[Boycott - Zionist Lobby]
Black Panther stopped at border - 'Jewish lobby' blamed
Joseph Brean, National Post
16 May 2007
TORONTO - Black youth activists in Toronto are blaming the "Jewish lobby" for the decision yesterday morning by border guards to deny entry into Canada to Malik Zulu Shabazz, a controversial black American lawyer and activist, who had been scheduled to address an afternoon protest rally at the Ontario legislature.
The message to me was clear. It was, 'Black man, you will not speak in Canada today'
Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz
National Chairman, New Black Panther Party for Self Defense
Nkem Anizor, president of the New Black Youth Taking Action, an activist network formed after a spree of gun violence in Toronto in 2005, told a morning news conference that she wanted to draw attention to the unfairness of the provincial Safe Schools Act toward black youth and the potential benefits of black-focused schools, and to denounce the construction of a superjail for youth in Brampton.
Instead, both her news conference and afternoon rally were sullied by vague accusations of Jewish meddling.
"The black community has no political maturity in Toronto, and our first weak little attempt to have a rally is being lambasted and blown apart because one group does not like who we chose," said Ms. Anizor, 26, a human biology grad from the University of Toronto who now works full time as an activist.
Mr. Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panthers, is a notorious figure in black activism in America. Based in Washington, he is a criminal defence lawyer, and helped to organize the Million Man March with Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. He is also reported to have claimed Jews stayed home en masse from the World Trade Center on 9/11, and to have said, on the topic of police aggression, that "The only solution any time there is a funeral in the black community is a funeral in the police community."
Ms. Anizor defended her choice of speaker yesterday.
"What's to blame is the power of the Jewish lobby to influence politicians, to influence media, to influence whatever it took. Because it took one letter, one press release from B'nai Brith [a Jewish human rights group], and the firestorm began," she said. "You guys [media] are all here because of what B'nai Brith told you.... They've injected themselves, trying to dictate who the black community can and cannot hear."
New Black Youth Taking Action, addresses
a rally for equal rights for black
youths yesterday at Queen's Park.
She defended her choice of speaker -
What's to blame is the power of the Jewish lobby to influence politicians, to influence media, to influence whatever it took. Because it took one letter, one press release from B'nai Brith, and the firestorm began. You guys [media] are all here because of what B'nai Brith told you.... They've injected themselves, trying to dictate who the black community can and cannot hear.
Nkem Anizor, president of the New Black Youth Taking Action
Mr. Shabazz's border difficulties began when he arrived on a morning flight to Toronto's Pearson airport, only to find "an army of agents" with newspaper clippings and printouts from the Internet. They said he could not enter the country because he was charged six years ago with a misdemeanour offence, which he said stemmed from an altercation with police at a political rally. That charge never went to trial, he said.
"All of them knew me and knew who I was, and what I do," Mr. Shabazz said. "The message to me was clear. It was, 'Black man, you will not speak in Canada today.' "
"We're applauding it," said Anita Bromberg of B'nai Brith Canada, which lobbied against Mr. Shabazz's visit. "They [border guards] took a stand against racism and that's what we asked them to do. You don't build an anti-racist agenda by founding it on racist notions."
Mr. Shabazz said authorities offered to fly him "anywhere in the world," but that he could not enter Canada. He left by plane to Buffalo, then tried to cross the border by car, but was again spotted and turned away.
"Canada is on Malik Shabazz alert," he said. "B'nai Brith has won this one, and I'm starting to see the power of the Jewish lobby in Canada, full force. I thought Canada was free."
He said his views have been "grossly mischaracterized," and that he is an anti-Zionist, not an anti-Semite.
"I was coming to preach a message of love and solidarity among black people. I had a very positive message and I'm very disappointed that, instead, they would choose to muzzle my voice, which leads me to believe that they have something to be afraid of. I'm really ashamed. I come from a land where free speech is a benchmark, and I didn't realize that there's no free speech in Canada, that certain parties can choose who gets to deliver a message. I think this is evidence that black people are being oppressed in Canada," he said.
His absence was disappointing for Ms. Anizor's cause.
"I wish we had more black people," she said at the rally at Queen's Park, attended by maybe 100 people plus at least two dozen journalists.
Around her, people carried placards, one of which read: "Don't snitch Rich' Steele," a reference to Richard Steele, a key witness to the Boxing Day 2005 shooting of Jane Creba.
Mr. Steele's lawyer, Selwyn Pieters, acted on behalf of the BYTA in its efforts to host the rally at Queen's Park.
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