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Canadian Talk Show Host: 'Jewish People Can be Annoying'

B'nai Brith is demanding an apology from a Canadian talk show host who sympathized on the air with anti-Semitic statements.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 11/26/2012, 9:19 AM

microphone (illustrative)
microphone (illustrative)
Reuters

The Jewish organization of B'nai Brith is demanding an apology from a Canadian talk show host who sympathized on the air with anti-Semitic statements.

A woman, who called herself Maria, phoned into Jacques Fabi's late night radio talk show on 98.5 FM last week and started by criticizing Israel for the recent Gaza targeted air raids, CBC News reported.

She then began to attack the Jewish people and praise the Holocaust.

Not only did Fabi refrain from interrupting the woman, he further indulged her by continuing the conversation and sympathizing with her statements.

"I'd never dare say such a thing," he said, adding, "though you probably have the right."

Fabi said that there are consequences for people who speak negatively about Jewish people, especially in Montreal where there is such a sizeable Jewish population, according to the news report. 

"If you asked me if the Jewish population can sometimes be annoying, I would say yes," he said.

The conversation reportedly lasted for more than four minutes.

Steven Slimovitch, a lawyer for B'nai Brith Canada, said his inbox was flooded with emails from Jewish Canadians following the broadcast, according to CBC News. 

"She basically says that Hitler should have finished what he started," Slimovitch said.

He said that B’nai Brith sent a formal letter to the radio station complaining about the comments. It also sent complaints to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

"There's no place for comments like that on a radio station. These are unacceptable comments and they beg a formal apology on the air,' he said.

Slimovitch said the general director for the radio station, Réal Germain, replied to the complaint and said that measures would be taken to appropriately handle the situation.

"The comments that were aired earlier this week are unacceptable ...” said David Crête, spokesman for 98.5 FM. “Hosts and journalists are subject to ethical rules. If they are not met, penalties are applied."

Last week, the office of a political-science professor and outspoken defender of Israel in Montreal was vandalized with anti-Semitic slogans. The words “Heil Israel”, written in French, were found scrawled on the professor’s office door at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Along with the phrase, referencing the infamous Nazi slogan “Heil Hitler”, a message was found accusing the educator, who is Jewish, of being “stupid.”

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long been recognized a strong friend of the Jewish state. "[W]hen Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand," Harper said last year.

Harper said Canada must oppose demonization, double standards and de-legitimization.

"Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tell us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us," he said.

"Whether it is at the United Nations or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of honest broker," Harper added.

The Canadian prime minister further affirmed that "as long as I am prime minister… Canada will take not that stand, whatever the cost."