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HomeBusinessVancouver Hamas promoter facing hate speech probe appears on pro-Iran webinar

Vancouver Hamas promoter facing hate speech probe appears on pro-Iran webinar

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Bob Mackin

The Vancouver anti-Israel communist who praised Hamas for the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks appeared on a webinar hosted by a group sympathetic to Iran’s hardline Islamic regime. 

At an April 26 rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, Charlotte Kates, the international director of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, called Iran-backed Hamas “heroic and brave” and urged followers to support those inside and outside Gaza who are fighting to end the state of Israel. Kates also said Hamas and its allies do not belong on Canada’s terrorist list.

Charlotte Kates of Samidoun on May 29 (CASI)

Prosecutors are considering whether to charge Kates for inciting or promoting hatred after Vancouver Police arrested her on April 29, the day the 44-year-old helped set-up an anti-Israel protest camp at the University of B.C. They released Kates on an undertaking to not attend protests, demonstrations or assemblies until a tentative Oct. 8 court date. Samidoun has organized or promoted most, if not all, Lower Mainland anti-Israel protests beginning since October.

On May 29, Kates was featured on a webinar hosted by the Committee of Anti-Imperialists in Solidarity with Iran (CASI), which she co-founded. Not only does CASI oppose Israel and advocate for Iran and Palestine, but it also favours abolishing military, police and immigration forces in the U.S. and supports “all indigenous, black and immigrant movements that seek an end to U.S. colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.”

On the Zoom meeting (SEE highlights below) Kates called Hamas “brave and self-sacrificing” for its Oct. 7 attack on Israel and criticized the International Criminal Court war crimes charges against three Hamas leaders, Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh related to the killing of 1,200 and kidnapping of 240. 

“There can be no equation made between the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian people and their leadership and the illegitimate Zionist colonizer,” Kates told viewers. 

Kates applauded the “growing global intifada” involving university students in Canada, U.S. and Europe and said there is a duty to serve the resistance and expand the intifada “until it is a true crisis for imperialism.”

“The achievements that can be framed as legal achievements are not brought about by the objective application of law, but by the changes in reality that have been brought about by the armed struggle,” said Kates, who holds a law degree from Rutgers University, but is not licensed in B.C.

Charlotte Kates of Samidoun (Instagram/Samidounvan)

Kates finished her CASI speech with words similar to her April 26 rant. She implored listeners to “become a meaningful and worthwhile partner” of Hamas and its allies. 

“It is the resistance that stretches from Iran to Palestine, from Yemen to Syria to Iraq to Lebanon,” Kates said. “But that further stretches to Haiti to Cuba to Venezuela to Eritrea to South Africa, and to all of the peoples of the world that are fighting back together to every campus and labour union and organization that is taking the streets and shutting things down for Palestine, to every escalation and action. 

“We can and must build our international camp of resistance that is capable of making the axis of resistance larger, stronger, bigger and broader than ever before, to stand behind and together with the resistance forces as they defend humanity and seek a future in which October 7 is not just one day, but the promise of a future of a world that is free of Zionism, colonialism, imperialism, and their reactionary agents.”

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) 2023 annual report said “axis of resistance” is a phrase used by Iran to describe its regional alliance with Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah and other non-state proxy actors.

“Since the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack against Israel, Iran has publicly praised the militancy targeting Israel and authorized its proxies and allies, including the Houthis in Yemen, to conduct attacks against Israel and US interests in Iraq and Syria,” the CSIS report said. 

CSIS warned that Iran and its intelligence services actively target the Iranian diaspora in Canada, including “anti-regime activists and political dissidents; human, women’s and minority rights activists; and fugitives wanted by the regime. Iran also targets Israeli and Jewish interests as part of its ongoing shadow war with Israel.”

The agents, proxies and sympathizers Iran uses may be witting or unwitting accomplices, CSIS reported. The objective is generally to silence criticism of the Tehran regime. 

Iran attacked Israel with missiles and drones for the first time on April 14, prompting more sanctions from Canada’s Liberal government on April 25. That was also the day that Kates’s husband,  Khaled Barakat, spoke on a CASI webinar about Palestine and Iran. Barakat was described as a member of the executive committee of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement. The Middle East Media Research Institute called him a former senior official in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which also appears on Canada’s terrorist list. 

“Iran continues to threaten international peace and security through multiple destabilizing activities across the Middle East region and beyond,” said Global Affairs Canada on April 25. “Iran poses a threat to the region both through its armed forces and through its support for its proxies, which includes funding, arms provision and training and political and ideological support.”

On Jan. 8, 2020, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down Ukraine Airlines Flight 752, killing all 176 people — 63 were Canadian citizens. North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Avenue became a focal point for memorials. 

Iranian dissidents in North Vancouver and around the world protested against the regime following the September 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old arrested and beaten for removing her hijab. 

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