Exclusive: Unmasking Naved Awan, A Prominent Toronto Anti-Israel Activist

In recent months, HonestReporting Canada (HRC) has catalogued the hateful activities of Firas al-Najim, an anti-Israel activist who has harassed shoppers outside an Israeli store on Canada Day, accosted Holocaust survivors at a Jewish charity event, and accused “Zionists” of blackmailing Canadian news organizations.

But al-Najim is not alone; an exclusive HonestReporting Canada investigation has exposed another individual for his anti-Israel activities, which HRC considers to be hateful, dangerous and antisemitic based on the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

Naved Awan, an activist affiliated with the Toronto4Palestine group, has been actively involved in a number of anti-Israel activities in recent years.

Most recently, Awan participated in a demonstration against the visit of Naftali Bennett, Israel’s former prime minister, when Bennett was in Toronto as the keynote speaker for an event hosted by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC). Alongside fellow protesters, Awan, in our view, harassed, intimidated and yelled at event attendees as they entered the building where the event took place, and continued to yell on a microphone during the program, repeatedly attempting to interrupt the program. Awan also had a leading role in this demonstration on May 22 at the UJA’s Walk With Israel which included explicit support of terrorist groups and bombing of Israeli communities.

 

In an Instagram post from June 22, the group shared videos of Awan and other demonstrators harassing attendees going to the event, screaming into bullhorns as they walked into the building.

 

Awan’s social media presence has included praise for Palestinian terrorism against Israelis.

One Instagram post from February 6, of a demonstration over a Toronto overpass where activists waved Palestinian flags, showed Awan waving a Palestinian flag, and read, in part: “We will continue to expose racist je*ish settlers for the scum that they are.”

 

The post continued by strongly suggesting that Israeli civilians are legitimate targets for Palestinian terrorists.

According to the Instagram post, “many dont (sic) know that the Palestinian armed resistance is legal,” adding that “there are no such thing as isra*li citizens in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. They are all illegal settlers and thus not innocent…” Later, the post read that “We will continue to support and praise the UN recognized legal armed Palestinian resistance in occupied territories.”

In the video, Awan told viewers that “We are praising the resistance… all the resistance in the West Bank, in Gaza, in occupied Jerusalem, all armed resistance is legal, and we celebrate it!”

Such rhetoric may seem harmless, but scores of Israeli civilians have been murdered by Palestinian civilians based on such twisted logic. In April, an Israeli mother and her two daughters were shot to death by a Palestinian terrorist as they drove in a car in the area, and were guilty of no other crime beyond being Jewish and daring to live in Judea and Samaria, the land of their ancestors for thousands of years.

In a Facebook post from 2018, Awan shared that Fadi Abu Salah (sometimes spelled Fadi Hassan Salman Abu Silmi) was killed by Israeli forces, and asked that “Allah elevate his status.” Abu Salah was not an innocent civilian, but was a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an extremist Islamist terrorist group, and was participating in hostilities at the time of his death.

Unsurprisingly, Awan’s social media posts were not limited to praising Palestinian terrorism and terrorists, but also veered into overt antisemitism, in our view.

Posting on his personal Facebook page in 2018, Awan shared a “fact finding visit” event to the Toronto neighbourhood of Thorncliffe Park hosted by the Jewish Defence League (JDL), and wrote that Zionists have been shit disturbers since the time they tried to kill Isa [Jesus] (peace be upon Him).  **I hope no one throws eggs at them from their balconies**”

The term Zionism is relatively modern, dating to the late 1800s, and any reasonable observer would conclude that Awan was referring to Jews in general as “shit disturbers,” before appearing to suggest that residents of Thorncliffe Park should throw eggs at JDL members.

In 2017, Facebook posts by Awan shared classically antisemitic tropes, writing that “The Zionists…love money and interest,” another referred to a Jewish religious ritual which involves slaughtering a chicken and donating it to the poor as “barbaric and cruel,” claimed that the Jews were divinely “struck with humiliation,” and referring to Jews as “a cursed people.”

Awan’s Facebook posts were a veritable cornucopia of religious messaging, beseeching God to “remove the oppressors” in Jerusalem, “cleanse the Holy Lands of all oppressors,” “turn the situation of the zionists into a miserable one,” and to “remove the filth of the occupiers.”

Click to view larger images of Facebook posts by Naved Awan

As Awan increasingly becomes a prominent anti-Israel activist, we’re of the view that it’s imperative that his repugnant social media posts and his public exploits become public, so that he can become exposed as a hateful disseminator of anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda.

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