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Saturday, June 30, 2012

My evening with bitter fanatics

A seemingly innocuous storefront operation called Beit Zatoun, in downtown Toronto`s funky Mirvish Village, peddles cheap anti-Israel propaganda literature and expensive Palestinian olive oil. A couple of weeks ago, it was the scene of a gathering of grungy fanatics intent on venting their hatred for a democracy surrounded by barbarity. 

I was asked to observe by The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), an organization that advocates for tolerance and provides education about the Holocaust and other examples of the horrors that befall civilization when the basic rules of human behavior break down. I do some work for FSWC on occasion and they wanted me to check out a lecture by Eva Bartlett, a member of the extremist anti-Israel organization, the International Solidarity Movement
Some of the propaganda art on display
A dismal turnout of about two dozen hard-core anti-Zionists (and I) were the only attendees of the two and a half hours of tedium on June 14th that had been promoted by the free weekly Toronto newspaper NOW.  

With a backdrop of an exhibit called “A Child’s View of Gaza,” a handful of drawings depicting Jews as bloodthirsty killers and Palestinians as innocent victims, Ms Bartlett narrated a slide show that duplicated the message of the artwork. The Canadian Arab Federation’s former President and Vice President Khalled Muammar and Ali Mallah, Sea Hitler Gaza boat hysteric David Heap, anti-Israel zealot Karin Brothers and a smattering of familiar faces from the local anti-Zionist scene made up the whole of the audience. The room resembled a residents’ dietary committee meeting at a geriatric centre but with worse fashion-sense; the average age of the attendees being about 68.   

The anti-Israel community in Toronto is relatively small and close-knit, characterized by a paranoia and narcissism which makes for a curious conflict of needs. On one hand they relish attention, but on the other, they deplore being made to look ridiculous, which given what they say and do is a frequent outcome.  It was therefore a little amusing and not unexpected when, prior to Bartlett beginning her talk, she and a frumpy, white-haired woman wearing a Canadian Gaza Boat t-shirt gave me the distinction of approaching to ask my identity. I told my name to Bartlett, who is wispy, high-strung and appears to be in her mid 30's,and she further inquired, "are you Blazing Cat Fur?" 

Blazing Cat Fur is a conservative, pro-Zionist Toronto blogger who has been responsible for breaking a number of stories about Islamic extremism and abuse of authority by government and unions at the local, provincial and federal levels. A soft-spoken fellow, he does this all on his own time and expense and his work has often attracted international attention, as in the case of the Valley Park Middle School Mosqueteria. That the coterie of kooks at Beit Zatoun would be so intimidated at the possible presence of that lone, mild-mannered, independent citizen journalist tells volumes about their neurotic fear of being deprived of approbation.

The message of Bartlett’s talk was as vicious as it was facile, saying, “all of the problems in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria are because of the Zionists.” The so-called peace activist stated that “violent resistance is legitimate,” while making continual reference to Palestinian “martyrs.”  What made this all the more ironic was that the lecture was sponsored by an organization that deceptively calls itself Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East . 

Photographs of one Palestinian family after another appeared on the screen with Bartlett describing each as “desperately poor.” These families had two, three, six, eight children or more with most about to expect another soon. Without her realization,  Bartlett’s lecture undermined the message she was trying to convey, that Israel is the sole cause of the Palestinians' problems. Any middle class North American family would also be desperately poor if they were to continue to have households of up to a dozen children without  the means of supporting them. Bartlett provided the additional example of the family of her husband, a Palestinian from Gaza, who she said had fifteen (15) siblings and also grew up “desperately poor.” This brought to mind the saying of Israel's Prime Minister Golda Meir, that "peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us." The lack of responsibility in producing multitudes of children they cannot properly care for reiterated that in Palestinian society, children are often just another weapon for propaganda and fodder for jihad. With their pathological fixation on Israel being the cause of all the world's ills, such obvious insights eluded Bartlett and her cultish audience. 

She blamed the traumatisation of children in Gaza on Israel while not once mentioning Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel or the Palestinians' own traumatisation of their children by encouraging them to hate and be killers and suicide bombers from kindergarten age.  

The tragedy of events like Bartlett’s speech, as uninfluential and unimportant as they are, is that by investing all their energies into trying to delegitimize Israel under the guise of peace activism, such people merely entrench lies and polarize fanatics into postures that make achieving peace in the middle east an even more difficult prospect.
David Heap with Eva Bartlett (left)

An unusual addendum to the evening came about in the question and answer period following Bartlett's presentation in a furious tirade by Sea Hitler organizer David Heap.  A pudgy, slovenly-looking man with a double-chinned face and neck perpetually full of stubble suggesting an impersonation of the late Yasser Arafat, were you to see Heap while driving past a street corner, your immediate concern might be that he would try to wipe your windshield with a greasy rag. Like so many of his cohorts, he comes off as unrelentingly bitter and aggrieved.

On this occasion, when considering why the media didn't give nonentities like him and Bartlett more attention, Heap angrily railed against a small but effective organization called Honest Reporting Canada. Run almost single-handed by a thoughtful young man named Mike Fegelman, Honest Reporting Canada (HRC) monitors media for distortions and falsehoods they broadcast about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and publicizes them.

Heap indignantly alleged that Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reporters had privately told him they would like to do more stories on Palestine, but the focus from HRC had made their editors wary of it. The attention has compelled the CBC to have to apologize and correct a number of erroneous reports. If Heap's account was true, then having to ensure accuracy in their reporting on a subject must have been a daunting enough prospect for the frequently inept news service of Canada's state broadcaster to make them reluctant to approach it.

Thus Heap's confession of frustration at an evening of bias confirmation, like Bartlett's lecture itself, provided an unintended value; not to them, but to others. The truth that emerged from their huddle of self-affirmation and self-congratulation is not of how much they have accomplished, but of how little and how self-discrediting they are in the process.


I'll get you, you Zionist antagonist!
And your little dog too!
UPDATE (July 7): Ms Bartlett came across this piece which was graciously recommended by National Post Comment Editor Jonathan Kay. Apparently she became so upset that she took to writing an angry essay about it in an anti-Semitic, 9-11 conspiracist website called deLiberation. It also features writers like Jew haters Greg Felton and Gilad Atzom, lunatic Jihad-advocate Lauren Booth, and a slew of 9-11 conspiracy nuts such as Alan Hart and Martin Iqbal, plus links to the Holocaust-denying site Veterans Today.  The approving user comments on her piece equal or surpass in hate and bigotry the sort of things one would expect from the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.

"Peace" activist Bartlett, who is a big fan of the terror group Hezbollah, cites discredited 9-11 conspiracist Richard Falk as a "respected" source along with other equally vapid and dishonest attempts to obfuscate an obvious truth. If the leadership of Gaza would explicitly recognize Israel's right to exist and unequivocally commit to a cessation of violence, there would be peace. But we never hear that from these fake "peace" activists, do we?

Oh, and here's an important video about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, home to one of the fattest populations on Earth:

More "human rights abuses":


Anne said...

What a bunch of maroons!

Melvin Muskrat said...

Nice article. These are sad people to be sure. But Mr. Fur you left us hanging. What did you respond to her question concerning your other identity?

Richard K said...


But no, I am not Blazing Cat Fur in another identity..this is me:


Anonymous said...

Talking to BCF last Monday, he said he's getting more of that, folks going up to other bloggers and asking them if they're him.

Obviously, the don't watch Sun TV or they'd have an idea who you are.

Enjoy Canada Day!

The Gentile

Richard K said...

Happy Canada Day to you too, TG.

And no, I don't imagine too many of the Beit Zatoun crowd watch Sun TV, other than to make the odd CBSC compliant.

Yvonne said...

Dear Richard K.,

I too was present at Eva Bartlett’s presentation at Beit Zatoun. Because of that you describe me, in the space of three paragraphs, as: “bitter, grungy, fanatic, venting hatred, hard-core anti-Zionist, geriatric and having bad fashion sense.”
Thanks! I have taken a good look in the mirror and, apart from my age, not one of these labels applies to me. You may appreciate that I resent being described in such terms.

You were present at the request of the FSWC, which you say advocates tolerance.
How come they asked you? You filled a page with judgmentalism, slurs and belittling remarks. I see no evidence of tolerance.

I looked at all the children’s drawings. From memory I would say there were about 30.
You described it as a hand full. Let’s saw off at 25: five hands full.
You call the drawings ‘propaganda’. I take it that you are young and have not observed children close up. Children don’t ‘do propaganda’. They draw life as they see it. And Palestinian children in 2008-2009 heard the growling of tanks and airplanes, panicked at the shooting and bombing, saw dead, hurt and maimed people, walked in the rubble that had been buildings and homes etc. These children drew a reality that they experienced directly. This is not fantasy and certainly not propaganda.

You put down the speaker in various ways, but make no reference to the video which shows her in the farmland adjoining the border’s strip of no-man’s-land. She stands upright with a bullhorn, shouting: “Don’t shoot, we are unarmed civilians”, while shooting continues from the Israeli side of the border at Palestinian farmers trying to work their fields. I would not have the courage to stand there like that, and I doubt that you, Richard, would. How dare you belittle that courageous woman?

I have read extensively about the Holocaust. Human beings kicked out of their homes and their businesses, deprived of their possessions, isolated and imprisoned within walls and barbed wire, uncared for and shot at gratuitously.
Afterwards the survivors said: Never again!
Never again? No, there are no ovens to gas Palestinians, but don’t you see that what Israel is doing to Palestinians bears a striking resemblance to much of what Nazis did to Jews. You really need to think about that.

Finally, Richard, please hold off on being critical and putting down. It will not bring you happiness.
My greatest satisfaction in life has come from trying to understand and respect what other people say, think or do. They too have intelligence, a history and reasons behind it all.


Richard K said...

Actually Yvonne, there were quite a few less, you may have remembered more since each was accompanied by a photograph that attempted to reiterate the picture - you know, like the anti-Semitic propaganda campaign by Adbusters that showed pictures from the Holocaust beside those from Gaza without any context. Because only an absolute idiot or an anti-Semite would compare the Nazi campaign to exterminate people because of their bloodline to military actions meant to deter attacks against a civilian population. But more on that later..

And if you think children aren't capable of producing propaganda, you don't know much about children. Children produce things they are taught to and coached to produce and Palestinian schools and culture indoctrinates their children with messages of hate for the "brutal" Israeli "oppressor" from the earliest moment. So it's hardly a surprise when their art reflects that.

I'm glad you mentioned the shooting and the bullhorn, etc. There was so much to cover I didn't think it worthwhile to bring up every bit of Ms Bartlett's nonsensical propaganda lecture.

But here's what I noticed. You have these Palestinians who are gathering close to the border fence with Israel - an area from which rockets are routinely launched at Israel. The Israelis fire warning shots to scare them off. What you'd expect is that the people being shot at should move away from the fire.

But what did the video show? Bartlett and her accomplices, shouting into a bullhorn, moving TOWARDS the Israeli positions while they were obviously being warned away from them. Curious, isn't that. Only someone who is either suicidal or knows they are moving towards someone who isn't going to try to kill them is likely to do something like that. It's like they were trying to provoke more fire, like, say..oh, I don't know, for the purpose of making a propaganda video, maybe?

Your analogy of the Holocaust to the situation in Gaza is demonstrative of vapidity and inability to process context that is typical of anti-Zionist fanatics. Jews were killed in the Holocaust for being Jewish and no other reason. Gaza is blockaded because it has and continues to launch rockets and terror attacks against Israel. Its government is sworn to the destruction of Israel. Facts you people can rarely bring yourselves to admit. Israel is entitled to defend itself as is any other country. But that may be a bitter pill to swallow for someone who wants it destroyed.

You claim your "greatest satisfaction in life has come from trying to understand and respect what other people say, think or do." Given the sanctimonious tone you take, I expect you have a lot of self-satisfaction. But your ability to understand and respect people who are fighting for survival against a fanatical enemy motivated by an insatiable desire to kill in the name of Allah shows some serious deficits.

And if you were the one person among them that doesn't suffer from a lack of fashion sense..yeah, sure, maybe you were the one in the corner I didn't see..

Anonymous said...

You're sick, Topsy Turvy -- see a shrink.

Or think about what Yvonne wrote.

Anonymous said...

Karin Brothers attends Bloor Street United Church. She is a proud member of our congregation.

Richard K said...

I guess the question is: is the congregation proud of her?

For Peace said...

Karin Brothers is attending the church where this year's Craddock speaker is a man who lost 3 daughters to an Israeli shell. Yet he has written a book not about revenge and hate but peace and finding a way to peace in the region. She should read the book, learn and understand, and be less full of hate.

Peace Man said...

I find this gathering of anti-semitism reflects poorly on the United Church. Yet they have just released a 40 page report called Israel-Palestine Report where they state that Israel as a democratic nation must behave with much higher standards than the nations opposed to the State of Israel. Why? Because the Arab nations are not democratic so the United Church believes they should not be held accountable as they demand Israel to be. They call for a boycott of Israeli goods. But not of other nations.

Anonymous said...

I was doing a search and bumped into this blog entry. You insult the memory of all the innocent Jewish people killed during the Holocaust. If you are not aware of it, the vast majority of those Jews who were killed and their learned rabbis opposed the creation of the State of Israel. Putting that aside, a closed minded person like you should not go around talking about the murder of all those innocent Jews during WWII. You are using their deaths to justify your political views and that I find very cheapening. I suggest you talk to survivors of the Holocaust and you see what they think about what the Israeli government is doing to Palestinian civilians.

Richard K said...

I've revised the comments policy on my blog and would now not normally publish an anonymous comment of the idiotic type left on Jan 9, 2014, but in this case I'll make an exception.

The reason is that it is illustrative of the astounding stupidity and ignorance of anti-Israel fanatics, as well as their inability to process information.

To suggest that I was using deaths in the Holocaust to justify something in the item is based on some pathology in the mind of the imbecile who left the comment.

My point, which I will repeat, is that only an imbecile or an festering anti-Semite, or someone who is both would compare the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust. That reprehensible, false comparison is frequently made by anti-Israel cretins.

As to "what Israel is doing to Palestinian civilians" it is a direct result of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and a public commitment by them to eradicate Israel. And even so, Israel still is far more benevolent to Palestinians than their fellow Arabs in places like Lebanon and Qatar and elsewhere. A poll of Israeli Arabs found that more than 70% want to remain citizens of Israel rather than of a future Palestinian state, which would be pretty odd if all that "Israeli apartheid" bullshit were true. But of course it's not, it's anti-Israel propaganda and lies.

It's people like the slimy moron who left that comment above who try to manipulate the memory of the Holocaust to their political advantage. Israel has an abundance of valid reasons for the defensive measures it is compelled to take and there's no need to invoke the Holocaust to justify them.

Anonymous said...

A good piece. I found this after a google search on bartlett becasue I ran across a crazy piece of dog**** she posted on youtube about Syria. Seems I'm a bit more than fashionably late to the party but wanted to say thank you. So.. THANK YOU!


Unknown said...

I just want to say that your language is deplorable. Your writing is pooe, just filled up with slurs, propaganda and an incredible onesidedness that is incredible. Here I was looking for serious critique of Bartlett and what do I find? YOU. patethic and above all not possible at all to use or learn anything from. Get something else to do. This is definitively not your field.

Richard K said...

I have "an incredible onesidedness that is incredible."???
That would make me super incredible. Thanks Sven! It's always great to hear from my fans!

Steve in Micco said...

Richard, I too am quite a late guest to the party. Reading, and re-reading Yvonne's tome, I note she is silent about the aspects of the large Arab families. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong with having a bus load of kids, the parents, not the state, not society at large, have the responsibility of feeding, clothing and housing the lot. But to intentionally procreate large numbers of offspring into Gaza's self-created and perpetuated ghetto is lunacy. Cannon fodder to be used at the appropriate time aimed at the appropriate target.

Funny how many in the left tend to run in close circles. As if the Islamic Allinskyish mindset is to intentionally have, if you will, a "planned parenthood" to overwhelm the world.

That Ms. Bartlett wants to make matters even worse is painfully obvious.

None of this can end well.