43 years after the bombing of the Rue Copernic synagogue in Paris during Shabbat services on October 3, 1980 that killed four people and injured 46 others, a university lecturer in Canada, Hassan Diab, has been convicted of the crime. Diab didn’t attend the trial and scorned the proceedings, and powerful people in Canada, up to and including Justin Trudeau, have spoken out in his defense. Nonetheless, he has been sentenced in Paris to life in prison, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Canada may fight any attempt to extradite him. The case of Hassan Diab is a parable of our times.
Canada’s state-funded CBC reported Friday that after the verdict, Diab “expressed disappointment and called his situation ‘Kafkaesque.’” He added: “We hoped reason would prevail,” and said that it was “still devastating to know they pursued that biased road which led to the unfortunate decision.”
Diab’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, agreed, and decried the unfairness of the proceedings in Paris: “The evidence shows he’s innocent and yet they’ve convicted him. It’s a political result. It’s a wrongful conviction.” Maybe. Or is the rush to defend him what is politically motivated? Randall Garrison, whom CBC identifies as a New Democratic Party “justice critic,” declared: “The horrible conditions Dr. Diab suffered over flimsy and discredited evidence violated his rights and poisoned the process. Given that no justice has been served, New Democrats are demanding the government block any attempts by France to extradite Dr. Diab.” Amnesty International decried the case against Diab as “baseless and flawed.”
However, Yonathan Arfi of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) did not think that an injustice had been done. He said: “After 43 years of judicial wandering, justice is finally served for this deadly antisemitic attack. Everything must now be done to enforce the international arrest warrant. CRIF calls on Canada to cooperate with French justice.”
Trudeau, however, reacted cautiously, saying: “We will look carefully at next steps, at what the French government chooses to do, at what French tribunals choose to do. But we will always be there to stand up for Canadians and their rights.”
Well, Justin, that’s debatable. Diab is accused of having carried out the bombing as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terror group dedicated to the destruction of Israel. He was arrested In 2008 and extradited to France in 2014, but was released in 2018 after judges stated that there was insufficient evidence to try him. However, many in France clearly believed there was plenty of evidence: CBC notes that “Diab’s release was opposed by more than 20 civil society groups in France — including victims of terrorism groups and pro-Israel organizations.” In 2021, France’s top court ordered a trial and said that if Diab didn’t show up, he would be tried in absentia. And now he has been convicted.
Diab “pointed to remarks Trudeau made in 2018 about his case, when the prime minister said what happened to Diab should not have happened and should never happen again,” and “called on Trudeau to honour those words.” He very well may do so. But the old adage that you can tell a lot about a man by his enemies also works in reverse: you can tell a lot about a man by his friends. Amnesty International has falsely accused Israel of apartheid. Justin Trudeau sends millions to the “Palestinians,” which only ends up financing the jihad against Israel. He has also claimed that Islamic law is compatible with democracy. He shares fashionable Leftist views of “Palestinian” victimhood, while ignoring, like other Leftist leaders in the West, the frequent hateful and even genocidal statements from “Palestinian” leaders.
A hypothetical: If Hassan Diab were an Israeli who had been accused of bombing a mosque in France, and had then become a professor in Canada, only to be convicted years later while maintaining his innocence, would Justin Trudeau be fighting for him? Would the government of Canada be hinting that it would fight his extradition to France? It’s virtually inconceivable that Trudeau would have done anything in such a case other than condemn the perpetrator and commend the workings of justice.
Hassan Diab has the advantage of having been part of a movement that is favored on the political Left. That means that even after his conviction, the media accounts are all full of the alleged evidence of his innocence, without any attention paid to the question of why the Paris court was unimpressed by this evidence. If he had, conversely, been a “right-wing extremist” accused of doing an equivalent act, he would be excoriated everywhere and his conviction hailed as a triumph of justice. That’s the state of the “free world,” April 2023.