Volokh: ‘Ottawa considering hate charges against those who boycott Israel’

A very troubling story from CBC News (Neil Macdonald):

The Harper government is signalling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.

Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions….

The government’s intention was made clear in a response to inquiries from CBC News about statements by federal ministers of a “zero tolerance” approach to groups participating in a loose coalition called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS), which was begun in 2006 at the request of Palestinian non-governmental organizations.

Asked to explain what zero tolerance means, and what is being done to enforce it, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney replied, four days later, with a detailed list of Canada’s updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws “anywhere in the world.”

“I can tell you that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of laws against hate crime anywhere in the world,” wrote Sirois.

I think a good deal of the Boycott/Divest/Sanction movement, which attempts to hold Israel to standards that are not applied to pretty much any other country, is indeed driven by anti-Semitism. But so what?…

…How can public debate about the policies of one’s own country, and of powerful institutions within one’s own country — a debate that is the essence of democratic self-government — effectively continue if one side is threatened with punishment for expressing its positions?…


 

Here’s Ezra’s take on the Ceeb story…

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  • Rosenmops

    I don’t think we should have hate speech laws but damn, it would be good to see the leftists at the United Church get bitten in the *ss by them..

    Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. 

    • They would likely go after this blog as well.

      • WalterBannon

        set it up on an off-shore hosted server and post to it via a proxy server

        Canada’s legal jurisdiction ends at our territorial waters

        • Petey

          Ya know, there otta be a law against that …

          Said some with honestly good intentions. Right.

        • No, they would still come after the publisher.

          • WalterBannon

            they have to prove you are person who posted the article in question, which is the point of denying them a paper trail back to their jurisdiction on servers that they can not legally compel disclosure from…. We still (tentatively) have a justice system and a crime actually requires proof of all essential elements in the crime, including the identity of the accused as the person who committed the offense.

          • If you saw, and I won’t reveal, all the government agencies that visit this blog on a daily basis your head would spin.

          • Rosenmops

            You would think they had there hands full keeping track of the jihadist.

          • Censored_EG

            Hopefully CSIS, police officers, and members of political parties do as a start! They need to know that every Muslim we welcome to Canada is a potential security threat.

        • Frau Katze

          But BCF lives in Canada and that’s what counts (I think the server is in the US).

        • It has been tried before. For awhile Free Dominion was registered in Panama (I think), but the censorship court still went against the owners, because they lived in Canada.

    • Censored_EG

      Are you implying there are any non-leftists at the United Church?

      • Frances

        Sure – the seniors for whom there is no other option, but who are dying off rapidly.

        • Rosenmops

          Once the seniors die off they will convert many of the churches to mosques. Mark my words.

          • Frances

            Sad but true

          • Censored_EG

            It’s already happening in some places.

  • Martin B

    “I can tell you that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of laws against hate crime anywhere in the world”

    To the everlasting shame of this citizen of what was once a free country.

    • Petey

      They’re right up there with our human rights laws. Best in class.

  • The Goat

    Stupid laws, but it’s nice to see them used against the bad guys for once.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      Since they do seem to lie about everything, we might, but only for the “right people”.

    • No we won’t, and I don’t want anti-free-speech laws used against anybody. Allow me to go all Niemoller on you: First they came for the douchebags…

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        I love it!

      • WalterBannon

        yes but these douchebags are crypto-nazis and they have been using these laws against everyone else so they SHOULD be hoisted on their own petard with laws that they created to lord it over everyone else.

        its karma

      • The Goat

        Didn’t they first come for Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant?

      • Frau Katze

        Great line!

    • DD_Austin

      Paid for by the taxpayer supplying by “law” legal aid
      Stupid laws are right, these “suits” won’t hurt them a bit
      they won’t go to jail, or even pay a fine

      but they’ll be a windfall for leftist lawyers to milk the system

    • Kat

      I was gonna say…shouldn’t someone be allowed to boycott products from any country he chooses, and encourage others to do so, if he so desires? (Not that I don’t think the anti-Israel BDS people aren’t idiots…)

      • Petey

        That almost sounds like freedom of association. Can’t have that.

        • Kat

          Heh.

      • HeyMoHeresSomeBacon

        Only up to the point where the boycotters begin to verbally and physically intimidate Jewish students on campuses because they hold pro-Israel views. And since that happens every single time these BDS people hold a “protest demonstration” then it’s time to cage up these animals using hate laws as a means to that end.

        • Kat

          That’s awful that these people harrass the Jewish students, but why not charge them with assault, battery, stalking, harrassment, etc? Hate crimes laws can be turned against anyone, even the “good guys,” with unintended consequences. “Hate speech” is a very ambiguous, subjective concept. It all depends on who, at the moment, defines what is hate. It could end up stifling free speech.

  • Ron MacDonald

    Liberal appointed judges would probably let them off.

    • WalterBannon

      fascists are like that with their fellow fascists

  • WalterBannon

    Look at the fascist Anti-Semites at the CBC, freaking out that they are being called on their fascist hate speech.

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    The fact is this proves that the neocons want only freedom when it is issues they care about. The same with liberal interventionists. They want the war on terror to continue. They want their own talking points to not meet the smell test. Which is why the average person which wants real government oversight and real conversations about where we go in the world has to be dealt with in the court of public opinion. What do the people really want?! Some people may like this but laws are not there to be popular but for everyone to follow. Either you have universal free speech or government sanctioned free speech and that is what I have been saying all along. Governments wants us to fight against each other when authoritarian government I feel is the main issue from keeping us truly united. Which is why the only way to achieve true freedom is by opposing all mainstream parties and challenging mainstream thought. Yes because it is the mainstream parties which like us fighting amongst each other. It is like Stalin said that eventually people would only talk about what the news articles bring up. It is the stuff that isn’t brought up that must be talked about. The political class is afraid of a populace that wishes to challenge them. The political class has it too good.

    • Frau Katze

      We posted this article and apparently we are in the enemy camp. We’re 100% against hate speech laws.

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    How is Rebel going to explain this one away?! I mean I guess we don’t have universal free speech?! I guess you can be prosecuted for being against Israel’s authoritarian regime?

    • Ezra has just posted a rebuttal to the CBC story.

      • Billy Bob Thornton

        After reading the part said by Levant it is clear that by his tone that he probably wants fines or charges against these groups, so one can argue that freedom of speech will have special cases or limits? Of course people on here refuse to admit that one can be against governments for their treatment of people and advocating for war with Iran in the future, so isn’t that hateful? It isn’t a one-way street. Hate crosses both sides. Anti-semitism can be used for anyone that uses the slightest hatred for the state of Israel. I support a two-state solution and am against the Netanyahu government. Does that make one anti-Semitic? The answer is of course no. Are the people in BDS advocating for Nazi tactics? No is the answer. Being a Nazi is uses violent actions. The authoritarian right loves to use foreign policy and comparing it to WW2 their favourite time period. Of course I by no means defend Iran and their tactics in the past. Yes every regime uses talking points and tactics. Who’d have thunk it. It is of course the actions which define a regime rather than words. This mostly has to do with settlement building the BDS movement.

        • Billy Bob Thornton

          Being a Nazi is using* violent actions – 7th last sentence.

          • andycanuck

            Learn to use the ‘edit’ button.

    • Rama44
  • Billy Bob Thornton

    It also shows that using free speech is just cover for what the authoritarian right wants which is to poke, poke, poke. They don’t believe in freedom of speech just for their own causes. Which is why I keep saying dividing is all the mainstream is good for and why the political class must be challenged in order to get real freedom. Real freedom comes from bringing up issues which the mainstream refuses to bring up. The political class hates an informed populace.

    • Censored_EG

      Move to Saudi Arabia, you anal leftist asshole living in your parents’ basement. Good enough rebuttal, cocksucker?

      • Billy Bob Thornton

        Jokes on you I work and go to school and have two diplomas. Nice to try trying to brush everyone you think is a left winger. I am anti-mainstream and feel that the mainstream is only good at dividing us and they hate an informed public. I am extremely against Saudi Arabia. All the Saudis want is a chaotic Middle East. They probably created ISIS along with the US by giving money to the FSA.

        • Then go to Iran, Zafar.

        • DD_Austin

          All of our leaders also have diplomas and regardless of party are assholes, it would seem to follow having 2 diplomas would make one an biasshole, simply capable of putting out twice the shit. with half the thought

          In fact our “leaders” have so degraded the credential
          value of “higher” education “diplomas” as to render them
          as worthless as confederate money

          but they do have one use left.

        • Minicapt

          Your diplomas are for completion of Grade 7 and 9?

          Cheers

          • Billy Bob Thornton

            Mine are Information Technology and Electronics Engineering. Nice try. You don’t know me and never will. Just keep guessing

          • Clink9

            Why guess if we know?

          • Minicapt

            I don’t want to know you. You have shown nothing which might suggest you have something to teach us. If your expertise in IT/EE is as well-founded as your politics, then your diplomas were probably awarded to get you out of the school lest the grades of others be degraded.

            Cheers

          • Censored_EG

            Maybe you will soon then move out of your parents’ basement?

          • DD_Austin

            I’d be impressed…
            if this was 1915 instead of 2015

            In 2015 if your drool hits the paper, you pass
            if you fail, Mr Pavlov gives the makeup test

            http://bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/schoolexam1912.html

  • cmh

    it is a great idea….i strongly support this. The problem is that the supreme court (unaccountable, unelected, feminist leaning, and far left thinking) justices will strike it down and Harper will acquiesce as usual.

  • SDMatt

    I was hoping this was just a lame attempt to get out the message that BDS often = anti-Semitism, after which they’d withdraw the stupid idea.

    Just a you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you can’t be just a little bit fascist. Let the BDS scum say what and do what they want provided it remains legal. Otherwise the Cons should be prepared to go the way of Ed Miliband.

  • Rama44
    • andycanuck

      Neil Macdonald being full of shit? No. Never.

  • Jay Currie

    I posted this over at Dawg’s blog before reading your excellent post:

    And people wonder why we free speechers object to restrictions on speech even in the Criminal Code.

    I think the whole premise of the BDS people is actually profoundly anti-Semitic; so what? They should be allowed to say and do whatever they wish in the name of their skewed political values. Hate as much as they want without it being a matter for state interference.

    If the Israelis and those of us who support them don’t like it that is just too bad. We have the option of having a Buy Israel week. If we don’t like the anti-Semitic imagery on the BDS posters we can draw Muhammad.

    None of this should be any of the state’s business.

    The fun part about having principles is that they keep you consistent.

  • J. C.

    This is a bad idea. If the anti-Israeli lefties are silenced via ‘hate speech’ laws, then a precedent will have been set and they’ll be able shut up our side as well…

    • You bet, and we know from experience with Section 13 that only those considered “right wing” will be prosecuted.

  • Ho Hum

    I am disappointed with Ezra’s take on this story. He calls the CBC story an “imaginary threat”. You only have to read the words of Safety Minister Steven Blaney to realize that this is far from imaginary. Blaney left no doubt that he would use hate speech laws to go after BDS protesters. Who’s next? Is Blaney going to go after those people who are critical of Islam? I am not surprised to see Blaney making these statements. A few months ago in a speech in Washington he said “let’s not forget that the Holocaust didn’t start with gas chambers – it started with *words*” When I read that I knew that our government was going to wage war on free speech. We need to scrap our hate speech laws. This should be to top issue in the next campaign. Without free speech we have nothing.

  • HeyMoHeresSomeBacon

    This is what BDS is actually and completely about. They want the Jewish state gone. They want dead Jews. This is hate. This is what hate laws are meant to stop.

    • While I agree with you as far as the BDS freaks go, the fact is that many people consider criticism of Hamas “hate speech”. Once you start banning speech it only becomes a question of who has the whip hand. (And why would anyone need protection provided by the people who have the upper hand? I’ve never understood that.)

      Why would you want anybody to have the power to tell you what you are allowed to think?

      • HeyMoHeresSomeBacon

        It’s not banning speech. It’s banning the violent intimidation tactics used by these lowlifes against pro-Israel Jews.

        • Please to elaborate on these “intimidation tactics”, and also please explain to me what criteria you favour for the banning of speech, and what penalties you believe the guilty should be subject to.

          Or, since you claim that it’s not “speech” you want to ban, what do you want to ban? Violence in almost all circumstances is already illegal.

          • HeyMoHeresSomeBacon

            And yet the kind of intimidation and violence you see in this movies goes unpunished. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNDCcsH_wgU

          • a) I am not watching a half hour video just for the heck of it.
            b) If the government doesn’t care to enforce the law when actual, criminal, illegal activity is taking place, what makes you think that passing more and more nebulous laws will somehow help the situation?

          • HeyMoHeresSomeBacon

            I apologize. The post of the movie was in response to your request “Please to elaborate on these “intimidation tactics” “. The movie did it much more eloquently than I could.

        • Norman_In_New_York

          That is a big distinction most of us here could support, with actions, not words, determining the official response.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    While I sympathize with Harper on this, the most effective and least abusive way of dealing with the BDSholes is to examine their funding. If it comes from sources affiliated with foreign governments or terrorist organizations, then they can be shut down without resort to dubious legal doctrines.

    • Bingo.

      I don’t think this will ever get off of the ground.

      It’s much better to follow the money than make martyrs out of these inveterate Israel-haters.

      • Norman_In_New_York

        For a tracking of these activities, I recommend the website divestthis.com .

  • Morticiaa

    The shoe shops and others that were boycotted because they sold Israeli products almost went bankrupt. That type of action needs to be thwarted. I think my personal decision not to ever be served or buy from shops where people serve me wearing religious costumes is quite different, or blogs that help others become aware of the implications
    Of extremist Islamic and present news that mainstream news channels never carry
    This site would not be targeted by any new legislation supported by the conservative government.
    They are NOT interested in utilizing hate law legislation against bloggers that inform people about the news and hateful actions of barbarians.
    tHE Liberals on the other hand that is f…ing scary. And as one person
    Commented, the interpretation by dullbrained left leaning judges on the supreme court

    • Jay Currie

      Which is exactly why this bone headed bit of pandering by the Tories needs to be opposed… Hard.

      Free Speech is a right fundamental to democracy. The BDS idiots can say what they like. If they harass or assault anti BDS students we have laws to deal with that.

  • Ho Hum

    I found this article from Vice interesting. I was not aware that Bill C13 that Harper introduced toughened up “hate speech” laws in line with European Union laws on “cybercrime”

    If people are not aware of these changes they need to be!

    https://news.vice.com/article/canada-slams-report-that-it-will-use-hate-speech-law-against-anti-israel-boycotters?utm_source=vicenewstwitter

    “Those sections were updated in March when the government passed Bill C-13 — which was supposed to be a bill combatting revenge porn, but actually expanded police surveillance powers, and updated the laws around hate speech against “identifiable groups.”

    The language there is lifted directly from a European cyber-crime treaty that Canada says it wants to adhere to.

    Asked about the provision when the bill was first introduced, in 2013, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said that “the proposal to include ‘national origin’ in the definition of ‘identifiable group’ would ensure that the hate propaganda provisions protect individuals who are victims of hate-related offenses because of their national belonging or citizenship”, a concept that is not currently caught by ‘ethnic origin.'”

  • Gary

    If these group were equally are harsh to the islamic nations currently murdering yas and flogging women , I’d have sympathy for their fear of the new change.

    Oh wait…………those nation I mentioned hate jews with a passion so what’s a few more dead queer’s and Brown women being flogged when their shared hatred for jews blurs reality and hold the alliance together.

    yes folks, the PRIDE parade has a pro-hamas group of gays even while hamas brutally murders gays in Gaza under sharia law .