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hughes lesleyBy BERNIE BELLAN
Some months ago, we were contacted by well-known journalist Lesley Hughes, who asked us whether we’d be interested in publishing an excerpt from a new book she had written, titled “An Enemy of the Jews”.

Upon reading the excerpt, we asked Hughes to provide us with more background information about a column she had first published in 2002 in two local community newspapers, The Lance and The Herald.
In that column Hughes had written: “Why did the massive international intelligence (from Israel, Pakistan, Germany and elsewhere) about a coming attack on America about September 11 not issue in preventive measures in the US?
“Why did it take almost 2 hours for the US Air Force to act on September 11, when they had standing orders to scramble instantly in such hijacking situations? Were there countermanding “stand down” orders given to the US pilots on September 11 to allow a plot only vaguely known to go ahead and happen? For what reason? Why have the derelict airforce officers not been disciplined?
Why did Israeli businesses, which had offices in the World Trade Center Towers, vacate their offices a week before the September 11 attacks, breaking their leases to do so? What did they know? (Ed. note: emphasis mine)
It was immediately apparent after September 11 that the official line of explanation had many holes in it.”

Was there any basis to Hughes’ suggestion that Israeli businesses had received prior warning of the impending 9-11 attacks? According to well-know local blogger, “The Black Rod”, “The Washington Post briefly reported about the evidence of Israeli prior knowledge on October 4, 2001 on page A-24:

“Another possible hint of the plot came two hours before planes crashed into the World Trade Center, when two employees of Odigo Inc. in Herzliya, Israel, received electronic instant messages declaring that some sort of attack was about to take place. The notes ended with an anti-Semitic slur.
“The messages said something big was going to happen in a certain amount of time, and it did – almost to the minute,” said Alex Diamandis, vice president of sales for the high-tech company, which also has offices in Lower Manhattan. He said the employees did not know the person who sent the message, but they traced it to a computer address and have given that information to the FBI.”

In September 2008, Hughes was the Liberal candidate in the riding of Kildonan-St. Paul during that year’s federal election. When The Black Rod drew attention to Hughes’ earlier piece about 9-11, which was also reprinted on a United Church of Canada website, reaction was swift and immediate. Hughes was forced to step down as a candidate for the Liberals and, as she notes in the following excerpt from her book, her life fell to pieces.
In the February 6, 2013 issue of The Jewish Post & News, however, Myron Love reported upon a lawsuit that Hughes had filed against various parties.
Love wrote: “Now Hughes is back in the news with a lawsuit she has filed against federal cabinet minister Peter Kent, the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai Brith Canada, as well as Frank Dimant, BBC’s executive vice-president, CJC co-presidents Rabbi Reuven Bulka and Sylvain Abitbol, and Bernie Farber, the CJC’s former CEO.
“Hughes filed the suit in Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench on June 16. She alleges that the defendants ‘made untrue and defamatory accusations’ that she is anti- Semitic. She charges that senior members of B’nai Brith and the CJC went to see then Liberal leader Stephane Dion on September 25, with her 2002 article and persuaded Dion to drop her as a candidate on the grounds that she was anti- Semitic and ‘unfit to hold public office’.
“In her lawsuit, she quotes a press release issued on September 27 by B’nai Brith’s Dimant in which he charges that Hughes has a ‘record of anti-Semitism’.
“Hughes claims that as a result of being branded an anti-Semite, she has been unable to find work as a freelance journalist and broadcaster.
“Although she does acknowledge in her lawsuit authorship of the article in question, she says that all the accusations against her were untrue.
“This past week it was revealed that Hughes reached out-of-court settlements with the parties to her lawsuits.
“Following is an excerpt from a publication of joint statement issued by the parties concerned:
“ ‘Journalist Lesley Hughes, Canadian Jewish Congress, B’nai Brith Canada and Peter Kent MP (Thornhill) wish to clarify comments that each made during the 2008 Federal Election campaign regarding an article written by Lesley Hughes in 2002, in which she re-published statements that made presumptions of an anti-Semitic nature in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre.
“ ‘Ms. Hughes was dismissed as a Liberal candidate in the election after the 2002 article was raised in the media. Ms. Hughes filed a defamation claim in respect of the comments.
“ ‘Canadian Jewish Congress, B’nai Brith Canada, and Peter Kent accept that Ms. Hughes does not condone the use of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories by racist groups to support anti-Semitism of any nature. They therefore acknowledge and agree that Ms. Hughes is not an anti-Semite. In fact, Ms. Hughes has been an advocate of human rights through three decades as a journalist and teacher.
“ ‘Ms. Hughes confirms that she has and will continue to be a strong supporter of the work of any individual or group who exposes false public statements that might do harm to the Jewish community, and more specifically that are anti-Semitic and racist.’”

We asked Hughes to write an introduction to the excerpt from her book in which she could provide some context for what she is writing about. Here is what she sent us:
“In the federal election of 2008, Winnipeg journalist Lesley Hughes was nominated as Liberal candidate in the riding of Kildonan St. Paul.
“An anonymous local blogger reacted by claiming Hughes was guilty of anti-semitism and conspiracy mongering, citing a column she had written in community newspapers six years earlier, in which she questioned Canada’s co-operation with the US invasion of Afghanistan. The blogger’s claims were picked up by mainstream media and by leaders of national Jewish organizations, who demanded successfully that Hughes be dismissed as unfit for public office by Liberal leader Stephane Dion.
“In her column “Get the Truth”, still available on the internet, Hughes reported that 3 intelligence agencies, among them Mossad, claimed they had warned Americans that the tragic events of 9/11 were on the horizon but were disregarded. She also observed that Israeli tenants had vacated the Twin Towers shortly before the actual events. The blogger and his followers reported that Hughes was blaming those events, as well as the deaths of 3,000 victims on Israel.
“In her forthcoming book, Hughes maintains that while foreign intel agencies were entitled to share their information with their allies and with nationals living abroad, only the US government was entitled to warn US citizens of possibly impending attacks, and they had not done so. She therefore suggested Canadians should not be involved in Afghanistan until more was known about American motives in the middle east.
“Experiencing personal and public humiliation as a result of her dismissal, Hughes brought defamation suits against then Conservative MP Peter Kent, Bnai Brith (national) and the Canadian Jewish Congress. The suit ended after 4 1/2 years with an out of court settlement and a statement in which Hughes was cleared of the charges which ended her political career.”

The full column written by Lesley Hughes for the JP&N in which she defends herself against charges that she was anti-Semitic is available only to subscribers to the paper.