Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Canadian Ward Candidate Under Fire for Antisemitic Social Media Posts

A woman running for municipal office in Oakville is facing criticism over some of her online posts that many deem antisemitic and demonize Israel. Ward 6 councillor candidate Lama Aggad, however, vehemently denies the allegations and says the posts criticize an unjust war.

B’nai Brith Canada supplied a screenshot of one message posted on Aggad’s Twitter account on July 17, 2014, which can no longer be found online, that reads: “The world is sick of #israel & its insanities. It’s time for a revolution against this terrorist Israeli regime #Gazaunderattack #kids #Gaza.”

Aggad, citing a large number of civilian casualties taking place at the time of this post, said her comments were directed at the “reckless regime” and denies accusations of antisemitism.

A second Aggad Twitter post, supplied by the group, from Nov. 19, 2012, which can no longer be found online, reads: “It’s obvious who’s winning this unequal war >> #Hamas. Apparently being “powerful” solves nothing! #israel is going down!/2 #GazaUnderAttack.”

“We’re very disappointed a person like this would present herself as a candidate,” said Marvin Rotrand, national director of B’nai Brith’s league of human rights.

Aggad, an online media presenter, unequivocally denies the allegations of antisemitism. She said her critiques are about foreign policy. Criticizing wars, illegal occupations, and advocating for justice and peace have absolutely nothing to do with antisemitism or the Jewish faith, she said.

“Today we stand with Ukraine and the people of Ukraine because we reject occupation and the unjust wars by all its forms,” said Aggad in a written statement.

“By saying that, it should never be interpreted that we are against Russians or we are anti-Russian. These are double standards, and I will not fall into this trap.”

Aggad also noted these tweets are from about 10 years ago and says she sees things differently now. She confirmed she posted the tweets.

She said that in a 2021 video, she talked about Judaism promoting peace and not tolerating hate and the killing of innocent people.

Aggad said she also stated in this video that there’s no honourable way to kill or destroy, the only good thing about war is its ending.

Another statement that appears to have been reposted to Aggad’s Facebook account on Jan. 16, 2022 and still appeared as of Sept. 26, 2022, asks “What will happen if a Zionist-Israeli found an insect in his coffee?” It goes on to provide multiple answers, including “cry to the media that his safety is in danger” and “continue crying about the Jews torment in Hitler’s incinerators and anti-Semitic assault on human rights.”

This, Aggad argued, was an old sarcastic joke.

A Sept. 15, 2015 post, which as of Sept. 26, 2022 was still on Aggad’s Facebook page, reads: “The so called #Isreal is not just a #apartheid state, it is a collection of barbaric psychopaths occupying our land. Look at them arresting those poor Palestinian children after school. Look how terrified they were.”

The post is accompanied by a video that appears to show members of the Israeli Defense Force taking a group of children into custody.

Rotrand says he does not buy Aggad’s argument that her online activity can be chalked up to political commentary.

“It’s OK to criticize Israel, but this woman isn’t criticizing Israel, she’s vilifying it,” he said.

Rotrand noted this is not the first time B’nai Brith and Aggad have clashed.

After Nathaniel Veltman was charged with allegedly running down a Muslim family with his truck in London on June 6, 2021, B’nai Brith took to social media to counter statements that the suspect was Jewish and that the alleged attack was related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

No evidence has been provided to support either suggestion.

The charges against Veltman have not been proven in court.

B’nai Brith provided a screenshot of a June 9, 2021 tweet in which Lama TV, one of Aggad’s Twitter handles, tweeted in response: “Veltman is a Jewish surname. Prove to us it isn’t.”

B’nai Brith brought this exchange to the attention of OMNI National Television, which at one point had broadcast Aggad’s show Lama TV.

When reached for comment, an OMNI spokesperson confirmed that OMNI Television discontinued Lama TV in December 2020 for production reasons, but noted in light of Aggad’s comments, they do not intend to work with her in the future.

Aggad acknowledged her tweet concerning the London incident was poorly worded.

“It was posted in a heated moment in response to another tweet, and after speaking to my Jewish friends and Jewish religious leaders, I understood clearly how it could be read in many different ways,” said Aggad.

“However, it was a learning opportunity for me to address the faces of antisemitism as I am an advocate for all cultures and reject all forms of racism. I stand with humanity, justice and peace.”

B’nai Brith also brought Aggad’s social media comments to the attention of Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie after Crombie awarded Lama TV a certificate of recognition in November 2021.

The certificates are intended to celebrate the positive achievements of the diverse and talented members of the Mississauga community.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Crombie’s office said they were unaware of the comments on Aggad’s social media channels when the certificate was issued.

“As the mayor of one of the most diverse cities in the country, she has always taken a strong stance against racism and hate in all its forms,” said the spokesperson.

“The mayor did ask us as her staff to review the vetting process that we use to avoid situations like this occurring again.”

Given her social media comments, Rotrand argues Aggad does not deserve to be in office and voiced concerns about what she would do with the position, noting municipal councils can lobby other levels of government.

Aggad, who says she now resides in Oakville, said she is committed to the residents of the town, and if elected Ward 6 councillor she would work in their best interests.

She also pointed out that in her capacity as a media presenter, she has spoken about the Black Lives Matter movement as well as issues of racism in the Middle East.

She went on to say that she has created her media platform from scratch and has used it to bring news and other media to Canadian residents in the GTA and beyond.