Adbusters Magazine, a Vancouver-based publication describing itself as “a global collective of writers, designers, musicians, poets, philosophers and punks,” has a long and sordid history of publishing anti-Israel propaganda in its pages.
The magazine has denied Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State, labelling the country’s entire 75 years of modern history as “occupation, oppression & apartheid,” it has compared Marwan Barghouti, a convicted Palestinian terrorist in an Israeli jail, with South African icon Nelson Mandela, among many other disgraceful incidents that crossed the line into antisemitism, including its comparing the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto.
Tragically, the start of this year has seemingly not brought any new maturity, moderation or nuance to the publication.
In Adbusters’ February 21 edition, the magazine published a very disturbing “Message to the People of Palestine,” which read in part, “fight fight fight for your freedom…plunge into a third intifada…do whatever it takes…fight fight fight like hell…” Below this message, a poster appears calling for “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” of Israel, which Prime Minister Trudeau in the past has strongly condemned.
While publishing anti-Israel propaganda and disinformation is nothing new for Adbusters, this may be a new low.
This message, encouraging Palestinians to “plunge into a third intifada,” is in our view an explicit encouragement of violence and terrorism against Israelis. The intifada, or Palestinian uprising, refers to a period of unrelenting terrorism & violence perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis, both military & civilian alike.
During the first two Palestinian intifadas (1987-1993, and 2000-2005), more than 1,200 Israelis, mostly innocent civilians, were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
Some of the most noteworthy attacks were the Passover massacre in 2002, when 30 Israelis, mostly seniors, were blown up by a suicide bomber as they sat down for a Passover seder in a hotel ballroom in the city of Netanya, a 2001 suicide bombing of the Dolphinarium discotheque, which murdered 21 Israelis, mostly youth, and a 2001 suicide bombing of a pizzeria in Jerusalem, killing 15 civilians, including seven children and a pregnant woman.
On another page in the same February 21 edition of Adbusters, the magazine published a photo, ostensibly of an Israeli soldier in front of a security fence, along with the caption “What does this remind you of?” While the magazine does not spell out explicitly the connection, reasonable minds would conclude that it is once again attempting to make a comparison between this image and a Nazi concentration camp.
It hardly goes without saying that such a comparison is not only ludicrous and totally unsubstantiated but also incredibly offensive and antisemitic.
Israel is a liberal democracy serving Jews and Arabs alike. Palestinians who live in Judea & Samaria (often called the “West Bank” by the news media) live primarily under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Nazi Germany, in contrast, imprisoned and murdered millions of those it deemed to be subhuman, including homosexuals, disabled persons, political prisoners, as well as its most hated target: Jews, 6 million who were systematically murdered.
Thus, attempting to draw a comparison between Nazi Germany and Israel, which is attempting to protect its citizens from the type of Palestinian terrorism which killed scores of its civilians, is simply unconscionable. In part for this reason, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism notes that making “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.
Worse yet, Adbusters is not simply an irrelevant publication spewing nonsense; it was the recipient of nearly $30,000 in taxpayer dollars, paid out as part of federal government Covid-19 relief payments to Canadian media outlets.
In November 2022, HonestReporting Canada revealed – based on a report from Canadaland.com – that Adbusters magazine, as well as Meshwar, an anti-Israel, Arabic-language newspaper based in Mississauga, Ontario, had received taxpayer funding.
Following HonestReporting Canada’s alert, Montreal Member of Parliament (MP) Anthony Housefather published a tweet, thanking HonestReporting Canada for its investigation and saying “We are looking into this right away.”
His tweet was shared by Pablo Rodriguez, Canada’s Minister of Canadian Heritage (which oversaw the relief funds), saying that “the department has launched a review of the grants in accordance with the rules of the program.”
In a meeting with HonestReporting Canada and Heritage Canada in 2022, it was conveyed that Meshwar should never have received funding and the Government of Canada forced the publication to return the funds it received as part of the program.
However, nearly four months later, Heritage Canada has yet to announce the results of its investigation into the hopeful (de)funding of Adbusters magazine, despite HRC’s meeting with Heritage Canada again in January 2023, where we asked why the investigation is proceeding at a glacial pace, to which, the only answer we received is that this can be attributed to the slow pace of Canadian bureaucracy. To which, we responded that this was unacceptable.
It is unclear what further details Heritage Canada is seeking to determine that Adbusters is a unworthy recipient of federal taxpayer dollars, but in the event more evidence is required, its investigators need to look no further than the most recent edition of the magazine.
HRC has once again briefed Heritage Canada about Adbusters hateful content, but what will it take for Heritage Canada to finally recognize the grotesque character of Adbusters and to ensure it never again receives taxpayer funding?