Palestinian envoy to Canada recalled

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2011 4:42 PM
Palestinian envoy to Canada recalled

The Palestinian Authority recalled their envoy to Canada this month for posting a link on twitter that included an anti-Semitic video.

Linda Sobeh Ali posted a tweet this month with a link to a YouTube video featuring an emotionally distressed Palestinian girl shouting a poem in Arabic titled "I am Palestinian."

The English subtitles on the video include a passage where millions are called upon "destroy the Jews."

Joseph Lavoie, a spokesman for Canada's foreign affairs minister, said Monday it was a serious enough matter for the Palestinian Authority that they recalled Sobeh Ali.

"This video is completely unacceptable and offensive as it calls for the death of Jews," Lavoie said.

Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority's foreign minister, speaking in Ramallah, said the envoy posted the link thinking it was a "normal national poem."

"We asked her to leave Canada because we didn't want to create any problems," he said.

According to Malki, the "Jewish lobby and Jewish institutions" in Canada complained to the Canadian government. The envoy "went back to the poem and there was something wrong with the translation." The phrase translated in the English subtitles as "destroy the Jews" was actually "to kill the soul of Zionism."

Shimon Fogel, chief executive officer of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said they drew the video and tweet to the attention of the Canada's foreign affairs department.

Fogul said both translations are offensive and unacceptable and noted Sobeh Ali sent out a version where the English translation called for "death of Jews."

"Frankly, it was very distressing. We had worked closely with her previously in an effort to bring PA President, Mahmoud Abbas to Canada to meet with Jewish leaders," Fogel said in an email to The Associated Press. "I never expected her to effectively endorse such anti-Jewish vitriol."

Fogel said he found it "doubly offensive" that a certain lobby would be blamed for her recall and said she hasn't owned up to her terrible error in judgment.


Associated Press Writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank contributed to this report.