Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Comment Trail for Tuesday:

Ezra Levant Is Not Being Persecuted By The State

This is the same Ezra Levant, let’s not forget, who expressed rather less than absolute support for the free speech rights of nutcase Vancouver imam Younus Kathrada not long ago. Not charging Kathadra, who’d been giving out of himself about Jews being related to monkeys and pigs and so on, would be a misguided act of political correctness, Levant wrote. “He should be made an example of, not have excuses made for him. Justice calls for it.”

This same Ezra Levant is himself not above bullying when it comes to the free speech rights of people who think he’s a jerk. As Warren Kinsella puts it: “The fraud, in this case, is my friend Ezra Levant. He is full of crap, actually.”

My comments:

I: What you rather conveniently left out is that the allegation Levant levelled against Kathadra was that he “repeatedly called for the killing of Jews” - utterances that should, by Levant’s own standard, be allowable speech.”

Levant writes:

Officer McGovern asked if I thought there should be any limits to free
speech under our constitution. Of course there should be, and I listed a
half-dozen examples. But I drew a distinction between criminal or tortious speech and political speech. I also pointed out that free political speech isn’t just protected in a liberal democracy — it protects a liberal democracy. That’s because it acts as a “safety valve” for people who want to change society. They don’t have to resort
to arms.”

At exactly one minute into this clip, I describe the Canadian legal test that governments must meet before they’re allowed to override freedom of speech — it’s called the Oakes Test. Officer McGovern nods her head in agreement.”


Of course the question is whether “repeatedly call[ing] for the killing of Jews” is tortious speech or political speech. And is it comparable to publishing cartoons that mock one’s religious icon?


I believe that is really the gist of his beef, that the “process is the punishment”.

Imagine members of this blog being ordered to explain to a governmental authority, either in person or in writing, why they posted a picture of Muhammad Teddy bear which some Muslims found offensive and deliberately hateful, or something.


The question is actually simpler than that. It’s whether Levant was right
at all in characterizing Kathadra’s statements that way,”

“DIANA SWAIN (HOST) :Police in Vancouver say they have been aware for some time of hateful comments attributed to this Muslim cleric. A voice believed to be that of Sheik Younus Kathrada is heard on tape pledging support for the killing of Jews. As Chris Brown reports, while police say an investigation is ongoing, some Jewish groups are demanding immediate action.
CHRIS BROWN (REPORTER) :He is accused of preaching a message of hate. Younus Kathrada, a cleric originally from South Africa, he is the leader at Vancouver’s Dar al-Madinah Islamic Society and now the subject of a hate crime investigation by the RCMP.

RCMP OFFICER :I can tell you that we were aware of some of the comments that were made. And that they were disturbing to us.

CHRIS BROWN (REPORTER) :The comments attributed to Younus Kathrada were references to Jews and the conflict in the Middle East. They were contained on an audio file posted on the mosque’s website.

SHEIK YOUNUS KATHRADA (LEADER OF DAR AL-MADINAH ISLAMIC SOCIETY) :(Tape recording) “We are dealing with the people, the brothers of the monkeys and swines, people whose treachery is well known.”

CHRIS BROWN (REPORTER) :Later in the lecture, the speaker quotes passages from the Koran that he claims urges Muslims to fight and kill Jews.

SHEIK YOUNUS KATHRADA (LEADER OF DAR AL-MADINAH ISLAMIC SOCIETY) :(Tape recording) All Muslims, slaves of Allah, (…) behind me is a Jew, then come and kill him. It is not meant to be understood metaphorically, but rather literally.”


Looks like Kathadra benefited from the Oakes Principle: the onus was upon the police to prove that when he was reciting verses from the Quran that extol the murder of Jews, he was aiming at the same Jews he earlier called “apes and pigs”. And they could not meet the onus, apparently. They asked him what his intentions were, and he said he only meant Israeli Jews. Well, that’s quite another matter, isn’t it? In that case, he is not in breach of the hate laws.


Barenboim's citizenship (Jogo guest post) (Bob From Brockley)

A guest post by Jogo

... In Israel [Barenboin] aligns himself with the most extreme pro-Palestinian positions, which necessarily entail a certain degree (a lot, a little) of anti-Israel position. The only excuse he can have is IF he sincerely believes that his efforts are in the interest of a long-enduring, peaceful and safe Israel. Perhaps he has reasons to believe this.

But ... do his friends on the Pal side also wish for a long-enduring Israel, let alone a peaceful and safe one? Many, perhaps most, do not.

My problem is that I see Barenboim and Marwan Barghouti as having differing views on the meaning of Barenboim's honorary citizenship and passport from the Republic of Palestine.

(read more here)

My comment:

"..the everlasting bond between the Palestinian and Israeli people."

is really not something that should be symbolized or perpetuated. He should have been more honest about it and speak of the bond between HIM and the Palestinian people, via his cooperation with Edward Said. There is no other bond to speak of between Palestinian and Israeli peoples except a bond of mutual enmity, which I'm sure he didn't mean to imply.

Barghoutti is much more honest in what he wants to get out of this "symbolic" act.

Whatever respect I had for Barenboin disappeared when he forced Wagnerian music on an Israeli audience, because HE considered it was time for Jews to move on beyond Wagner's Nazi connotations. That was another grandiose gesture which had little to no effect, and applauded by those who delight in spiting the pain of Holocaust survivors.


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