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Quebec politician ups the rhetoric on Middle East

Quebec politician Amir Khadir.

Christinne Muschi/christinne muschi The Globe and Mail

Amir Khadir, an activist and the sole member of the Quebec Solidaire party in the National Assembly, is not known to mince words, especially when it come to his contentious views about the Middle East.

But last week he went further than usual in a speech at a Montreal rally, calling Israel "an apartheid state" and accusing the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of "fabricating" Osama bin Laden to "delegitimize" resistance movements in the world.

"Since we don't accept injustice in our society, we don't accept ethnic cleansing in a society, then there is no reason that in the name of commerce we should accept the apartheid state of Israel whose foundation rests primarily on ethnic cleansing put into place by a process called terrorism against civil populations," Mr. Khadir stated in his speech, which eventually made its way on to YouTube.

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The terrorism against civil society, he said, found its most explicit and modern expression in Osama bin Laden, who was "a complete fabrication of the CIA in the '70s and '80s in Afghanistan and who is used today to delegitimize the resistance of people around the world, among them those in Gaza and Palestine."

Mr. Khadir's radical views have made him a target in the past. He was strongly criticized for participating in a protest that involved tossing his shoes at a picture of then-U.S. president George W. Bush, which was prompted by an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at Mr. Bush.

Mr. Khadir has also drawn criticism for his campaign calling for the boycott of Israeli products, sometimes targeting small family businesses.

In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Khadir reiterated his views.

"I'm not saying anything new here. Osama bin Laden was the creation of the CIA policy in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union," Mr. Khadir said.

As for his attacks against Israel, Mr. Khadir remained intransigent, insisting that the country's treatment of Palestinians amounted to nothing less than apartheid.

"The Israelis are losing their soul through this policy of colonization," he said.

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Mr. Khadir was born in Iran and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1971 when he was ten years old. He believes the salvation for the Middle East rests in the spring revolts dubbed the 'third intifada' that started in Tunisia and quickly spread across the entire region. He considers himself the bridge between the recent popular uprisings in Palestine and the people of Quebec who support them.

"The third intifada has started," Mr. Khadir said during his speech last weekend. "I am here so that there can be a link between the intifada in the streets of Palestine and the intifada in the free consciences of Quebeckers."

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