Irwin Cotler as a False Humanitarian: Cotler viciously targets critics of Israeli apartheid & allegedly had connections to the mafia: Part Three


On 19/05/2023

For more than twenty years, we have organized weekly vigils in solidarity with Palestine and meet people where they are to tell them about it. The vigils are held in front of schools and universities, metro stations, shops and during street and neighborhood festivities… So far, more than 500,000 flyers have been distributed to passers-by!

Please support us

Irwin Cotler as a False Humanitarian: Cotler viciously targets critics of Israeli apartheid & allegedly had connections to the mafia: Part Three

This article was first published in The Canada Files on December 29, 2020

Written By Bruce Katz

Underworld Connections?

In 2015, an investigative report in the French-language newspaper Journal de Montréal entitled “Le ministre de la justice avait des associés qui prêtaient à la mafia” (“The Minister of Justice had associates who lent money to the Mafia”), the two journalists breaking the story wrote that “Two business partners of former minister Irwin Cotler financed the godfather’s straw man,” the godfather being Vito Rizzuto. The Journal de Montréal report states that “Police even wiretapped the offices of these Irwin Cotler associates from January 2004, over their alleged financial ties to a Rizzuto fund manager. One of them was also caught.” 

Cotler told police that he was unaware of the dealings of the two men under police surveillance named as Hyman Bloom and Richard Dubrovsky. Cotler said that “he never had any information about possible financial links between his associates and the Rizzutos, or other members of organized crime.” Cotler claimed his role in the companies was passive even though he was vice president of Faybess, which he co-founded with Dubrovsky, for part of the period in question. 

The Journal de Montréal investigative report informs us that in 1995, “Irwin Cotler founded the Faybess Investment Company with the Dubrovnik family. He is still a significant shareholder of the company today and served as its vice-president until May 2004, five months after being appointed Minister of Justice, according to the Registry of Companies.” 

From 2000 to 2004, Bloom and Dubrovsky were involved in a series of financial transactions with Jonathan Myette, Vito Rizzuto’s real estate straw man but, according to the Journal de Montréal report, there was no evidence that they knew of  Myette’s connection to the Mafia. The names of Dubrovsky and Bloom came up at the Charbonneau inquiry into corruption in Quebec.

Yves Engler informs us of Cotler’s ties to American billionaire, Leslie Wexner. Jeffrey Epstein also had close ties to Wexner. As Yves Engler explains

  • Cotler has done a series of events with the Wexner Foundation, including serving as “distinguished faculty member” at the Wexner Israel Fellowship Alumni Institute in Haifa. Jeffrey Epstein was one of three trustees of the Wexner Foundation for over a decade and its namesake, Leslie Wexner, was the main source of Epstein’s wealth. Epstein had power of attorney for a significant portion of Wexner’s fortune and in May 1997 Epstein posed as a talent scout for Victoria’s Secret — owned by Wexner — to lure model Alicia Arden to his hotel room where he sexually assaulted her. 
  • Other key figures in the Epstein sex scandal. Epstein’s decades-long sex ring coordinator/partner Ghislaine Maxwell is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, a crooked British press baron and Mossad spy. Bill Bowder worked for Robert Maxwell before he died in a mysterious boating incident in 1991. Additionally, the co-founder of Hermitage Capital with Browder was Edmond Safra whose name is cited in Epstein’s little black book. Cotler has repeatedly spoken at the Edmond J. Safra synagogue and, as mentioned previously, Cotler hosted a series of events with Browder. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, Safra and Browder were connected to Sergey Magnitsky and the largest hedge fund in Russia. There was a possible overtone of corruption with regard to Magnitsky. Where does all this leave Irwin Cotler – the proponent of the Magnitsky Act? Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice once said.

Irwin Cotler’s other targets: anyone who supports Palestinian human rights 

Irwin Cotler attacked Judge Richard Goldstone for his criticism of Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza. 

In January 2009, Israel launched a savage and disproportionate attack on Gaza under the name of Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in the deaths of 1, 400 Palestinians and the wounding and maiming of another 5, 000 Palestinians. As a result of the disproportionate destruction of life and property in Gaza, the United Nations named South African judge Richard Goldstone to head an investigation into the 2009 conflict. Goldstone was a distinguished member of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, head of the South African Commission on violence and intimidation, and chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. His nomination to head the fact-finding inquiry into the attack on Gaza was generally applauded by UN member states. 

The Goldstone Report accused both the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian militants of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.  It recommended that each side openly investigate its own conduct, and bring the allegations to the International Criminal Court if they failed to do so. The government of Israel rejected the report as prejudiced and full of errors, and rejected the charge that it had a policy of deliberately targeting civilians. The facts on the ground, however, appeared to show that Israel had indeed targeted Palestinian civilians in the attack on Gaza. 

A report issued by Amnesty International stated that: 

  • Thousands of Palestinian were left homeless. Hundreds of businesses and public buildings were destroyed. In most of the cases they investigated in Gaza ,Amnesty International delegates found evidence that the destruction was wanton and deliberate and could not be justified on grounds of “military necessity”.
  • Amnesty International delegates investigated dozens of cases comprising more than 300 victims, more than half of them women and children.
  • Israeli forces repeatedly targeted ambulances and medical crews, killing several medical workers while they were attempting to rescue the wounded and recover the dead. o Injured civilians who could have been saved died needlessly as Israeli forces frequently denied access to ambulances and others to trying rescue the wounded, recover the dead and bring aid to those in need.
  • The borders of Gaza were kept sealed throughout Operation Cast Lead and civilians could not flee, and there was nowhere in Gaza where their safety could be guaranteed. Israeli forces forced Palestinian civilians on several occasions to serve as “human shields.”
  • Amnesty International found no evidence that rockets were launched from residential houses or buildings while civilians were in these buildings, but Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups at times launched rockets and located military equipment and positions near civilian homes.

Southern Israel

  • Palestinian rocket attacks killed three Israeli civilians and caused severe injuries to 4 people, moderate injuries to 11, and light injuries to 167 others.
  • Six Israeli soldiers were killed in the attacks by Palestinian armed groups (and 4 other were killed by Israeli forces in “friendly fire” incidents).
  • Several hundred rockets in all were fired by Palestinian armed groups on Southern Israel during operation “Cast Lead” (571 rockets and 205 mortar shells landed in Israel according to the Israeli authorities).

Despite the obvious disproportionate force of Israel’s attack on Gaza, Irwin Cotler, as an advocate for whitewashing Israel’s documented crimes against Gaza’s civilians, launched an unwarranted attack on Goldstone, whom he accused of singular bias against Israel, placing the blame instead on Hamas militants in Gaza. It was once again Cotler’s method (like Dershowitz’s) to blame the victim while whitewashing the victimizer. Under an unceasing attack from Zionist quarters, Goldstone backed down and dismissed the original findings of his report. In the book cited at the outset of this article, Michael Keefer presents in detail the degree to which Cotler disingenuously attacked Goldstone with malice aforethought.

In an opinion piece in The Independent, Robert Fisk wrote that “Friends of Goldstone told me that he had been painfully pressured to recant, and was in a state of great personal distress.” Given the vicious nature of character-assassination employed by Cotler and the South African Jewish community on Goldstone as Fisk writes, Goldstone recanted: “In reality, Goldstone was harassed by the Jewish community in South Africa. He was to have been effectively barred from his grandson’s bar mitzvah, a prohibition later rescinded. He was dropped from the board of governors of the Hebrew University. And his family found themselves shunned too.”

Cotler then launched a similar attack on William Schabas, a Canadian academic specializing in international criminal and human rights law, successor to Goldstone, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the attack on Gaza. Cotler wrote that Schabas “should recuse himself for the same reasons that I suggested to Goldstone when he was appointed, namely that the commission is the creature of a fatally flawed resolution, that its biased mandate presupposes Israeli guilt, and that the systemic and systematic bias of the UN Human Rights Council is in gross violation of the UN Charter guarantee of “equal treatment of all nations, large or small.”  

No mention, of course, of Cotler and other Zionist zealots’ pro-Israel bias or the jaded influence of various Israel lobbies on policies enacted by Western governments in favour of Israel and against the interests of the subjugated Palestinians.

Cotler attacked Richard Falk

Richard Falk is a renowned professor of international law and was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. He was appointed to the position in 2008 and replaced Professor John Dugard. In 2014, Falk gave an in-depth interview on the situation of Gaza to Global Research. He also explained the nature of apartheid in the case of Israel:

“Maintaining that ‘apartheid is authoritatively considered one form of crime against humanity,’ Prof. Falk said that apartheid policies don’t necessarily need to resemble the system of racial segregation and discrimination that existed in South Africa from 1948 to 1999, but ‘what is necessary for the crime to be committed is systematic discrimination against a specific group identified by reference to ethnicity, race, religion, and encoded into its governing structure.’”

Falk referred to the situation in Gaza as a crime against humanity. The definition of  Crimes Against Humanity as fixed by the International Criminal Court is “murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, forcible transfers of populations, imprisonment, rape, persecution, enforced disappearance, and apartheid, among others . . . committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.” 

 In a nutshell, the definition points to Israel’s system of apartheid and its illegal blockade as two crimes against humanity. That Falk insisted on this point is a credit to his honesty and integrity. That Cotler, the fanatic who would not be out of place among the extremist Israeli settlers in the occupied (not disputed) Palestinian West Bank, should attack Falk, is a tribute to his hypocrisy and disdain for international law which he purports to defend. 

This is how the Israel lobby and – the Cotlers, Dershowitzs, Housefathers, Levitts, Garrisons et al – blackmail and intimidate all those who assume a prominent role in criticizing Israeli apartheid. The false and manipulative IHRA definition of anti-Semitism hatched from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and levied against all critics of Israel via its minions like Cotler, shows how and to what degree such onerous individuals instrumentalize the Holocaust. 

Cotler refused to join South African Bishop Desmond Tutu’s investigation on Gaza

 In 2006, Cotler refused to join Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his UN investigative mission to Gaza looking into Israel’s “willful killing of civilians” in Beit Hanoun. Cotler refused because he claimed that “the mandate violated “the fundamental principles of due process” by ignoring Palestinian rocket attacks.” Like any good Likudnik, Cotler consistently attempts to draw a parallel to Israel’s systematic destruction of Palestinian lives and infrastructure in Gaza with attempts at retribution on the part of Hamas.

 There is, however, no ‘balance’ between a machine gun and a sling-shot or between an F-16 and a Katusha rocket. Like Bob Rae, Canada’s recently appointed Ambassador to the UN and another committed Zionist, Cotler has always been Israel’s de facto ‘Member of the Israeli Knesset for Canada.’ It is an incontestable fact that Canadian governments of all political stripes accept that in the case of Israel, it is acceptable for an elected or appointed Canadian official to lend his or her ultimate loyalty to a foreign government. 

Writing in the Palestine Chronicle, Yves Engler states:

“In an indication of the unquestioning depths of his support for Israeli crimes, Cotler has repeatedly criticized his own party and government’s (mild) expressions of support for Palestinian rights. In May, Cotler tweeted his “regret [of a] Canadian Government statement” criticizing Israeli snipers for shooting thousands of peaceful protesters, including Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani, in Gaza. In 2000, Cotler complained when the government he was a part of voted for a UN Security Council resolution calling on Israel to respect the rights of Palestinian protester.”. 

Furthermore, Cotler supports moving the Canadian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in flagrant violation of international law. That places him on a team consisting of such luminaries as Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Stephen Harper and Erin O’Toole, all of whom favour the same illicit manoeuvre. But there is no greater hypocrite than Irwin Cotler, no individual more deserving of our condemnation than this vicious, deceitful ally of dictators, war criminals, fanatical zealots and other shady characters. 

Irwin Cotler’s actions can be understood as part of the Cotler leitmotif as Jewish supremacist, as a member of the Zionist Übermenschen (Supermen) with regard to the plight of the Palestinian Arab Untermenschen (Subhumans). When we peel away the Cotler façade of ‘humanitarian values,’ what we have left is a form of Aryanism turned on its head to support the notion of an exclusive Jewish state, one in which the emphasis is not on the Jewish religion but rather on the Jewish race. Cotler is by definition a racist who supports the idea of an expanded ethnocentric Israel for Jews only. 

 That is the essence of Revisionist Zionism as conceived by Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky and practised on the ground from Ben Gurion through to Begin, Sharon, Netanyahu and virtually the entirety of Israel’s white Ashkenazi ruling class. It is embraced by Irwin Cotler and by logical extension, those who support him and his crusade on behalf of the disgusting misappropriation of the Holocaust by way of the fallacious IHRA definition. That includes Justin Trudeau, the ‘human face of neo-liberalism’ whose mentor is Irwin Cotler. Birds of a feather flock together!

This is the final part 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.

Share This