November 17, 2023
From Internationalist 360

Jack Dempster
Millions of Canadian workers, young people, Arabs, and oppressed peoples have taken to the streets in opposition to this barbaric slaughter.

There is a political synergy and harmony between various right-wing elements of diasporas within the Canadian state. The Israeli Zionists, Ukrainian Banderites, Iranian Pahlavists and anti-communist Cubans, Chinese and Vietnamese have common political prerogatives which align wholly with the interests of Bay Street and Ottawa.

In Palestine, a war of extermination continues to be waged by the colonial armed forces of the Israeli state. As of this writing, over 11 000 Gazans have been reported killed by health officials, with thousands of women and children among the deceased. Medical staff have been killed en masse, with ambulances being targeted and destroyed. More than 100 UN workers have been killed. Schools have been hit. Journalists have been murdered. Thousands are trapped under the rubble. Bombs are being dropped constantly. Tanks have invaded the Gaza Strip. Untold numbers of Palestinians have fled for their lives. The denizens of Gaza are trapped in intolerable conditions under a state of siege.

In this context, millions of workers, young people, Arabs, and oppressed peoples have taken to the streets in opposition to this barbaric slaughter. In many ways this represents the eruption of a mass movement against imperialism, whose violence has been crystallized and concentrated in this most hideous outbreak of war and terror on a besieged people. Within Palestine itself, the dispossessed Palestinians have taken to arms to resist their own deaths and mutilations.

The resistance of the international working class and of the Palestinians themselves to the Israeli occupation has provoked fury and contempt from the bourgeois ruling classes of the world. Israel is an outpost of Western imperialism in the strategic location of West Asia, and the imperialists have deep economic and political reasons for supporting the Zionist regime. Meanwhile, Israeli media and capitalist politicians have worked incessantly to link pro-Palestinian demonstrations to “hate” and “antisemitism.”

Zionist ideology demands that Israel be allowed to ethnically cleanse, burn, bomb, starve and slaughter Palestinians to the bitter end, and that any criticism of such actions is “antisemitic.” This twisted and perverse misuse of the term “antisemitism” is used to silence and suppress any and all opponents of the Israeli regime, an embodiment of colonial white supremacism on the lands of the Levant.

The Canadian bourgeoisie have always been loyal allies of the Zionist settler state. Canadian politicians have reacted with anger at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in major Québécois and Canadian cities. Police forces have ominously weighed in on the matter, with Calgary cops charging a pro-Palestinian organizer with “disturbing the peace” for leading chants of “From the river to the sea,” with the state adding a “hate motivation” to the spurious charge.

Mohammad Assadi has also been recently arrested on the basis of supposedly expressing hate and antisemitism as well as for breaking various bail conditions from previous charges. We do not know the details of Assadi’s arrest or charges, but in this reactionary political climate, where any opposition to Israel’s war of extermination is labelled as “antisemitism,” these charges should be viewed with caution. He shouldn’t be assumed guilty before a trial. Further complicating the matter is the fact that Assadi is apparently a supporter of the Islamic Republic of Iran, designated by the Canadian imperialist regime as a de-facto official state enemy.

As can be seen by recent events, hate speech laws are wielded by the capitalist state in ways especially dangerous to immigrant communities and to those who espouse national liberation causes. It is notable that upon the very first Toronto demonstration in defense of the Al-Quds Flood operation, social-democratic Mayor Olivia Chow sought to link the demonstration, which this writer attended as a marshal, to “terror,” deploying the Hate Squad to police the march.

The Zionist entity has no shortage of defenders amongst the ranks of the Canadian political, media, and business classes, from Olivia Chow to Justin Trudeau. Large sections of Canadian bourgeois society have sought to smear any expression of Palestinian solidarity as antisemitic, calling for increased police repression and stricter censorship of those who espouse the Palestinian cause.

Conservative MPP Goldie Ghamari is one example. Ghamari has recently taken to X to celebrate the arrest of Assadi, hailing Ottawa Police Sergeant Ali Tghoghrol, head of Ottawa’s Hate and Bias Crime Unit, for assisting in the arrest. She posted the phone number of the police and urged people to call in. Ghamari also called for the deportation of Assadi, aiming to weaponize the bourgeois state against her political opponent. Whatever one thinks of the personal political views of Assadi, and whatever the details of his charges, it is against the interests of workers and immigrants to call for deportations against any individual.

Ghamari herself is a major representative of the right-wing Iranian diaspora who, based upon their opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran, call for imperialist sanctions, deportations, and the policing of Iranian diaspora communities. This political milieu is also a proponent of expanding the Terror List, which is a deadly weapon in the hands of the Canadian bourgeoise, and which lumps liberation groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam into a long list of Islamic fundamentalist reactionaries and Nazi groups. The Terror List is extremely dangerous to the working class and immigrant communities within Canada, including Iranian communities.

Ghamari’s X timeline is filled up with screeds such as this: “The terrorist Islamic Regime in Iran is the Godfather of Hamas. Everything Hamas did to innocent Jews, #IRGCterrorists does to Iranians. That’s why #IraniansStandWithIsrael.” Ghamari, who had her law license suspended in 2021, has an X feed filled with screeds such as this: “The terrorist Islamic Regime in Iran is the Godfather of Hamas. Everything Hamas did to innocent Jews, #IRGCterrorists does to Iranians. That’s why #IraniansStandWithIsrael.”

Ghamari has also claimed that Sarah Jama, who was censured in Queen’s Park and kicked out of the NDP for sympathizing with Palestine, is “garbage and a terrorist sympathizer”, going on to say that the Ontario NDP “has the blood of the Iranian People on your hands because [they] refused to condemn Hamas’s October 7 massacre”. Ghamari has also denied that fact that Israel is committing war crimes.

Other right-wing sections of the Iranian diaspora have also gone to bat for Israel. Liberal democrat Kaveh Shahrooz has wrestled over the “ethical questions” raised by the possibility of a ceasefire, fretting over the most strategic way of “destroying Hamas” and sagely advising that “there’s no version of this story where civilians don’t suffer massively.” Meanwhile, Iranian Convoy supporter Salman Sima has also come consistently to the defense of Israel.

On October 29, Ghamari, Sima, MPP Michael Parsa and other right-wingers, made an appearance at an ostensible Cyrus the Great commemoration calling to “Stand with the Iran Revolution” and “End Jew Hatred”. Dragging the name of Cyrus through the mud, the reactionaries, including right-wing Canadian journalist Daniel Bordman and at least one Cuban anti-communist, made a stand in defense of the Israeli colonial state. Israeli, Canadian and Pahlavists (Monarchists) flags were waved. One participant even bore a sign with the words: “Shove the Palestinian Flag up your Ass,” a statement which can only be interpreted as deeply chauvinist and offensive to Palestinian people.

This writer got a first-hand look at the scene. As that day’s Palestinian demonstration marched north on University Avenue, one could see a large line of riot cops protecting the small pro-Israel rally. Their demonstration in defense of ethnic cleansing was absolutely outnumbered by the mass protest in defense of the national rights of the Palestinian people. Apparently, the pro-genocide rally had to rush to end early.

At this year’s Toronto Remembrance Day ceremony, the day upon which Canada honours the past military adventures of the British Empire and Canadian imperialism, a woman shouted, “Free Gaza!” In response, she was harassed by a number of Canadians, hounded by Rebel News, and told to “fuck off” by a man garbed in the old colonial flag of British-occupied Hong Kong. Later, in a display of disgusting misogyny, Rebel News reporter David Menzies called the protestor a “moronic bitch.”

On November 12, as a major Palestinian demonstration marched through downtown Toronto, Salman Sima and Goldie Ghamari made an appearance at a demonstration in defense of Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Again, the reactionaries spoke in defense of the Israeli military operation against Gaza.

Kevin Vuong made an appearance at the rally. Vuong, MP for Spadina-Fort York, is the product of the Vietnamese diaspora who fled the communist revolution in Vietnam. Vuong’s X feed is filled with hysterical rantings against Iran’s IRGC, Hamas, and in defense of Israel. He is Canada’s NATO 2030 Young Leader and a member of the imperialist Canadian Navy. The World Socialist Web Site has noted that Vuong has a habit of ratting out Palestinian supporters to the bourgeois state. Vuong is also fiercely anti-China, and even attempted to link sexual assault allegations against him, with related charges later being dropped, to Chinese interference in Canada, though even liberals condemned this attempt.

Another notable participant in the November 12 demonstration was a representative of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. The UCC, as has been noted, is a Banderite organization with a nasty tendency of honouring veterans of the Waffen SS 14th (Galician) Division, which helped perpetrate the Holocaust. The UCC ‘charity’ front (Canada-Ukraine Foundation)’s COO trained Azov Battalion in 2016, and CUF gave a grant to the medical battalion of a Ukrainian Nazi’s army this August. Today, the imperialist powers are currently arming and supporting Ukraine in its war of aggression against Russia and the separatist Donbass.

All this goes to show that there is a political synergy and harmony between various right-wing elements of diasporas within the Canadian state. The Israeli Zionists, Ukrainian Banderites, Iranian Pahlavists and anti-communist Cubans, Chinese and Vietnamese have common political prerogatives which align wholly with the interests of Bay Street and Ottawa. These prerogatives entail wholesale support to western finance capitalism and its military machine.

The masses of China, Vietnam, Iran, Cuba, Palestine, and other historically oppressed nations, whatever one personally thinks of their current political systems, have deep histories of profound national and class struggle. The noble peoples of these lands have learned to struggle fiercely against colonialism and imperialism. Countries which have liberated themselves from the stranglehold of foreign domination will not easily allow themselves to be conquered once more. This is why millions of people around the world have protested in defense of the Palestinian cause, which is the great anti-imperialist struggle of our time.

The Canadian bourgeoise, descendants of the counter-revolutionary British loyalists, attract like a magnet many of the world’s counter-revolutionaries. Canada has always taken special care to import and assimilate noxious reactionaries who gleefully support the devastation and exploitation of the world’s working class and oppressed nations.

Workers within the Canadian state have every interest in defending the Palestinian cause. We also have a vital interest in defending worker’s states such as China and Cuba against imperialism, as well as in defending oppressed capitalist nations against imperialism. In that respect, socialists and trade unionists will continue to mobilize in opposition to the Canadian government’s foreign policy and the Zionist colonial entity, chief representative of Western imperialism in the Middle East.

Jack Dempster is a socialist trade unionist and writer based in Toronto, Ontario.

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