Skip to comments.Hate laws backfire on Jews, author says
Posted on 10/31/2009 2:17:37 AM PDT by Clive
MONTREAL — The federal anti-hate law that “official Jews” lobbied for and got passed has, 32 years later, backfired, sowing the seeds for political correctness, media chill and censorship that have undermined the values that define the Jewish People, says Alberta lawyer, author and activist Ezra Levant.
Levant, who is Jewish, made the assertion in an Oct. 21 talk to a small audience at Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation about his 900-day saga of being prosecuted by the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission for reprinting controversial Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in his now defunct magazine, the Western Standard, in February 2006.
“It is what I call the ‘soft jihad,’” said Levant, describing the actions of Muslims who file complaints with human rights commissions against those they perceive to have aggrieved them. “I was a Jewish publisher of a Zionist newspaper charged for publishing the news.”
Levant has spent the last 3-1/2 years railing against human rights commissions, which he says have fostered a climate of censorship, media chill and political correctness that’s now being exploited by those he calls enemies of the West, Israel and the Jewish People.
“The Jews should have known better,” Levant said. “We know about the ‘hard jihad,’ but the ‘soft jihad’ is far more effective and clever – it says to find the weakness in the law.”
It’s ironic, Levant suggested, that organizations such as Canadian Jewish Congress helped create a law that has come back to haunt them.
Levant, a free-speech libertarian and former activist in the Reform party, said that the anti-hate law – which since it passed in 1977, has had a “100 per cent” conviction rate and was upheld in 1990 in a narrow decision by Canada’s Supreme Court – is very dangerous.
That’s because its “malleable and vague” wording allows authorities to charge anyone for actions, words or pictures that are “likely to expose a person to hatred and contempt.”
As well, he said, it laid the groundwork for the establishment of national and provincial human rights commissions, quasi-judicial bodies that can summon and charge anyone out of the blue after a complaint is filed, then mete out fines and ultimately muzzle them, without the accused having the automatic right to legal counsel.
“In Alberta, they can take things without a search warrant – warrantless search and seizure. And these are not real courts,” Levant said.
In Levant’s case, the printing of the cartoons in his magazine led Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada to bring a complaint before the Alberta commission.
Initially, Soharwardy approached the police. He went to the commission only after the police told him that “they don’t arbitrate political or religious disputes.”
At the commission, however, Soharwardy found a far more sympathetic ear – in Levant’s view because he is Muslim.
Because of the pervasive climate of political correctness that infuses human rights commissions, Levant asserts, little heed is paid to Jewish or Christian complainants.
But Levant said he bore the full brunt of the Alberta commission’s quest to enforce its own statutes.
“Why am I upset?” he asked. “Because it’s what I call a subterranean, parallel legal system that offers no protection under the rule of law.”
Although Levant eventually won his well-publicized case in August 2008, he still faced a $100,000 legal bill.
His case also coincided with a similarly high-profile complaint filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as well as with the commissions in British Columbia and Ontario, against journalist Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine over book excerpts that were alleged to be anti-Muslim.
The cases were also eventually dropped or dismissed.
For Levant, all this points to the complete inanity of the original 1977 anti-hate speech law and the establishment of “kangaroo court” human rights commissions.
In his view, proud anti-Semites, such as John Ross Taylor and others who have been convicted under the 1977, law got way more attention than they otherwise would have if they had merely been allowed to vent their spleens to the marginal few who cared or bothered.
“They were all kooks and nutbars,” Levant said. “The government took kooky nobodies and turned them into glamorous victims, national celebrities,” he said.
Regarding Muslim groups that file complaints with human rights tribunals, “the Canadian Islamic Congress did far more to destroy western freedom than 9/11 did,” Levant said. “Nine/11 did not change how we live, but [the Canadian Islamic Congress] got editors to censor ourselves.”
I’m talking about the Jewish groups who support hate crimes legislation in the US and ally themselves with CAIR and with sodomite advocates.
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