Since 2016, the Canadian government has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to an anti-racism consulting group run by one Laith Marouf and his wife. Marouf—whose organization has been tasked with “building an anti-racism strategy” for Canadian broadcasting—has a longstanding record as an anti-Israel activist, and his Twitter feed is filled with vulgar and violent invective aimed at Jews, the U.S., and Canada. Nor does he appear to have qualms about hurling racial insults at Barack Obama and Colin Powell. Jonathan Kay comments:
One might imagine that [this track record] would have career-limiting implications for Marouf, a Syrian citizen whose father had been sent to Montreal on diplomatic assignment by Hafez al-Assad’s regime. Yet Marouf somehow managed to scratch out a Canadian career as a community activist, equity officer, radio host, and, most recently, government-bankrolled anti-racism consultant—all without making any effort to hide his anti-Semitic views. As well as posting hateful comments on social media, he’s also become a regular on Russian and Iranian propaganda outlets, spouting conspiracy theories about Israel, the war in Ukraine, and the Zionist machinations of the international media.
Since this story broke last week, I’ve heard a lot of [Justin] Trudeau’s critics suggest that the Marouf saga proves that Canada’s Liberal government harbors an anti-Semitic agenda. But I reject that accusation. The more likely (if also more banal) explanation is that the Liberals—like the progressive, wealthy, white-collar class from which the party recruits its senior cadres—has devoted so much time and bandwidth to anti-racism, intersectionality, decolonization, and other academic group-based theories, that they’ve simply lost sight of the basic need to evaluate ideas and human beings on their own merits.
For all I know, in fact, a truly expert Liberal intersectionalist applying a maximalist formulation of anti-racism might even be able entirely to rationalize Marouf’s hatred of Jews—at least the white ones—on the basis that his animus is rooted in an emotionally legitimate reaction to the historic oppression of his Arab ancestors. One of Marouf’s more inspired masterstrokes in this regard was to ensure that the words “white” and “Jewish” tend to appear side-by-side in his harangues, which, by the most generous interpretation, can be taken to suggest that all he is guilty of is calling out white supremacy.
The facts of Marouf’s case are so bizarre that some Canadian politicians and pundits may be tempted to dismiss it as a one-off farce. But that would be a mistake, because the scandal surrounding this one man provides an opportunity for the country’s policymakers to scrutinize seriously the value proposition offered by the whole cottage industry of anti-racist experts, consultants, and profiteers who’ve put their palms out to government in recent years.