Friday, November 28, 2008
Native Canadian on trial for inciting hatred against Jews
Former First Nations leader David Ahenakew insists he's not an anti-Semite, telling his hate crime trial he doesn't "hate the Jews but I hate what they do" - and he still believes Jews started the Second World War. But although he testified he "never" would have used the words he did had he planned out a 2002 speech in which he blames the Jews for the Second World War, he hasn't changed his mind. "I didn't mean to bring the Jews into this thing. It just happened," he testified about the speech. Ahenakew, testifying in his retrial on a charge of inciting hatred, attempted to explain that, while making a speech at a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations health conference on Dec. 13, 2002, he was trying to express his outrage about the erosion of health-treaty rights and wanted to emphasize the point with an example. In a wide-ranging, profanity-laced, speech at the conference, Ahenakew expressed anger at the federal government for off-loading treaty issues to the provincial government. He also deviated briefly from his main topic to talk about how, when he was in the army as a young man, he was stationed in Germany. "Germans used to tell me . . . 'You guys are blessed. From what we know about the Indians in Canada, they are blessed. But your blessing is being destroyed by your immigrants, especially the Jews,' they say. The Second World War was created by the Jews." Ahenakew said he didn't think before using the Germans and Jews as an example in the speech. Ahenakew is charged in connection with a Dec. 13, 2002, interview with former Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporter James Parker, in which Ahenakew said Hitler was "trying to clean up the world" when he "fried" 6 million Jews.