Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Dr. Catherine Chatterley

David Matas


In a recent letter dated November 27 to the Winnipeg Jewish Review published in its entirety in the letters section , Joanne Naiman, Professor Emerita, Sociology at Ryerson University, Toronto wrote a letter challenging the validity of remarks made by Dr. Catherine Chatterley regarding Iran’s anti-Semitism and nuclear threat towards Israel.
In the letter, Naiman wrote,
“ Without providing a shred of evidence she [Dr. Chatterley] writes, “The most obvious example [of the global resurgence of anti-Semitism] is the leader of Iran, who routinely threatens the nuclear destruction of the Jewish State, which constitutes incitement to genocide and is a clear violation of international law.” Routinely? I would appreciate knowing her [Dr.Chatterley’s sources], as I have never heard of such a threat.
In response to Naiman’s comments above, the Winnipeg Jewish Review received a letter from David Matas, Senior Honorary Council. B'nai Brith Canada on December 1, 2010 :
To The Editor,
Joanne Naiman questions the statement of Dr. Catherine Chatterley that the leader of Iran "routinely threatens the nuclear destruction of the Jewish state". Professor Naiman writes: "Routinely? I would appreciate knowing her sources, as I have never heard of such a threat."
The current President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said in 2005 and since "Israel must be wiped off the map". He said in 2006 "this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will be purged from the center of the Islamic world", and "this fake regime [Israel] cannot logically continue to live."
Military parades in Iran display rockets with banners carrying the slogans "Israel must be wiped off the map" and "Death to Israel". Former president of Iran Hashemi Rafsanjani, said in 2001: "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam" and in 2002 "one bomb is enough to destroy all Israel". Independent intelligence sources consistently over years have reported that Iran is developing nuclear weaponry.
Professor Naiman is either ignorant or quibbling. Adolf Hitler never said that the Jews should either be gassed and cremated in death camps or shot in front of open graves by roving killing units. Hitler referred rather to a "final solution of the Jewish question". Would Professor Naiman say that Hitler never threatened the Jews with genocide, that she never heard of such a threat?
If Professor Naiman really wants to inform herself on this issue, I suggest she take a look at the article by Gregory Gordon in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology published in 2008 by Northwestern University, School of Law under the title From Incitement to Indictment? Prosecuting Iran's President for Advocating Israel's Destruction and Piecing Together Incitement Law's Emerging Analytical Framework. The article is posted on the internet; it has over 400 footnotes, providing as many sources as Professor Naiman could possibly want and then some.
David Matas
Senior Honorary Legal Counsel
B'nai Brith Canada
Also on December 1,  the Winnipeg Jewish  Review received a letter responding to Naiman’s remarks from Dr. Eliahu Richter, Genocide Prevention Now in Jerusalem, which is reprinted below:
To the Editor,
In response to the letter by Prof Neiman to your newspaper casting doubt on Iran's nuclear program  and genocidal intentions, we refer the author to the Responsibility to Prevent Petition, prepared by Professor Irwin Cotler, Member of the Canadian Parliament, posted by  Genocide Prevention Now on the following website and link 
This petition martials the voluminous data on Iran's suppression of human rights inside Iran --more than 120,000 executions, as well as stonings, public hangings, persecution of dissidents ,and members of non-Islam faiths, Ahmadinejad's repeated use of motifs taken directly from Hitler’s Mein Kampf to incite to genocide, Iran's support for terror throughout the Mideast, and its illegal pursuit of nuclearization. Abundant additional information comes from the International Atomic Energy Commission, US State Department and Congressional reports on human rights abuses, US House of Representatives Resolution HConRes21 2007 (which called for indictment of Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide) and the blog website, which has published a timeline of all of Ahmadinejad's statements and those of his predecessors and associates going back many years.  
The well-meaning author of the letter equates  her ignorance of the evidence with absence of evidence. The same lethal error was made by many well meaning appeasers back in the 1930s. 
Best wishes
Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH
Hebrew University-Hadassah Jerusalem and GenocidePreventionNow
Jerusalem Israel
Editor’s  Response to Neiman’s letter :At a later point in her letter, Professor Naiman suggests, after quoting several sources ( including Benjamin Netanyahu, US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, and Dennis Ross) that “… both the Israelis and Americans know full well that Iran does not yet have nuclear weaponry, and,…it is Israel and the U.S. that are routinely threatening Iran militarily, not the reverse.”
With all due respect to Prof Naiman’s comments, the recently released Wiki Leaks documents completely undermine her assertion and further bolster Dr. Chatterley’s assertions regarding Iran as well as those made by David Matas and Dr. Richter (not that they really need further bolstering). There are two facts that have become very clear as a result of these newly released WikiLeaks documents:
1. It isn’t only the Israelis who are deeply concerned about Iran’s march toward a nuclear program. It is in fact Arabs states who are begging the United States to “take out” Iranian installations through military force, with one United Arab Emirates official even proposing a ground invasion. Bahrain’s King Hamid urged the US to “terminate” Iran’s nuclear program “by whatever means necessary,” according to the cables, and similar views were reported by top officials in Jordan, Egypt, Oman and Qatar. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who referred to Iran as “evil,”repeatedly urged the United States to “cut off the head of the snake” by attacking Iranian nuclear installations

As’s Jeffrey Goldberg says, the Wiki Leaks disprove those who say “it is only Israel advocating for war against Iran” when in fact “the most strident lobbyists for war against Iran have been Arab leaders.”

2. It is not just Israeli leaders who have suggested that Iranian President Ahmadinejad is reminiscent of Hitler; U.S. officials also think so, as do Arab leaders, who use the Hitler analogy to warn against the dangers of appeasing Iran. 

Finally, another   fact revealed in the WikiLeaks documents is that Tehran has used the cover of the ostensibly independent Iranian Red Crescent to smuggle weapons and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force into Lebanon during the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war. The Iranian Red Crescent, as a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is allowed access to war zones by virtue of it’s pledge of “neutrality.” 

 As for an example of Iranian Anti-Semitism, most recently, the Winnipeg Jewish Review wrote about the example of an anti-Semitic cartoon on the website of an Iranian NGO, the Islamic World Peace Forum. Readers can judge for themselves as to whether the cartoon is antisemitic


Lastly Naiman wrote her letter in defense of the work of  Michael Keefer, a Professor of Theatre who is an editor and part-author of Antisemitism

 Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (Waterloo: The Canadian Charger, 2010). 

Readers may find it interesting to note the website that published Keefer’s book,, has an editorial board consisting of Michael Keefer

and Abigail Bakan, Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, Margaret Pappano and Sumaira Shaikh.

Dr. Mohammed Elmasry.  Why does that name ring a bell? Now I remember.

Elmasry, the former head of the Canadian Islamic Congress has himself been accused of making antisemitic statements when  he said on the Michael Coren

Show  in 2004 that all Israelis over 18 were legitimate targets for suicide bombers.

 [Readers can view the video where this statement is made: i COREN: So everyone in Israel and anyone and everyone in Israel, irrespective of gender, over the age of 18 is a valid target?
ELMASRY: Yes, I would say.]



 by Michael Keefer, Professor, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph, November 23

 Editor’s Note: Prof Keefer is responding to  Dr.. Catherine Chatterley’s article original article which can be read by clicking here..  Prof Keefer's  response was published on  November 23, 2010.  Following that, Dr. Chatterly wrote in with a Rebuttal to  Keffer. Both Keefer's response and  Chatterley's rebuttal are printed below]


 by Michael Keefer, Professor, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph, November 23, 2010

I applaud Dr. Catherine Chatterley’s statement (in her November 15 article on “Campus Antisemitism” currently running as a Feature article) that debates over subjects like antisemitism, Israel, and Palestine “must be self-reflexive, reasoned, and accurate,” and that we need to avoid ad hominem attacks, so as to “encourage intelligent discussion and debate that employs meaningful, ethical, and accurate language”—the italics are Dr. Chatterley’s—“to describe what are truly difficult, complex, and contested histories.”

But Dr. Chatterley abandons her own standards of ethics and accuracy when she refers to me as exemplifying what she calls “Antisemitism Denial.” It is not unduly sensitive to hear in these words a deliberate echo of “Holocaust Denial”—and therefore a vicious ad hominem attack. Dr. Chatterley’s claim that I “have gone on the assault against antisemitism as a contemporary problem, arguing that there is no such thing and comparing this so-called phantom to the ‘real’ antisemitism of the past,” goes beyond mere inaccuracy: it is a flagrant falsehood.

In addition to my work in other fields, I am the editor and part-author of Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (Waterloo: The Canadian Charger, 2010).  This book includes texts by eleven Canadian scholars and human rights activists (a majority of whom, as it happens, are Jewish), and by the leaders of seven human rights organizations. Far from minimizing the reality of contemporary antisemitism, these texts recurrently express concern that uncritical support for the state of Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights could feed a renewal of antisemitic prejudice and hatred in this country.

My own contributions, which make up just over half of the book, include an extended analysis of the statistical evidence relating to antisemitic incidents and hate crimes. My study of UK government figures, Statistics Canada data, the annual incident-report tallies published by the Community Security Trust (CST) in Britain, and B’nai Brith Canada’s annual audits of antisemitic incidents, led me to conclude that the CPCCA’s claims of an alarming resurgence of antisemitism in Canada are untrue, and B’nai Brith’s figures seriously inflated. But after noting that police statistics show a declining trend in hate crimes, I wrote that “I am not suggesting that we should find anything very reassuring about the data analyzed in this chapter: Jews are indeed being disproportionately targeted by hatemongers” (p. 191).

Readers of my contributions to the book will find many further examples of a lively concern over real present-day antisemitism—together with a strong critique of the deceptions practiced by those who imagine that they can get away with smearing advocates of international human rights law by labeling their criticisms of Israeli policies as instances of a “new antisemitism.” 

As for Dr. Chatterley: If she genuinely wishes to earn a reputation for responsible, accurate, and ethical scholarship, she will have to begin by making some effort to live up to her own ideals.



 November 25, 2010
Dear Professor Keefer,
Re: Your book, Antisemitism: Real and Imagined, published in 2010 by a website based in Waterloo,


In your public discussions about this book you make a distinction between what you view as real antisemitism and the new antisemitism, which you call a "rhetorical shell game" and "rhetorical trickery." You say that real antisemitism is a "toxic prejudice," now largely on the wane in Canada, and that the new antisemitism is "not new and it's not really antisemitism" but it makes "use of this history of suffering, this history of martyrdom, in a way that is at the service of unacceptable political positions." You argue that in 1973, when "real antisemitism was in rapid decline . . . leading figures in the Anti-Defamation League [tried to] redefine antisemitism to incorporate criticism of the State of Israel, and to use that as a way for providing public support . . . to hold onto the conquered territories, the occupied territories." 

Sources: youtube wide eye cinema


(The two public comments below your discussion on the last site clearly illustrate the consistencies between old and new, or classic and contemporary, antisemitism.)

The CPCCA (Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism), you argue, is the 2002 creation of "Irwin Cotler in collaboration with the Israeli Foreign Ministry." You claim that "the first iteration of this project fell through because groups like the Anti-Defamation League in the United States says 'it has Israel's fingerprints too obviously all over it . . . be more subtle, be clever.'" You say that the intention of the CPCCA is to "activate Canadian public opinion in support of this completely illegitimate equation of antisemitism, or identification of criticism of the State of Israel as antisemitism." The larger intention, you say, is "to alter the orientation of, for example, our police forces when they are enforcing our hate crime laws, to alter the ways in which courts might look at this issue," and you speculate that there may be changes made to the Canadian Criminal Code.

The cross-country book tour you led this year across our campuses was provocatively titled: “Criticize Israel—Go to Jail?” Many parents are concerned by what they see as growing anti-Israel hostility on campus and its misdirection toward their children. In relation to campus, you state: “Let’s be honest, you know, there are occasional episodes where students on university campuses get too excited and are rude to each other.” Many people associated with York University (and Concordia University) would, I imagine, beg to differ with this interpretation of current conditions on campus.

The work of the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA), and the Ottawa Conference it hosted from November 7-9, 2010, did not focus on Canada, but was an international conference with participants from 50 countries. The discussions focused on the global resurgence of antisemitism, which is in fact a very serious problem. The most obvious example is the leader of Iran, who routinely threatens the nuclear destruction of the Jewish State, which constitutes incitement to genocide and is a clear violation of international law. In my three days in Ottawa, I did not once hear anyone mention changing the Canadian Criminal Code to restrict criticism of Israel, to criminalize free speech, or to ban it from campuses. And far from creating a Canadian panic, Professor Cotler admitted in his coverage of the recent conference, “the situation in Canada compares favourably with what is transpiring elsewhere. If one were to look only at Canada, one might be hard put to speak of a pandemic of anti-Semitism, as it has been called.” National Post

The new antisemitism is, in fact, a concept central to the scholarly study of antisemitism and the phenomenon is recognized as a serious, complex, global problem by leading scholars in the field (and now obviously by many parliamentarians). Scholars of antisemitism do not place this phenomenon in quotation marks, or understand it as an invention of the ADL in 1973. We are currently in the process of debating just how new this phenomenon actually is; some of us (myself included) do not use the term new but prefer the term contemporary (as opposed to classic). The millennial history of antisemitism clearly demonstrates that it is a protean phenomenon, and the contemporary forms we see today recycle and reformulate the themes and tropes—better known as lies and myths about the Jewish people—of classic antisemitism.
Your letter suggests, “that uncritical support for the state of Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights could feed a renewal of antisemitic prejudice and hatred in this country.” First, I do not know anyone who actually supports human rights violations in the Palestinian territories or anywhere else. Second, antisemitism is not a form of normal human hostility or even a function of normal human outrage, both of which are inevitable human reactions to war and conflict. This is precisely why criticism of Israel is not by definition antisemitic.
Antisemitism is never a legitimate reaction to the behavior of Jews, either as a collective or as individuals. Antisemitism is the product of a conspiratorial ideological way of thinking about Jews that relies upon a belief in the actual existence of “Jewish power and its evil machinations for control.” To understand the nature and motives of antisemitism one does not study Jews or their behavior but those who manifest this antisemitic mindset.
Dr. Catherine Chatterley
Founding Director, Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA)
SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Manitoba, Department of History


<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • Royal Bank
  • Sobey's
  • JNF Canada
  • Fillmore Riley
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Winter's Collision
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Orthodox Union
  • Lipkin Family
  • Asper Foundation
  • Booke + Partners
  • Equitable Solutions
  • The Bob Silver Family
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Coughlin Insurance Brokers
  • Daniel Friedman and Rob Dalgleish
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Karyn & Mel Lazareck
  • Gislason Targownik Peters
  • Commercial Pool
  • Dr. Brent Schachter and Sora Ludwig
  • Artista Homes
  • Fetching Style
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Kathleen Cook
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Safeway Tuxedo
  • PFK Lawyers
  • Evan Duncan
  • John Orlikow
  • Red River Coop
  • Myers LLP
  • Shirley and Bob Freedman
  • MCW Consultants Ltd.
  • Holiday Inn Polo Park
  • Chisick Family
  • Wealth Planning Group
  • CdnVISA Immigration Consultants
  • Kowall Chiropractic Centre
  • Lanny Silver
  • Shinewald Family
  • Moses and Adam Levy and Family
  • Simmonds and Associates
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Chochy's
  • Lazar Family
  • Ross Eadie
  • Shindico
  • Astroid Management Limited
  • Western Scrap Metals Inc.
  • Stephen N Rosenfield
  • Piston Ring
  • Broadway Law Group
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Nick's Inn
  • Josef Ryan
  • Dr. Marshall Stitz
  • Fair Service
  • Roseman Corp
  • Derksen
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • kristinas-greek
  • The Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.