Baaklini must follow standards
Rochelle Wilner
The Ottawa Citizen
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Re: Lebanese envoy has been unfairly attacked, Aug. 24.
Letter-writer Issa Khoury has completely missed the point. In his arguments, he has used mythology and anti-Semitic canards to further his own position.

The recent comments made by Lebanese Ambassador Raymond Baaklini, in Arabic in an interview in Montreal, were not the first that were derogatory in the least and anti-Semitic to be sure. To believe that Canada's media are "primarily controlled by pro-Israel owners" and to promote this misconception does nothing but further anti-Semitic mythologies.

To imply, as Mr. Khoury has, that the criticism was based on the ambassador having spoken out "against Israel's conduct in Lebanon" is false and misleading. Rather, the criticism was based on his repeated rhetoric promoting stereotypical and anti-Semitic misconceptions.

My comments were in no way an attempt to direct foreign policy for Canada or to dictate what Mr. Baaklini should say about Israel. They were a call for him to respect and uphold Canadian principles while living in this country.

It is not acceptable for anyone to promote hatred in Canada. Mr. Baaklini, as an ambassador for his country, is not exempt from this standard and his repeated offensive comments, made under the protection of diplomatic immunity, are reprehensible.

Rochelle Wilner,
Toronto
President,
B'nai Brith Canada
Copyright 2003 The Ottawa Citizen