would denounce the Israeli-manufactured starvation in the Gaza Strip; the torture of Palestinian detainees; dehumanizing checkpoint searches; and arbitrary housing demolitions. Unfortunately, Cotler doesn’t deem the human rights of Palestinians to be a major concern.

On Dec. 18, he told the Canadian Jewish News that the “urgent humanitarian catastrophe” in Africa should be part of a new “Jewish agenda,” and he has urged Martin and the Liberal caucus to make Africa “the most urgent priority for Canadian foreign policy.”

Translation: If we keep the public focused on “hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, armed conflict, violations of human rights and pillaging of resources” in Africa, we will distract it from “hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, armed conflict, violations of human rights and pillaging of resources” in Palestine.

Israel’s pariah status among the family of nations is entirely justified. Cotler’s odious, falacious sophistries to the contrary show that he speaks for a foreign government, and must therefore be expelled from Cabinet.

More on Cotler next column.


* See my essay Israel: A monument to anti-Semitism, written just before the 2001 Durban Conference on Racism (

** Even though the memorandum was never formally enacted, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin did not denounce it. It is still highly relevant.