Don’t ignore the ugly faces beneath the virtuous masks

The story of Laith Marouf, who was open about his extreme views but was a key figure in the ‘decolonisation’ movement, is a cautionary tale about how bigotry can be overlooked

September 08, 2022 15:10

In August 2021, under the heading of “Building a More Inclusive Canada”, the Canadian government announced grants of 20 million Canadian dollars to 92 schemes designed to “remove systemic barriers” faced by the country’s minorities.

Among them was an outfit called the Community Media Advocacy Centre, which was allocated the very precise sum of $133,822. Through a “series of engagements across Canada” CMAC was to address “employment-related barriers” in Canadian broadcasting and media.

Were you to visit CMAC’s website (and I promise the point of this will become clear all too soon) you would discover its “mission” summarised in one ominous sentence: “to disrupt settler colonialism and oppression in the media”.

However, should you then click on the menu item that promises to take you to a list of CMAC’s board members and consultants, you will be rewarded with the legend: “You seem to be lost”.

It’s little wonder that CMAC has become so suddenly coy.

A few weeks ago, a citizen researcher who had been doing a little bit of digging revealed the public history of one of CMAC’s leading “consultants”, a chap called Laith Marouf. In the first instance, the evidence for this was found hiding in plain view on Marouf’s Twitter account. Then more of his social media utterances were uncovered.

On 17 July 2021, for example, Marouf had posted: “Life is too short for shoes with laces, or for entertaining Jewish White Supremacists with anything but a bullet to the head.”

Since Marouf has a broad definition of Jewish White Supremacists, this could be seen as something of general invitation to go out and shoot a Jew.

Another post of his had a more local application: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, a.k.a. the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of their (sic) Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters”.

Here he adopted the “anti-imperialist” inversion of the usual conspiracy theory, so that the Jews are the puppets of the Americans. For, as he tweeted elsewhere, all Jews were good for was “porn and pedophilia”.

There wasn’t just a little bit of this, there was lots of it and, far from being the long-ago products of a regretted youth, these were the recent utterances of a man in middle age. So in Canada the balloon went up, the relevant minister withdrew the grant, the prime minister apologised and everyone else wondered how on earth this had happened.

Which we’ll come to in a moment, pausing first to wonder at the description in a Canadian newspaper of Marouf’s “edgy tweets” (presumably Mein Kampf would have been described as “controversial”), but also to credit Marouf’s lawyer with the worst defence of a client heard in many a year. Marouf, said Stephen Ellis, held no animosity against Jewish people as such.

Allowing, however, that “while not the most artfully expressed, the tweets reflect a frustration with the reality of Israeli apartheid and a Canadian government which collaborates with it”.

For obvious reasons, almost all the initial coverage concentrated on Marouf’s violent antisemitism. Did not (wrote several commentators) the employment as an anti-racist trainer of an open Jew-baiter suggest a casual attitude towards this particular form of racism?

And so it did. But it showed some other things as well.

Marouf’s targets were far from just being Jewish or Israeli. Canada itself was “an Apartheid colony”, French Canadians were “frogs” who should “go back to your franco gutter”, the death of General Colin Powell was to be celebrated because he was “the Jamaican house-slave of the Empire”, too few Americans had been killed in Vietnam and so on.

The son of a Syrian diplomat, Marouf does not live in Canada, although he has recently achieved citizenship, but in Beirut. Clearly these days he travels back regularly to help out with his unique brand of anti-racism.

But in Beirut, his writings and media appearances show he’s a big Hezbollah fan. And in neighbouring Syria he’s an Assad supporter; in October 2019 he and several well-known Western Assad apologists and conspiracy theorists hooked up in Damascus to celebrate the crushing of the Arab Spring.

He makes regular appearances on the YouTube channels used by the kinds of “journalists” who specialise in discovering that the Syrian government is innocent of using any chemical weapons, and on Iranian and Syrian TV channels.

Here he ceases to be a Canadian anti-racist consultant but morphs into a Beirut-based commentator or expert. And since to be pro-Assad is also to be pro-Putin, he deprecates the “pretend Jew” Zelensky and his “Zionist-Nazi regime” in Kyiv.

He is the full old-style Ba’athist McCoy, channelling a tradition that welcomed fugitive Nazis after the war and harboured Abu Nidal and his pitiless killers in the 80s.

He is in the fullest sense an enemy of democracy and of the Jews.

And now he has infiltrated (without even disguising himself) into the softest part of the political body: the all-too-often self-righteous, self-heroising, unreflective and historically ignorant “decolonisation” movement.

And all anyone had to do was look.

September 08, 2022 15:10

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