OMNI Media Cuts Ties with Arabic-Language Program following B’nai Brith Complaint
TORONTO – Canada’s largest multicultural television channel has pledged to no longer broadcast an Arabic-language program after B’nai Brith exposed antisemitic rhetoric used by the program online.
Lama TV, founded and produced by Lama Aggad, describes itself as “the largest Canadian Arabic TV show that airs on OMNI and OMNI 2 National Television channels.” OMNI, in turn, is a multicultural television channel owned by Rogers Sports & Media.
On June 8, at a public national vigil for the victims of the anti-Muslim attack in London, Ont., a speaker claimed that the horrific crime was linked to “whatever is happening in Jerusalem and Gaza.” B’nai Brith swiftly condemned these remarks, pointing out that the suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, is neither Jewish nor Israeli.
Lama TV took issue with this, tweeting the next day: “Veltman is a Jewish surname. Prove to us it isn’t.” That tweet remains live as of today, despite unequivocal evidence that Veltman is not Jewish.
Disinformation like Lama TV’s tweet plays directly into hateful conspiracy myths and inflames animosity against Canadian Jews, including online.
In addition, in a video posted to Lama TV’s YouTube account, Aggad describes “Jewish Zionists” as people who “break agreements,” labels Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, a “terrorist state” and repeatedly calls on viewers to launch an “electronic intifada.”
After B’nai Brith brought these matters to the attention of Rogers, the Canadian media giant clarified that it had not broadcast Lama TV since December of 2020 for “production reasons,” but went on to pledge that it would never work with the program again in light of its antisemitic rhetoric.
“We commend Rogers for doing the right thing,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “There can be no room for antisemitism or discrimination of any kind in Canadian media.
“B’nai Brith will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that there are consequences for the perpetrators of antisemitism in Canada, especially after the outrages our community has witnessed over the past few months.”
Back in 2017, Rogers dropped another Arabic-language show, called “AskMirna,” after it featured Holocaust denial as well as song and dance glorifying Palestinian terrorism against Israelis.