SO, HERE WE HAVE A CANADIAN POLITICIAN/TALK SHOW HOST DECIDING WHAT NATIONS “DESERVE” TO EXIST. SPECIFICALLY THE NATION OF ISRAEL. I WONDER HOW HE’LL FEEL WHEN THE NORTH AFRICAN MUSLIMS HE’S SO EAGER TO EMBRACE START BUILDING THEIR MUSLIM NO GO AREAS IN QUEBEC? AFTER ALL, NON MUSLIMS DON’T DESERVE ANYTHING UNDER ISLAM..
Israel ‘does not deserve to exist’: Quebec TV host
Tamsin McMahon Jan 5, 2012 – 8:24 PM ET | Last Updated: Jan 6, 2012 10:05 AM ET
Christinne Muschi for National Post files
“Products made in Israel on land stolen from the Palestinians that is walled in, in an apartheid regime where they are cut off, it’s very serious,” said Stephane Gendron, TV host and Mayor of Huntingdon, Que. “And a country like that does not deserve to exist.”
An outspoken Quebec television host and mayor who questioned Israel’s right to exist has drawn the ire of an international Jewish human rights group and sparked an investigation by the national broadcast regulator.
Stéphane Gendron, host of Face à Face, a daily talk show on Quebec’s V Television network, garnered a flood of complaints after a December broadcast where he said he supported an ongoing boycott of a Montreal store that sold Israeli-made shoes. “Products made in Israel on land stolen from the Palestinians that is walled in, in an apartheid regime where they are cut off, it’s very serious,” said Mr. Gendron, who is also the mayor of Huntingdon, a small town south of Montreal. “And a country like that does not deserve to exist.”
The remarks sparked outrage from Jewish groups after a clip of the show was posted on YouTube by HonestReporting Canada, a website that monitors the media for anti-Israel bias. The California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center has since launched a protest against the network demanding Mr. Gendron’s show be cancelled.
“When someone who is a public figure is saying that Israel doesn’t deserve to exist, that statement is not made in a vacuum,” said the organization’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper.
“It can’t go unchallenged considering you have in Quebec both Jews and Muslims and, especially in Montreal, people very committed to the state of Israel and also a number of groups that are quite vociferous and actively against Israel.”
The centre was still waiting for a response from the network and said it hadn’t ruled out a campaign to pressure the federal government to get involved. “He definitely has his right to his opinion, but to be given a consistent platform by a network in Canada is just something that should not happen,” Rabbi Cooper said. “Somewhere along the line the network has to say, well, maybe let’s put him on a cooking show.”
Mr. Gendron defended his comments on Thursday, saying he’s not promoting hate speech against Jews or Israel, but rather taking issue with the Middle Eastern country’s politics. “I am defending a state with both Palestine and Israel living together,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I may be naive, but this is my position. Israel as it is today is not my cup of tea.”
He said he often makes public comments condemning the Holocaust and that for generations his town survived on a textile mill started by a family of Jewish immigrants. When the mill closed in 2005, Mr. Gendron, as mayor, said he helped negotiate for the town to buy the mill and turn it into an industrial park named after the mill’s Jewish founders.
“People try to portray myself as an anti-Semite. This is false and ridiculous,” he said. He has not received any notice that his show might be cancelled because of the complaints.
Diane Patenaude, spokeswoman for the Montreal-based network, said the company was planning to meet with Mr. Gendron and the show’s producers next week. “We do have concerns and that’s why will be meeting with the production team,” she said.
Mr. Gendron is a longtime broadcaster and newspaper columnist, but only started hosting Face à Face in September. Ms Patenaude said the show isn’t a news show and Mr. Gendron isn’t a journalist. “The concept of the show is really to speak on numerous topics of interest and provoke debate and discussion,” she said. “But we want to make sure when we provoke debate that both sides are being discussed and shown,” she said.
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, the industry association that governs most Canadian TV stations, said it has received at least six complaints about Mr. Gendron’s show since November and had ordered the station to hand over a copy of the broadcast for an investigation.
Mr. Gendron is no stranger to controversy. As mayor of Huntingdon, in 2004 Mr. Gendron pushed the town to impose a curfew to crack down on youth vandalism in the community, although it was never enacted. Last year, Mr. Gendron announced plans to build a mosque and a halal slaughterhouse in the 2,600-person town in hopes of boosting its population with an influx of French-speaking Muslims from North Africa.
He has no plans to stop making public pronouncements on Israel. “I have the right to express publicly my position,” he said. “What they ask is a violation of fundamental rights.” National Post