Follow the money — taxpayer cash funding anti-Israel rallies?

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Governments-funded hate rallies?

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Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic protestors are getting paid to protest. That was the revelation that Postmedia shared last week.

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In Canada and the United States, groups and individuals are receiving thousands — sometimes tens of thousands — to stage angry, and occasionally violent, protests against the Jewish state.

But some of that money, this newspaper has now discovered, is actually coming from levels of government.

Some will say they aren’t surprised. The shocking tale of Laith Marouf, for example, is why.

Marouf and his “Community Media Advocacy Centre” received more than $125,000 from the federal government to ostensibly fund projects to help combat racism. But, after Marouf was found posting wildly anti-Semitic content online — one tweet saw Marouf describing Jews as “loud-mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists” — the Justin Trudeau government reluctantly agreed to try to get the money back.

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But Marouf is now in Beirut, broadcasting more vile anti-Semitism — with the full support of the Iranian regime, we have learned. And few expect the Trudeau government will be successful in getting back the $125,000.

Watchdog Honest Reporting Canada, meanwhile, has found that the feds have supplied another anti-Israel organization — the Pride Centre of Edmonton — with $138,000 in funds. The Centre recently signed onto a notorious anti-Semitic open letter that denied that Israeli women and girls were raped, and subjected to horrific sexual violence, by Hamas on Oct. 7. That letter referred to this country as “so-called Canada” and called on MPs to resign for their “complicity” in “genocide.”

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Meanwhile, Postmedia has now confirmed that the Plenty Collective — a Victoria, B.C., group that has supplied anti-Israel protestors with as much as $20,000 a month to participate in hate rallies — has actually received government money.

The collective, which has organized multiple anti-Israel protests for months, received $28,000 from the Victoria Foundation, a registered charity. The foundation, in turn, receives hundreds of thousands in funding from the Trudeau government’s “Investment Readiness Program.”

Just last year, for example, the foundation got more than half a million from the feds. It passed along thousands to the Plenty Collective for “gender equity” — which it insists was from a separate account. But when asked about the “review process” it has started, to see how that money was used, the foundation would not say if it would demand the return of any funds used inappropriately.

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But the anti-Israel Plenty Collective benefitted from its relationship with the Victoria-based Belfry Theatre, too. The theatre group is a not-for-profit, putting on half-a-dozen plays a year. But — for reasons that are unclear — the Belfry Theatre also passed along monies received from the government-supported Victoria Foundation to the Plenty Collective.

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On its website, the theatre claims that “through the Victoria Foundation Community Grants Program the Belfry similarly assisted the Plenty Collective to implement queer community building, with an intersectional lens, through nourishment, art, and connection.” But after Postmedia reported the collective was funding anti-Israel protests, the theatre hurriedly announced this:

“We have been assured by the Plenty Collective that the Victoria Foundation grant is being used for community arts-based projects. Together with the Victoria Foundation and the Plenty Collective, we are reviewing the grant activities undertaken by the Plenty Collective.”

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The theatre group has not responded to this reporter’s questions about its relationship with the anti-Israel Plenty Collective — and whether federal government, non-profit or charity funds were used to fund anti-Israel protests.

Tellingly, however, the theatre has cancelled a showing of a play called The Runner, after the Plenty Collective objected to it. The play sympathetically depicts an Orthodox Jew who works for ZAKA, an organization that collects the remains of Jews killed by terrorists. (Full disclosure: this writer has raised funds for ZAKA in the past through the sale of my paintings.)

It is a disturbing tale: anti-Israel protestors being paid to protest. And, now, multiple examples of government funding, directly or indirectly, the organizations that put on those protests.

Says Ian Ward, a councillor for Colwood on Vancouver Island, who has led the charge against anti-Semitic activity there: “As long as municipal, provincial and federal politicians refuse to condemn anti-Semitism, and stall on a needed call for investigations into funding, we will continue to see our cities held hostage and our democracy under threat.”

Ward is right. It’s time for an inquiry. It’s time to follow the money.

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