Irwin Cotler as a False Humanitarian: Cotler supports terrorists while befriending dictators: Part Two

Bruce Katz

On 08/05/2023

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This article was first published in The Canada Files

December 27, 2020Bruce Katz

Cotler has supported the terrorist group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) responsible for attacks against Iran’s civilian population. It now has its base of operations in Albania where it receives logistical support from the CIA. The MEK sided with Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran war and were seen as traitors in Iran. As adversaries of the Iranian government and therefore the objective allies of Israel and the Trump administration, the MEK has been openly supported by now departed Trump emissary, John Bolton and subsequently by US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.” A stupendously long list of American politicians from both parties were paid hefty fees to speak at events in favour of the MEK, including [Rudy] Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and former Democratic party chairs Edward Rendell and Howard Dean – along with multiple former heads of the FBI and CIA.

Regarding Irwin Cotler’s close ties to the terrorist MEK, Yves Engler writes the following:

“Cotler has enabled the violent, cult like, Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq. In 2012 the Jewish Telegraphic Agency cited Cotler, alongside Alan Dershowitz and Elie Wiesel, as prominent pro-Israel activists who worked with Iranians dissidents to convince the State Department to remove the MEK from the US terrorism list, which paved the way for Ottawa to follow suit. In 2014 Cotler invited MEK leader, Maryam Rajavi, to speak at Iran Accountability Week on Parliament Hill. In “We asked Canadian politicians why they engaged with a ‘cult’-like group from Iran,” Shenaz Kermalli points out that Cotler regularly attends events organized by the MEK-aligned groups Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran and National Council of Resistance of Iran. The MEK backed Iraq in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and, according to US government sources, teamed up with Israel to assassinate Iranian scientists more recently. It is thought to be funded by Saudi Arabia.”

The recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakrizadeh, is purported to have been done by Israel’s Mossad. That is possible, but on the other hand, it may equally have been done by the MEK, with or without Israeli coordination. To state the case succinctly, as a vigorous supporter of the MEK, Irwin Cotler is a friend to terrorists. It should be noted that no denunciation of Fakrizadeh assassination has come from either Cotler or Trudeau.

In fact, Cotler is an avid supporter of any right-wing government that supports Israel. When President Hugo Chávez criticized Israel’s criminal assaults on Gaza and broke off diplomatic relations, Cotler added Venezuela to the list of countries to persecute.

Once again, Yves Engler’s information is illuminating:

Cotler pushed for Canada to request the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate Venezuela’s government. Cotler was one of three ‘international experts’ responsible for a 400-page Canadian-backed Organization of American States (OAS) report on rights violations in Venezuela that recommended referring Venezuela to the ICC. At a press conference in May to release the report, Cotler said Venezuela’s “government itself was responsible for the worst ever humanitarian crisis in the region.” As this author wrote at the time: “Worse than the extermination of the Taíno and Arawak by the Spanish? Or the enslavement of five million Africans in Brazil? Or the 200,000 Mayans killed in Guatemala? Or the thousands of state-murdered ‘subversives’ in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil?”

Cotler, Freeland and the R2P doctrine

Cotler and Freeland (she calls her late Nazi propagandist grandfather Michael Chomiak a Ukrainian hero in the full knowledge of his pro-Nazi past) work tirelessly in the promotion of the R2P doctrine, so valuable as a propaganda tool for the US and its NATO allies. This is the doctrine of Right To Protect, which means that Western imperial powers have a moral responsibility to use military force to protect the rights of people being repressed by their governments.” It translates simply into the right to overthrow regimes not deemed friendly to the US and its allies, and then steal their energy resources.  

Yves Engler gives us the details of Cotler’s involvement in the coup that brought down the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti: “R2P was cited by Paul Martin’s government, which included Cotler as justice minister, to justify overthrowing elected Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Thousands were killed in post-coup violence.” A Global Research article from 2006 reported that Canadian officials had planned the military intervention in Haiti weeks before the coup. The Minister for La Francophonie at the time in the Martin government, Denis Coderre, later Mayor of Montreal, played a key role in the coup d’état against Aristide according to a media report.

Cotler also lobbied for R2P to be invoked against the government of Muammar Ghaddafi by recognizing a Western-backed provisional government and to authorize the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya . . . and permit all U.N. members to provide direct support to the provisional government. This is what took place. Ten years after the fact, Libya – once boasting Africa’s most vibrant economy – has been destabilized and is the scene of competing factions backed by  conflicting imperial interests. The ensuing deaths and destruction resulting from the Cotler-inspired NATO coup in Libya still rage on with no settlement in sight. The entire region itself remains in flux. It should be noted that Ghaddafi was an unabashed defender of Palestinian rights and self-determination. Hence fair game for  the right-wing Zionist zealot, Irwin Cotler.  

What a fine human being he is! What a mensch! (A Yiddish word meaning in a general sense ‘a person of integrity and honour’). Or should I rather say, What an unmensch!

Irwin Cotler’s acquaintances:  criminals, dictators, scoundrels and other shady characters

Irwin Cotler served as advisor to Moshe Ya’alon, suspected of war crimes. 

A Jerusalem Post article from 2019 unveiled the fact that Cotler and Moshe Ya’alon, suspected of war crimes against  Palestinian civilians in Gaza are inextricably linked. “At a parlor meeting for English speakers in Ra’anana last week, Ya’alon revealed that Irwin Cotler has been his unofficial adviser for many years”. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on August 27, 2002, Ya’alon said: “The Palestinian threat harbors cancer-like attributes that have to be severed. There are all kinds of solutions to cancer. Some say it’s necessary to amputate organs but at the moment I am applying chemotherapy.” Perhaps his close ‘unofficial’ advisor, Irwin Cotler, in one of his grandiose humanitarian gestures, advised Ya’alon not to amputate but rather to ‘radiate.’

Irwin Cotler is friend of Paul Kagame.

The great luminary and humanist and promoter of regime change in Iran, Venezuela and anywhere else his cronies in Tel Aviv deem it relevant, Cotler is a friend and confidant of another great promoter of democracy and human rights, Rwandan President Paul Kagame. In fact, Cotler and Kagame attended the 2017 America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pillar of the Israel lobby in Washington. It is understandable for Cotler to attend but less so for the black African Kagame who boasts of his campaign of ‘national liberation’ in Rwanda. But then, Paul Kagame has earned the epithet of ‘Butcher Of The Great Lakes’:

“Kagame has far outstripped Idi Amin as a mass killer [Amin’s killings are estimated at 100 000 – 300 000, whereas Kagame’s surely run well over (8) million civilians].”  (From “Peter Erlinder jailed by one of the major genocidaires of our Era” by David Paterson; 6/17/2010).

What better company to keep for a great humanitarian like Cotler! What’s more, in 2008, Cotler pushed a House of Commons motion to commemorate genocide prevention/Rwanda’s genocide on April 7. “The choice of the day reflects the simplistic, one-sided, version of Rwanda’s tragedy Kagame promotes to legitimate his dictatorship and belligerence in the region. On April 6, 1994, the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down, unleashing the genocidal killings. So why choose April 7, rather than April 6, to commemorate genocide prevention/Rwanda’s genocide? Because Kagame’s RPF shot down the plane carrying the two Hutu presidents and most of Rwanda’s military command, which facilitated their seizing power after a multi-year war.”

Do birds of a feather flock together? In the case of Cotler, Ya’alon and Kagame, it would appear that this is indeed the case. But let’s move on to another close friend of Cotler, the affable Alan Dershowtiz. 

·Irwin Cotler is a friend to Alan Dershowitz, who was a friend to Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender. 

Who is Alan Dershowitz? He is a well-known American lawyer and fierce Zionist zealot in the style of Cotler. Indeed, he is a true bosom buddy of Cotler even more so than Paul Kagame. Alan Dershowitz has referred to Irwin Cotler as the ‘Alan Dershowitz of Canada.’ As we shall see, that is a rather dubious honour.

Dershowitz defended O.J. Simpson, suspected of murdering his wife in a fit of jealous rage, represented the late Claus Von Bulow who was accused of  “putting his wife, Martha “Sunny” von Bulow, into an irreversible coma to gain her fortune so he could live with his mistress, a raven-haired soap opera actress,” defended the sex fiend, Jeffrey Epstein, and recently defended Donald Trump against the attempt to impeach him which Ryan Miller, writing in USA Today, called “worse than defending O.J. Simpson.” But Dershowitz, the great humanist brims with humility and basically wrote off  these episodes in an interview with PBS Frontline in 2005 to the effect that “ Every lawyer who’s also a good person has these ambivalences.” 

Quite a track record and certainly well-suited to bosom buddy-ship with Irwin Cotler! In between all these ‘worthy causes,’ Dershowitz found time to smear the reputation of Professor Norman Finkelstein, (author of numerous works on the Palestinian question, including The Holocaust Industry, which foreshadows the subsequent invention of the IHRA anti-Semitism inquisition) to the extent that Finkelstein lost his professorial post at DePaul University. 

Yves Engler adds an eyeful to the ‘glorious’ (inglorious?) career of Alan Dershowitz with a wink at Cotler as well. Given its importance, I present it in its entirety:

“Dershowitz negotiated (partly through intimidation) the scandalous “non-prosecution agreement” under which Epstein served 13 months in a Florida jail, which was largely spent on “work release” in an office. A close friend of Epstein, Dershowitz is accused of raping two of Epstein’s sex slaves. In a court filing Virginia Roberts said, “Dershowitz was so comfortable with the sex that was going on that he would even come and chat with Epstein while I was giving oral sex to Epstein.” Roberts added that she had sex with Dershowitz “at least six times”. In the 2015 article “Israel defender Alan Dershowitz has a long history of attacking sex abuse victims” Rania Khalek details his aggressive anti-woman positions. In 1997 Dershowitz argued ( that “puberty is arriving earlier, particularly among some ethnic groups.” As such, the eminent lawyer called for — a position repeated recently — the age of consent to be lowered (if a child reaches puberty at ten should they be legitimate targets for sexual predators?). A close friend and political ally, Cotler would have almost certainly been aware of Dershowitz’s position. In 2004 the Globe and Mail reported, “Dershowitz and Mr. Cotler met at Yale Law School in the early 1960s and are so close that the first person Mr. Cotler called after being appointed to cabinet last December was his friend at Harvard.” In 2014 Dershowitz called Cotler “my mirror image in Canada” and nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. They are both currently part of the Honorary Board of the Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan and Dershowitz is a Senior Fellow at the Cotler chaired/founded Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. According to Cotler, “Everyone regards Alan as not only the best defender of Israel, but the best defender of the most just of causes in the court of public opinion.” In the Acknowledgments section for The Vanishing American Jew Dershowitz lists Cotler’s name right before Epstein’s. They are both also listed in the Acknowledgments for The Case for Israel.”

This is part two of a three part series crushing the false idea of Cotler as a noble humanitarian.

Bruce Katz is a founding member and current co-president of PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity), a Montreal-based pro-Palestinian solidarity organization.

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