May 11, 2015

Will Conservatives charge Israel boycotters with "hate crimes"?

Rebel Staff

The Public Safety Minister's assertion that the Harper government is taking a "zero tolerance" approach to organized anti-Israel boycotts has reportedly prompted concerns from civil liberties groups and BDS (Boycott Divest Sanction) activists.

Neil Macdonald of CBC News writes:

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."

He quotes Blaney's aide Josee Sirois as saying:

"We will not allow hate crimes to undermine our way of life, which is based on diversity and inclusion."

Describing the BDS movement as "far more successful for the Palestinians than armed struggle," Macdonald says that Blaney's "zero tolerance" comments:

...alarmed groups that have, to varying degrees, supported boycotts, believing them an effective tool to bring about an end to Israel's occupation and colonization of the West Bank, and its tight grip on Gaza.

Some of these groups had noted that the government changed the Criminal Code definition of hate speech last year, adding the criterion of "national origin" to race and religion.

This change could, they feared, effectively lump people who speak against Israel in with those who speak against Jews.

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commented 2015-05-13 10:25:01 -0400
@ Terry Rudden, and other folks who are confused by this…go to

It is LIBERAL, Irwin Cotler, who is introducing the bill we have to worry about…Harper’s aide simply said he would use the full extent of the CURRENT law.

Ezra’s polemic is on the above youtube site instead of here…for some reason?
commented 2015-05-12 08:50:14 -0400
“Terry, you are one of the few people left in Canada who think a boycott based on race is just fine.”
Rick, you need to read what I actually said. That little algorithm in your head that triggers a response when you detect a “lefty” probably works pretty well for you most of the time, but not this time.
commented 2015-05-11 18:36:25 -0400
Oh! You guys are way ahead of me. I wouldn’t dare interrupt. Except for the fact Jews have been hated and culled for years even tho they invented the banking system we all know and love and credit for anything out of your price range.
Ask any loan officer.
commented 2015-05-11 16:42:31 -0400
This proposed legislation holds promise. A prosecution and/or human rights hearing should peel back the veneer and bring more left-wing bigots into the sunlight.

Terry, you are one of the few people left in Canada who think a boycott based on race is just fine. The same goes for economic sanctions against Jews – saying it is a boycott against Israel when Israel is the only Jewish nation and Israel is the ONLY country in ME being singled out for sanction in a region that is filled with turmoil and violent Arab aggressors is not even good propaganda. It is not “speech” anything, it is just garden variety bigotry being peddled on Retail Street.
commented 2015-05-11 15:42:57 -0400
“These people have lawyers, for pete’s sake – good ones. "
Yes, but then I’ll have to put up with another two hundred posts in here about anarcho-communist judges and their treacherous refusal to ignore the law when precedent and the body of jurisprudence don’t agree with Ezra. One’s patience is limited.
commented 2015-05-11 15:36:23 -0400
Glenn Craig – like SCUM, your diatribe is satirical, of course, and you make my point.

While the government’s posturing may chill the faint of heart, there is no way any but the most committed anti-semite bds organizer will ever be convicted of hate propaganda. These people have lawyers, for pete’s sake – good ones.
commented 2015-05-11 15:27:26 -0400
Terry Rudden – hahaha – but no, I realize the local (national) bds and pso are mostly administered by anti-Zionist Jews but I’m talking about Hamas whose Constitution cites as a primary goal the genocide of all Jews and the international psg that is a Hamas proxy.

I suspect the substance, or lack thereof, of this story is dependent on the fact that Blaney’s first language is French and his English translation was not the greatest. If you look at the facts, as clarified by Sirois, I think you find most opponents of the Netanyahu administration have nothing to worry about. The issue has been made more of, I understand, by some who oppose adding “national or ethnic origin” as a prohibied grounds of discrimination as some bds advocates fear they may be charged with a crime for opposing Israel, i.e., for taking the position that Israel is not a legitimate state and should be dissolved. You do admit, I hope, that that view is represented in bds.
commented 2015-05-11 15:24:17 -0400
The delightful part of this (and correct me if I’m wrong) is this legislation has been in play for quite some time having been brought in by a Liberal Gov’t. And now the lefties are concerned? Where were they when the legislation was enacted? Oh wait, that was Liberal, nothing to see here. In fact, fairly recently the Liberal Party of Canada via Irwin Cotler introduced into Parliment a most draconian bill, that if adopted would put us pretty much on par with facist regimes. Where is the protest and debate about that? The Liberals like facist regimes and were they to form Gov’t, one can be certain they would use such a tool to shut down dissatisfaction with their mode of Governance or illegal activites such as stealing tax monies. Remember, their great Liberal Hero (“just watch me”) PET imposed the War Measures Act on an entire nation for events happening in a single province without letting the local constabulary deal with the situation. So we know Liberals are not adverse to using draconian methods when it suits their purposes.
commented 2015-05-11 14:16:00 -0400
GLENN CRAIG, I see your point, but I was thinking that common sense would be applied to the principle I enunciated. However, maybe that would be asking too much.
commented 2015-05-11 14:02:57 -0400
Upon reading the exceptions and defences of section 319 I cannot help but wonder wether or not The SCUM Manifesto is still required reading in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent and if so is the defence that it is “Old Testament” feminism……:-)
commented 2015-05-11 13:43:55 -0400
Hmm. Well, I’m not sure the sizable percentage of Israelis and expatriot Jews who oppose Netanyahu would accept your breezy suggestion that their goal is destruction of Israel. But I’ll assume this is just one of those instances where we’re substituting rabid hyperbole for rational discourse because of the neighborhood we find ourselves in?
commented 2015-05-11 13:30:34 -0400
What has the BDS folks in a panic is the new provision of “national or ethnic origin” as a prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Criminal Code. They fear that makes promoting the destruction of Israel – and let’s be fair; that is what all but the most naive BDS activists want their protests to achieve – a crime.

Well, we’ll see. Federal legislation is only as effective as its provincial administration and there is a huge gap between what the federal Attorney General wants and what provincial Attorneys General are lilkely to endorse as cases worthy to prosecute.

Stiil, it this chill inhibits some of the virulent Jew hatred so openly expressed and accepted in our society, including by police, as legitimate free speech, then that’s a start.

No one wants to criminalize free and respectful debate. But not allowing Jews any voice whatsoever in debates about BDS and not allowing Jews any vote or say in associated decisions by CUPE, UCC, Quakers and campus PSO-sponsored BDS campaigns is not free speech. Neither is openly promoting genocide of Jews on Canadian campuses.

As for organizations like the UCC, CUPE and Quakers, they should probably take a good hard look at the Hamas Constitution before they go forward in their support for those who want to weaken Israel as they may just find the interest is to completely destroy Israel and with it, all the world’s Jews.

CUPE won’t even consider it, of course, as its organization is highly anti-semitic. CUPE will fight in our courts, using all our tax dollars, the giving to Jews of protection and a voice in CUPE decisions.

Sadly for all Canadians, for Canadian government administration, for Canadian security, for Canadian freedom, for Canadian human rights, for Canadian rule of law, for Canadian democracy.
commented 2015-05-11 13:19:52 -0400
Sorry, Rick, I don’t get your point. You can boycott anyone you want, for any reason you want.
commented 2015-05-11 13:07:54 -0400
Really, Terry Rudden? I want to boycott the entire list of countries with black-dominated governments. Let’s start with South Africa. Why? Because they have all fallen short of my ideal government. But we’ll just boycott the black governments, not the white-dominated or asian-dominated governments.

How now, Brown Cow?
commented 2015-05-11 12:43:41 -0400
Of course Israelis have a reason to be hypervigilant. “Never again” means “never again”.
And I don’t doubt that there are people who support the BDS who ARE anti-semitic.
That’s irrelevant. If you want to boycott Israel because of the West Bank, or Shoppers Drug Mart because they won’t play Christmas music, or California grapes because of their treatment of migrant workers, or Texas Barbecue Sauce because of their death penalty, go for it. If you want to urge others to do the same, go right ahead (a one-person boycott isn’t very effective).
If in the process of promoting a boycott, you employ what the laws define as “hate speech”, then you are subject to the law. But the act of boycotting, in and of itself, is a legitimate political gesture.
commented 2015-05-11 12:30:48 -0400
2013 report on anti-democratic passing of BDS at York University (less than 2 minutes):
commented 2015-05-11 12:24:06 -0400
Ben Shapiro addresses BDS at UCLA – 2-minute clip – to the point:
commented 2015-05-11 12:19:54 -0400
Listen. I taught a university class composed of atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, men and women, gay and straight. So when a campus cop started very openly expressing her Jew hatred, her desire to, as she put it, “genocide all the Jews”, I objected. Publicly and to the administration. Student fees paid for her salary, in part, and my Jewish students didn’t feel that, if assaulted or death threatened or harassed, they could go to campus police and get fair treatment.

Not long after I objected, three hooded men ambushed me in the university parking lot as I got into my car and threw me around. Police caught one of the men who told them he sat in the parking lot for a week prior to the assault to watch me to figure out my schedule. Police called him “a terrorist” but rather than arrest him, they told me it was no longer safe for me to return on campus without a police escort and that I should, therefore, run – get out of Dodge – leave town.

Imagine what it is like for young Jewish students on campus whom not even police will protect from similar harassment.

No one is going to criminally charge some Muslim student activist for boycotting Israeli products. That is not the crime. The crime is the climate of fear created not by student activists but by powerful and wealthy international anti-semitic political lobbies that organize the local and campus boycott and divest campaigns.

Like I said, I hope the feds charge the organizers – under the law – which would require connecting the dots with evidence of overt and organized anti-semitic hate crimes.

Having said that, a friend of mine, Rick Spencer, was in the news a year back for opposing Boycott and Divestment at U. Of Windsor. Through our association, I met and debated issues with others interested in the conflict between pro- and anti- boycott and divest. Including a very earnest young Muslim academic with whom I continue to correspond on topics of mutual interest. He is pro-boycott and divestment and one of the university’s activists. The dialogue has been very civil.

My young Muslim academic friend finally acknowledged that Israelis may have good reason for suffering a little hyper-vigilance and expressing a little exaggerated startle response to repeated bombings during the ten year War of Attrition, given the 6 million genocided that the Palestinian offenses have never allowed the survivors to recover from. He acknowledged how full of hate the surviving families of the 3,000 Palestinians lost to Israeli defensive actions feel toward Israelis and, krrationally, toward Jews, and acknowledged that Israelis may feel the same overpowering and irrational hate toward all those whose governing Constitution prioritizes killing all the Jews, as does the Hamas Constitution.

Civil dialogue is productive. But some of the boycott and divestment campaigns don’t let Jews speak to the issues and don’t allow students a democratic process for voting on issues. In other words, the process can be a little more than heavy handed. It can be discriminatory.

Campuses need to be places where all students, not just Islamists, are – not just “feel” – free to civilly and respectfull speak their minds without fear of reprisal. As it is now, that is not the case on far too many Canadians campuses.
commented 2015-05-11 12:14:52 -0400
It would be very interesting to see Mr. N. McDonald charged with a hate crime. I do not recall him ever condemning the PLO or any other anti-Israeli group. Why would that be, Mr. McDonald? Hmmm?
commented 2015-05-11 11:23:34 -0400
Ron Voss…I don’t even draw the line there….tall grass does not become safer when you cut off a rattlesnakes tail and I would not want to live in a Canada where I risk getting zapped with a TASER for shouting KILL THE UMPIRE in the bleechers at a baseball game.
commented 2015-05-11 10:58:56 -0400
For the double-standard thinking, left-wing ‘progressives’ it depends upon who, in their view, is being ‘hated’ or offended. Reveals the silliness and, more seriously, the assault on freedom of speech of the whole hate crimes legislation and so-called human ‘rights’ commissions. To me, the line is crossed when people make statements advocating physical violence against someone or a group, like saying, “Kill the _____________ (fill in the blank)!
commented 2015-05-11 10:53:17 -0400
Boycotting Israel is a joke and a huge failure. Left wing a holes like Ridden would attempt such a huge flop.
commented 2015-05-11 10:47:43 -0400
Those idiots are harmless. They just put Pal Arabs out of work.
commented 2015-05-11 10:41:48 -0400
This is absolutely brilliant…I have long advocated that Heddy-up-her-Assy Fry’s "hate crime " legislation was poison so now the leftards are finally going to get a taste of their own medicine and be taught just how dangerous it is to have such laws.

I wonder where Mr Hate Crime advocate Irwin Cotler stands on this?

A group of Sheila Copp’s strange pets wanted 319 of the criminal code modified so that it would get you a deuce in the basement at Millhaven for calling a feminist a bitch while “men are pigs” would remain exempt. That took a five year court battle to undo which pretty much bankrupted the guy who undertook it.

The Attorney General gets requests ALL THE TIME to charge church groups and men’s advocacy groups with hate crime.

It never occurred to the Liberals when they enacted these laws that they might ever loose power and have it turned back on them.

Problem is the current Supreme Court of Canada will never strike them down because there are members on it who were instrumental in enacting them in the first place.

The howling in the comments section of the CBC is just short of a storm the Bastille type riot.

Now all of a sudden it’s an issue to the CBC…..the prejudices of a Liberal government being enforced with these laws was fine….but now….absolutely brilliant….the conservatives win a major point and set a major precedent either way.
commented 2015-05-11 10:39:41 -0400
Hopefully not in itself Terry. But sometimes the motivation for such boycotts are anti-Semitic. And as Joan has suggested, our universities are breeding grounds for such sentiment.
commented 2015-05-11 10:38:15 -0400
Thanks, Judy. I was getting confused on a few fronts.
Israelis who disagree with Mr. Netanyahu’s policies have the option of voting against him as a way to bring political pressure to bear. Non-Israelis don’t have that recourse, and an economic boycott is a time honored strategy for outsiders to promote change. I personally do not and will not boycott Israeli products (don’t much like the wine, but I love my soda-stream): but to argue that urging a boycott is a “hate crime” is silly. Are those who urged boycotts of Chinese products because of China’s treatment of Tibetans guilty of “hate crimes”?
commented 2015-05-11 10:30:25 -0400
If we are understanding this correctly, this does not seem to me to be a Conservative-type action by the Harper government and treads closely to left wing actions intent on restructuring society. How can a conservative support making it “illegal” to boycott a country when governments place sanctions on countries all the time? Am I confusing Libertarianism with conservatism here?

I would never boycott Israel, and in fact, choose purchases from Israel if there is a choice, but we must allow other private citizens to advocate thus if they wish…this is very close to the argument on free speech…Individuals, as we speak boycott various countries/stores/union goods/etc. without being advised to do so, just because of personal reasons.

It is a person’s right to refuse to purchase items from any organization/state of which they disapprove…such as China (everything), USA, Britain, Italy, Mexico (winter vegetables), Iran (dates in grocery stores,come to mind) and Turkey (figs) etc.

@ Terry Rudden…I share your concern/bewilderment!
commented 2015-05-11 10:14:05 -0400
Can’t wait to see homer kawder involved in one of these protests – should be entertaining.
commented 2015-05-11 10:12:05 -0400
The government can charge them with “hate crimes”, but with the record of our legal institutions, I have little hope of actual convictions… never mind that the Media Party would spin this into some kind of anti-Harper noise…