Former Liberal candidate Hassan Guillet said Saturday he was “completely shocked” by the party’s decision to revoke his candidacy three months after winning the nomination for the Saint-Leonard-Saint-Michel riding.
The former candidate refuted the anti-Semitism accusations made against him in a Facebook post on Saturday evening.
“I confirm that I am not anti-Semitic, on the contrary, I campaign and I will always campaign against all forms of racism including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” he wrote.
Guillet said he will address the recent events and accusations at a press conference on Wednesday.
The Liberal party withdrew Guillet’s election candidacy on Friday after B’nai Brith, a Jewish advocacy group, brought old statements that Guillet made on social media to the party’s attention. The party said the statements did not adhere to their values.
They said the decision to revoke his candidacy came after a review that was ongoing for several weeks.
According to B’nai Brith, the since-deleted social media posts are “disturbing, anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli.”
One of the posts the group was alarmed by from 2017 said in Arabic, “After nine months in a prison in occupied Palestine, we congratulate Sheikh Salah for his release and his resistance. We ask God to speed up the release of all the prisoners as well as of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and all of Palestine.”
Michael Mostyn, chief executive of B’nai Brith, said that Guillet “celebrated the release of a Hamas militant.”
Ran Ukashi, a spokesperson for B’nai Brith, told Global News on Sunday, “Whatever he has in his heart, that’s for him to know.” The views Guillet expressed on social media were however anti-Semitic, Ukashi said.
Mostyn also flagged a 2017 interview Guillet did with Radio-Canada where he spoke on Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
He told Radio-Canada that Trump’s motive for doing so was due to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who he described as an “ultra-Orthodox Jew and a pro-Israel fundamentalist.”
“During the election, Trump said it was America first, but now with his son-in-law, it’s Israel first,” he told Radio-Canada.
“Jewish control over government is a classic anti-Semitic metaphor,” Mostyn told The Canadian Press.
“To claim that citizens have double loyalty because they are Jewish, that they are loyal to Israel and their home country is another classic anti-Semitic metaphor,” he added.
Guillet is a former imam who spoke at the funeral of several of the victims of the Quebec City mosque attack in 2017.
He won the Liberal nomination in the Montreal riding of Saint-Leonard-Saint-Michel back in May, a riding that is traditionally represented by an Italian candidate.
–With files from The Canadian Press and Kerri Breen, Global News
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