“Combating Terrorism in the 21st Century: Disruptive and Innovative Strategies in Canada and in Israel” was addressed by speakers Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder of Shurat HaDin, an Israeli NGO that advocates for victims of terrorism and stands against “lawfare” attacks on the State of Israel in courts around the world, and Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) from 2009 until 2013, at Congregation Machzikei Hadas on November 23.
“Context and causes for terrorism are really important,” said Fadden, who was also national security adviser to prime minister Stephen Harper from 2015 to 2016 and deputy minister of defence from 2013 to 2015. Fadden focused on multifaceted strategies required to fight terrorism around the world.
“We need to collaborate with other countries and share intelligence,” said Fadden. “No security is really national – it is international.”
Fadden also said the involvement of local communities in preventing radicalization was an essential component of stopping terrorism and said the Internet has become an important tool for terrorist organizations looking for recruits.
“Without the World Wide Web, terrorism wouldn’t be as successful as is it today. We need to find a way to deal with terrorism – [even though] the Internet doesn’t belong to anyone,” he said.
Darshan-Leitner discussed the impact Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Centre, has had since she founded the NGO in 2002.
The event also served as the local launch of Harpoon: Inside the Convert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters, Darshan-Leitner’s new book co-written with bestselling author Samuel M. Katz.
In the book, Darshan-Leitner writes of the innovative methods of Meir Dagan as director of Mossad from 2002 until 2011 in fighting terrorism.
“Harpoon,” an operation created by Dagan, was Mossad’s manoeuvre to disrupt the financial pipeline of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
“He didn’t see only the individual who commits the attacks but the entire infrastructure and funds from all over the world,” Darshan-Leitner said. “He realized that if we cut the flow of money, we cut the flow of terrorism.”
Dagan, she said, came up with ingenious strategies to hamper the transfer of funds to terror organizations.
Shurat HaDin, she explained, participated in Harpoon by suing banks that collaborated with terrorist organizations.
“Today, no bank agrees to open accounts for terrorist organizations or to operate in Gaza,” she said, as they are now afraid of lawsuits.
Darshan-Leitner also said Shurat HaDin is involved in efforts to compel social media outlets to shut down pages or websites that explicitly call for the killing of Jews or Israelis.
“They need to understand that as social networks – they have social responsibility,” she said.
At the end of the presentations, Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Machzikei Hadas, said Darshan-Leitner is a true Jewish heroine, as “she put something that seemed out of hand, in hand.”
Rabbi Elan Mazer, national director of Mizrachi Canada, thanked Fadden and Darshan-Leitner for spending their lives pursuing justice.
“‘Tzedek, tzedek tirdof’ means that it’s not enough just to believe in justice, but also to pursue it actively and practically,” he said.
The event was moderated by Professor Alex Wilner of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and was presented by Congregation Machzikei Hadas, the Bora Laskin Law Society, Mizrachi Canada and Shurat HaDin.