Does ‘boycott Israel’ equal ‘hate speech’? Canadian government says ‘maybe’…
On May 11 of this year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) published an article in which it was suggested that activists campaigning for a boycott of Israel might soon be cited under ‘hate crime laws’. Within 24 hours a spokesman for the Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, had issued a reply which labelled the CBC’s initial report ‘inaccurate and ridiculous’.
The notion that calling for a boycott of a nation could constitute ‘hate speech’ certainly is ‘ridiculous’, and Canadians would want to hope that the CBC’s initial reports prove to be ‘inaccurate’. As this article will demonstrate, another country within the Commonwealth has already witnessed any false pretenses of ‘freedom of speech’ swept away where criticism of Israel is involved.
The following is an excerpt from the CBC’s initial article on May 11:
The Harper government is signalling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel…
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.”
Putting aside for now the fundamental absurdity of ‘hate laws’, note that the Canadian government apparently takes pride in having ‘the most comprehensive’ such laws ‘anywhere in the world’. This ought to give the first clue as to the ultimate agenda of whomever currently controls Canada, and that agenda is not the freedom of the people whom they are supposed to represent. Whether or not most Canadians know it, their legal right to speak freely was further eroded late last year, as explained in the reply article:
[The] clarification most likely was in reference to Bill C-13, the so-called cyberbullying bill that received royal assent on Dec. 9, 2014. In that bill, Canada’s hate laws were amended to include “national origin,” along with race and religion, as criteria for groups that could be targets of hate speech.
These ‘hate laws’ might well land Canadians in court should they dare to criticise Israel for its crimes against innocent Palestinians. If this sounds absurd, that is because it is absurd – and one needs only to look to Australia to see that the consequences of Orwellian ‘thoughtcrime’. In 2011 an Australian man named Brendon O’Connell was sentenced to three years in prison for his thoughtcrimes after he took part in a protest outside a Perth supermarket.
Ominously for Canadians, the protest called for a boycott of Israeli fruit. O’Connell was officially charged with ‘racial vilification’ after an altercation between himself and a Jewish man who had begun video-recording the protest. As if three years in prison was not farcical enough, O’Connell is currently not permitted to use modern technology and his only correspondence with the online world is via friends who post on his behalf.
Perhaps more concerning is the fact that the name Brendon O’Connell is almost completely unknown in Australia. His trial received little mainstream media attention (and what little attention it did receive was blatantly biased). A problem not unique to Australia, most people here could tell you who won last year’s professional footy grand final and/or who their favourite Masterchef contestant is, but only a tiny fraction of the populace have any idea what little legal or social right they have to express their opinions on topics such as Israel, Judaism or Jewish power. And just as sadly, few of them have any opinions on these topics other than what they are told by their televisions anyhow.
And who controls what is screened on those televisions? Given the location of your author and likely to location of many of this article’s readers, merely discussing that topic might soon be ‘criminal’. Not that it will stop your writer, now or ever, but a further elucidation of that topic is beyond the scope of this article. In the meantime, the following 12-minute video gives a rough overview of the situation currently facing Canada; let’s hope Australia can serve as a warning.
-John le Bon
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