Expert report on anti-Jewish hate propaganda published in Your Ward News

James Sears and Leroy St Germaine have been found guilty of wilfully promoting hatred towards women and Jews. What follows are key passages from the 11 June 2018, 37-page expert report by Professor Derek Penslar on anti-Jewish hate propaganda published by James Sears (aka Dimitrious Sarafopoulos) and Leroy St Germaine in Toronto tabloid newspaper Your Ward News.

This summary was originally published at by Canadian Anti-Hate Network board member and human rights lawyer Richard Warman.

The report was prepared as part of the criminal prosecution against Sears and St Germaine for the wilful promotion of hate contrary to s. 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The report dissects the anti-Jewish hate propaganda content of Your Ward News and places it in the historical context from which Sears and St Germaine found inspiration. Both Sears and St Germaine were found guilty and the full criminal judgment can be found here.

Penslar Report Key Excerpts:

The full 37-page Penslar Report is here.

My name is Derek Jonathan Penslar. I am the Samuel Zacks Professor of European Jewish History at the University of Toronto and a Visiting Professor of History at Harvard University. On July 1, 2018, I will assume a permanent appointment at Harvard as the William Lee Frost Professor of Modern Jewish History. I hold a B.A. in History from Stanford University, and an MA and PhD in History from the University of California at Berkeley. In addition to Toronto and Harvard, I have taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, where I was a professor of history and of Jewish studies, and at the University of Oxford, where I was the Stanley Lewis Professor of Modern Israel Studies. I have research and teaching expertise in the history of Jewish civilization, Jewish-Christian relations in medieval and modern Europe, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the state of Israel.

As per your request, I have studied all issues of Your Ward News (hereafter, YWN) published between 2015 and Spring 2018 and have considered whether YWN’s language and imagery are antisemitic. I have read YWN against the background of my intimate familiarity with antisemitic texts and images produced in Europe, North America, and the Middle East over several centuries. My reading is also informed by a substantial body of scholarly literature on antisemitism, some of which I have authored or edited.1 Based on my reading, I have determined that YWN espouses antisemitic doctrines and that both its textual and visual representations of Jews are rooted in antisemitic concepts with a long historical pedigree. I have further determined that YWN’s antisemitic rhetoric frequently echoes or resembles language employed by neo-Nazi extremists in the United States and disseminated either in print or, more recently, via the internet.

YWN consistently expresses hatred of Jews via five distinct yet overlapping mechanisms:
1) Expressions of revulsion against the Jewish faith and its practitioners;
2) Accusations that Jews were collectively responsible for Bolshevik
atrocities in the USSR;
3) Claims of Jewish conspiracies to conquer and control humanity, especially through banking and finance;
4) Demonization of the state of Israel; and
5) Holocaust denial.

Undergirding these five forms of antisemitic expression is a consistent and explicit admiration for Nazism in general and the
German dictator Adolph Hitler in particular. Since antisemitism was a key component of German National Socialism and motivated the Nazis’ persecution and genocide of European Jewry, YWN’s emulation of Nazi Germany deepens and intensifies the various forms of Jew-hatred that the newspaper espouses.

The scope and range of conspiracies attributed by YWN to the Jews is part and parcel of modern antisemitic thinking. The classic antisemitic texts mentioned earlier in this section presented Jews as responsible for the cruelties of communism and capitalism alike, for the decline in religious observance and other rapidly changing social mores, for any form of art, literature, or cinema that they found avant-garde and distasteful, and for universalistic (as opposed to militant-nationalist) political ideologies. In neo-Nazi writings of our own day, Jews are associated with contemporary processes of social and cultural transformation, such as globalization, mass migration, racial and economic protest, feminism, and gender fluidity. In antisemitic thought, Jews are akin to a universal solvent, which eats away at any social mooring. Antisemitism’s hatred of the Jews rests in fear of what antisemites believe to be Jewish preternatural power and unshakable determination to attain global domination. In its most recent iteration, antisemitism maintains the fear of internationalism, be it governmental (e.g., the United Nations) or economic (transnational corporations).

VII Conclusion

In this report I have demonstrated linkages between YWN and a long historical legacy of antisemitic writings. YWN’s depictions of Jews are consonant with antisemitism as set out in the IHRA’s definition with which I began this report. YWN makes “mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective.” It preaches numerous myths “about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.” YWN presents the state of Israel as a point of origin of or prime beneficiary of these conspiracies. In its writings on politically-motivated persecutions in the former Soviet Union’s security services, YWN “accuses Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.” YWN explicitly denies “the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).” Moreover, it “accuses the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust. In its depictions of Jews, YWN resembles a variety of North American neo-Nazi publications that, since the 1970s, have preached antisemitism as a prominent component of a fearful, hateful, and conspiratorial world-view.


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