Canadian Jewish groups troubled by UK blogger's visit

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Alison Chabloz in a video posted on YouTubeImage source, YouTube
Image caption,
Alison Chabloz in a video posted on YouTube

Canadian Jewish organisations and a human rights lawyer are concerned that a UK blogger accused of Holocaust denial has been allowed into Canada.

Alison Chabloz was a guest at a Calgary event hosted by Blood and Honour, which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police calls a white supremacist group.

Ms Chabloz is facing trial in Britain over an alleged anti-Semitic video posted on YouTube last year.

In the clip, Ms Chabloz appears to mock "fake" Holocaust survivors.

A private prosecution is being brought by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, a UK-based charity, after Britain's Crown Prosecution Service decided not to move ahead with charges.

Ms Chabloz has pleaded not guilty.

B'nai Brith Canada said it reported to Calgary police the Thursday event where Ms Chabloz appeared.

"B'nai Brith is disappointed that Canadian authorities have allowed notorious British Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz to enter this country, especially when the express purpose of her visit is to propagate her anti-Semitic views," the organisation said in a statement.

"Once again, we see Canada disappointingly taking a softer line on hate speech than fellow democracies such as Germany and the UK."

The BBC contacted Ms Chabloz for comment and did not immediately receive a reply.

Earlier this month, Canadian Alfred Schaefer, who was behind a series of anti-Semitic YouTube videos, was charged with criminal incitement in Germany after B'nai Brith Canada reported his activities to officials there.

Calgary police said on Friday they were aware of Ms Chabloz's presence in the city and were monitoring the situation.

Human rights lawyer Richard Warman, who has posted about Ms Chabloz's visit on his website, said he hopes that Canadian immigration officials take a second look at her file and her right to remain in Canada.

"Now that the government has become abundantly aware (of her visit) what will they do?" he asked.

Besides her online videos, Ms Chabloz has faced criticism for performing a quenelle salute - viewed by many as an anti-Semitic gesture - outside Edinburgh Castle in 2015.

In her blog, she claims she made the gesture in response to a "small group of hard-line Zionists" who she says were targeting her online.

Promoting the Calgary event on its website, Blood and Honour credits Ms Chabloz with popularising in Britain the "anti-Establishment" and "anti-Zionist" gesture.

Blood and Honour promotes neo-Nazi, nationalist and white supremacist ideas and emerged from the 1980s skinhead music scene in England, according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, an American organisation that tracks hate groups.

On its Canadian website, Blood and Honour describes itself as a movement to "raise awareness of issues concerning our unique and combined European cultures and heritage so that we may preserve and pass on those values to future generations".

The RCMP says the group has branches in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

Representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada told the BBC they do not comment on specific cases but said all visitors to Canada are carefully screened before being granted entry.

There has been growing concern in the US and the UK over anti-Semitism.

Earlier this month a UK charity reported that incidents of anti-Semitic hate crime were on the rise. In the US, the Department of Homeland Security has offered help to Jewish community centres after they received more than 100 hoax bomb threats in recent weeks.

In Canada a number of recently incidents like vandalism targeting Jewish people have also raised concerns. In 2013, incidents targeting Jewish populations accounting for 56% of religious hate crimes in the country.