Freedom of expression and criticism of Israel by British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) with commentary by Arthur Topham

https://bccla.org/2015/04/freedom-of-expression-and-criticism-of-israel/

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Freedom of expression and criticism of Israel
April 1, 2015

by BCCLA

The BC Civil Liberties Association is deeply concerned about the effects on freedom of expression of recent changes to hate speech laws and the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel regarding Public Diplomacy Cooperation.

Section 318 of the Criminal Code prohibits advocating or promoting “genocide.” Genocide is defined as intending to destroy, in whole or in part, any “identifiable group” by killing members of the group or deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction. The “identifiable groups” covered by this provision were expanded in 2014 in the misnamed “cyber-bullying bill.” Identifiable groups now include sections of the public not only distinguishable by ethnic origin, but also by national origin.

Whatever other subjects the government intended to capture by expanding the hate speech laws to include “national origin,” it surely had a view to Israel, given that shortly after the passing of the Bill, the government issued an MOU with Israel in which it claims “that the selective targeting of Israel reflects the new face of anti-Semitism.”

The BC Civil Liberties Association has had long-standing concerns about the use of hate speech laws, and in particular, about the ability of hate speech laws to chill legitimate political speech. Our association is unequivocal in denouncing anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. We believe that the goals of fighting racism and defending civil liberties can and must be advanced together and that censorship weakens Canadians’ freedom without reducing racism. We best defeat racism by actively promoting arguments in favour of racial amity, not by enlisting the state to silence people.

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All decent people will agree on the noxiousness of anti-Semitism. But reasonable and decent people can and do differ about what the law should do to address racism. The BCCLA has long argued against “hate speech” laws, which do more damage to democratic debate than they do to protect those vulnerable to acts of bigots. The expansion of the hate speech laws and the language of the recent MOU clearly suggest that strong speech criticizing the state of Israel or its policies could be construed as illegal. Yet this is speech clearly protected by the Charter.

This situation constitutes a two-fold threat. The Charter rights of Canadians whose speech criticizes Israel are threatened. In addition, failing to meaningfully support Canadians’ right to political speech in this context, threatens the legitimacy of Canada’s work to combat anti-Semitism.

The BCCLA joins many organizations in calling on the Canadian government to ensure that citizens’ Charter rights are protected in the context of political speech and legitimate political actions, such as boycotts, with respect to criticism of the state of Israel.

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 Commentary by RadicalPress.com Publisher & Editor  Arthur Topham

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[Editor’s Note: These comments were posted on the BCCLA website] Tentatively this post is encouraging but the BCCLA must go beyond section 318 and address the more meaningful and dangerous aspects of section 319(2) of the Criminal Code which deal with so-called “Hate Propaganda”. It’s there that “Freedom of expression and criticism of Israel” is being challenged and it’s there that the BCCLA must take a stand in order to ensure that any Canadian who criticizes either the state of Israel or its political ideology Zionism, is fully protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Currently this is NOT the case and it is exemplified by my own situation wherein the Jewish lobby organization B’nai Brith Canada has been harassing and legally attacking me and my website http://www.radicalpress.com since November of 2007. They began their assault on my Charter right to freedom of expression by first laying a sec. 13(1) “hate crime” complaint against myself and my website in November of 2007. That quasi-legal procedure lasted right up to the day when the specious section of the Canadian Human Rights Code was finally repealed in June of 2012.

Knowing full well that sec. 13(1)’s shelf life was over and that they wouldn’t be able to use it any longer to try and censor my writings and publications B’nai Brith Canada then turned to sec. 319(2) of the Criminal Code and charged me with the very same “crime” of “promoting hatred toward Jews” (only this time they left out the words “and citizens of Israel” which were included in the original sec. 13(1) complaint).

As a result I’m now facing a possible 2 year jail term for publishing material (not even written by myself and freely available on numerous other websites) critical of the state of Israel and its Zionist ideology. I was arrested in May of 2012 and all my computers and electronic files stolen by the BC Hate Crime Unit and my case is currently before the BC Supreme Court.

Should the Crown win and a precedent be set with regard to the issue of criticism of Israel then that precedent will undoubtedly be used against any other Canadian publisher, writer, blogger to stifle debate and shut down websites.

I highly recommend that the BCCLA issue a public statement regarding the use of Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code to thwart freedom of expression and criticism of Israel and make it perfectly clear that Canada’s “Hate Propaganda” legislation is not acceptable in a free and democratic nation.

For further information on Regina v. Radicalpress.com please see here: http://www.radicalpress.com/?page_id=2553

——

KARMA: Ezra Levant, Zionism & the Politics of Deception by Arthur Topham

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KARMA: Ezra Levant, Zionism & the Politics of Deception

by

Arthur Topham

“What goes around comes around”

~ modern-day English expression to describe the Buddhist Law of Karma

The recent November 27, 2014 guilty ruling by Justice Wendy Matheson in the defamation lawsuit against Sun News Network’s Zionist Jew propagandist Ezra Levant by Khurrum Awan a Muslim Canadian lawyer came for many as a surprise and a grave disappointment.

What this reflects for those caught up in the deceptive rhetoric of Ezra Levant and his background support network of international Jewry (and those not), is that there are within that sector of people paying attention to Canadian and global politics, two schools of thought when it comes to the issue of freedom of speech or expression; one that sees Levant as the leading spokesperson for freedom of speech and another which views his actions or behaviour as that of the proverbial Trojan Horse – interposed within the Jew media monopoly in order to serve the needs, not of Canada, but of the Israeli agenda which, ultimately, means the ideology of Zionism.

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One aspect of the case which emerged and that played a crucial role in determining to what extent Levant had defamed Khurrum Awan, was the perennial ploy of the Jews and their monopoly media cartel to fling the accusation “anti-Semitic” at anyone who so much as brushes up against their holy of holiest shrines, the state of Israel and its atheistic Zionist ideology. Anything that could possibly relate to that issue, no matter how tangential in nature, should it be deemed critical in any way of the assumed supremacist and racist nature of the Jews-only state, automatically ensures that the author of said critique will be subjected to this self-chosen epithet in order to demean and vilify the writer or speaker and thus render him or her persona non grata in the eyes of the general public and unworthy of further respect or attention.

This method of dealing with Zion’s critics has a long and infamous history; one that for the most part has worked extremely well over the past century and longer to silence and discredit opponents of the Jewish conspiracy for global hegemony. This is why the ruling in Awan/Levant libel case has suddenly and so succinctly delineated the possibility that such success may be on the wain, a very real, shocking and threatening thought for those who have been so adept at flashing that card and automatically expecting to trump any argument presented by the non-Jewish or gentile critic no matter how legitimate, logical or truthful.

This same reaction to Justice Matheson’s ruling could easily be compared with the former controversial sec. 13 Canadian Human Rights Code legislation that was the subject of heated debate for many years until it was finally repealed by the Harper government in 2012 when his handlers (the Jewish lobbyists) realized that such a specious law was in fact a double-edged sword that could be, and was being used against not only the gentile population of critics of Zion but also the Jews themselves.

That said, in the case of myself, another longstanding victim of Levant’s similar bellicose and libellous accusations of being “anti-Semitic”, the ruling came more as a pleasant surprise and along with that sense of satisfaction the hope for a possible turnaround of a decades-long systemic pattern of legal misfeasance on the part of Canada’s judiciary when it comes to finding anyone of Zionist Jew persuasion guilty of a crime (other than that of child porn which is fairly common).

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The reaction by the Zionist media was expected and throughout their news networks and affiliated blogs the feigned cries of outrage were heard resounding across the msm and over the internet. Why this should come as such a shock to Canadians merely illustrates the power of the Zionist press and its tv media to instil their version of “political reality” into the minds of unwary readers and viewers.

Why decent, thoughtful people should be overly upset by the fact that Levant was found guilty of defamation is, in itself, disconcerting given his years of promoting the Zionist agenda of spreading lies and hatred about the Muslim people at the behest of his Zionist controllers who continually feed his fragmented ego and fill his purse with scheckles; an agenda designed to build up a much greater and lethal game plan of inciting the whole of Western nations into a frenzied, unfounded and pathologic hatred of Muslim nations as the pretext for endless, imperialist wars against the people of the Middle East.

For those who haven’t figured out what Zionism is yet (other than the Zionist’s version), coming to terms with Judge Matheson’s decision will be difficult to understand and accept and it’s only through a greater understanding of who Ezra Levant really is that one can begin to fathom the depth of deception that the Canadian public has been subjected to over the past seventy years of media and judicial transgression that has left our nation bereft of any reliable and truthful reference point from which to reasonably and intellectually access what’s going on in our world of politics and law.

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I’ve been following Levant’s meteoric rise to fame and misfortune ever since 2007 when I became embroiled in the sec. 13 drama after B’nai Brith Canada (a Jews-only secret masonic organization) filed a complaint against myself and my website  in November of 2007 with the Canadian Human Rights Commission seeking relief for discriminatory publication under prohibited grounds caught by  Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act claiming that, to wit: The premise of this complaint is a contention that Arthur Topham of Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada and his internet publication known as  Radicalpress.com  contrive to promote ongoing hatred affecting persons identifiable as Jews and/or as citizens of Israel.

It would be advisable for readers to take special note of the last three words in that complaint as they illustrate in no uncertain terms what the Jewish lobby here in Canada wants to establish as law – NO CRITICISM OF ISRAEL! Their same modus operandi is now in play in my current Sec. 319(2) criminal charge of promoting “Hate Propaganda” toward “people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin“.

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There is so much more to be said about Ezra Levant and the reasons why he’s been elevated to the status that he now holds in Canada’s media and how it ties in with the Harper government, the racist state of Israel and the global pursuits of Zionist juggernaut that wants control of everything from our personal data to the final say in every law and decision ranging from the local to highest branches of international governance on the planet.

I will leave readers with a list of my own critiques of this Zionist stooge who the msm has employed for years to voice the agenda of Israel under the guise of freedom of speech in Canada. Maybe after reading further those still in awe of this Zionist double agent for Israel will come to see him for what he truly is, a traitor to Canada just like his co-conspirator Stephen Harper.

~*~

Further articles on Ezra Levant by Arthur Topham:

Zion’s New Crusaders: Ezra Levant – Muslim Hunting Jew – Rallies Canada’s Zionist Christians in Support of Israel by Arthur Topham July 28, 2014

THE PROFIT EZRA LEVANT: Saviour of the Christians. By Arthur Topham June 20th, 2014

Fighting for Zion and the Freedom to Brainwash Canadians with Ezra Levant by the Radical Press Parody Dept. February 22, 2014

Why I Ought to Sue Ezra Levant November 11, 2012

I HATE ARTHUR TOPHAM! – Ezra Levant on The Source Nov. 8, 2012 November 9, 2012

B’nai Brith Canada: Still Beating the ‘anti-Semitic’, ‘Hate’ Drum November 9, 2012

Zionist Jew Media Campaign to Smear Radical Press November 7, 2012

National(Zionist)Post:Preemptive Hit Smear on Radical Press November 12, 2012

Ezra Levant: Zionist Word-butcher & German Hater By Arthur Topham April 27th, 2009

SMEAR JOB!!! : The Zionist Media’s Mendacious Battle to Control Canada’s Election Agenda By Arthur Topham Sept 29, 2008

The Biggest Threat to Canadian Jewry is Zionism By Arthur Topham August 25, 2008

Free Speech for Jews: A Critique of Ezra Levant’s “Jews for free speech” article By Arthur Topham July 4, 2008

Free Speech in Canada: A Review of the ongoing Lemire, Levant & Steyn cases By Arthur Topham May 18, 2008

How the Canadian Human Rights Commission violates the rule of law by Ezra Levant Commentary by Arthur Topham March 13, 2008

Comments on Ezra Levant’s article “What can be done?” By Arthur Topham January 18, 2008

The Israeli Genocide Of Gaza Continues: I Was Wondering When These Psychotic Criminals Would Play Their Holocaust Card, And Here We Go!

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MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014

The Israeli Genocide Of Gaza Continues: I Was Wondering When These Psychotic Criminals Would Play Their Holocaust Card, And Here We Go!

The slaughter of the innocent people of Gaza continues… Right now, the criminally psychotic state of Israel has turned their armies towards the center of Gaza itself and especially Gaza City itself.  Over the next few days I can guarantee that the death toll from these mass murdering thugs as they continue to shoot and maim Palestinians without any just cause will escalate.  What we are indeed witnessing it the criminal Israeli “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem” which will be the extermination of every single one of them.  It is cold blooded murder and much of the world remains blinded to the truth of this slaughter thanks to the criminal Jewish control of the media and our governments.

With the psychotic Israelis no longer able to use the “murder” of those three Israeli youths last month as their excuse for the extermination of the Palestinians in Gaza, I was wondering when these psychos would try to play their ultimate “trump card” by trying to insanely equate this slaughter to their still unproven and unresearchable “Holocaust” of World War II.   Well it seems we need not wait any longer, for according to this newest article from the Jerusalem Post online news service at www.jpost.com, these psychos are claiming that the ongoing protests across Europe and America against their evil actions in Gaza could lead to a rapid rise in “antisemitism” and even a new “holocaust”.   The article itself is entitled: “We Are Looking At The Beginning Of A New Holocaust” and I have it right here for everyone to view in disgust for themselves.  I do have my usual thoughts and comments to follow:

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The situation facing European Jewry is “simply intolerable, unacceptable and inexcusable,” Israeli Jewish Congress president Vladimir Sloutsker told MKs and foreign diplomats at a special session of the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on Monday.

Calling the rise in anti-Semitic incidents accompanying Israel’s invasion of Gaza an “SOS situation,” Sloutsker warned that if left unchecked, such behavior could lead to another European genocide.

“Never before since the Holocaust, have we seen such a situation as today,” he said, referring to the continent-wide demonstrations by pro-Palestinian activists, a number of which have generated into violence and many of which have featured racist rhetoric.

“We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now. These events [violent demonstrations and expressions of anti-Semitism] will only grow in scale across Europe,” he asserted.

Addressing the legislators and representatives of a number of European governments, including those of Denmark, Holland and France, the oligarch and former head of the Russian Jewish Congress called for Jewish communities across the continent to “unite and consolidate.”

Sloutsker also called on all European governments to impose what he called “strict regulations” on the format and content of demonstrations in order to prevent further violence against Jews.

Citing a recent proposal by Belgian Jewry to establish a position of Special European Commissioner to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and racism, Sloutsker said such measures would “help send a strong message that European leadership is united and committed to combating anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.”

A number of Israeli legislators echoed Sloutsker’s call for a more proactive European approach to combating anti-Semitism.

“Fight together with us,” MK Shimon Ohayon urged the diplomats present, adding that he was opposed to “dangerous propaganda” that painted Israel as an aggressor.

Jews in Europe have been targeted because they are Jewish and not because of any territorial claim or conflict in the Middle East, the lawmaker asserted, but “because they are against them because they are Jews,” citing attacks against Jews in France, including a recent riot in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles in which the synagogue and Jewish stores were targeted by people.

“We ask you to stop this wheel” of “anti-Semitic hatred in Europe,” he added, calling anti-Zionism the “new anti-Semitism.”

The world “must understand” that Israel is fighting against terrorism, committee chairman Yoel Rzbozov said in response to Ohayon’s statement, echoing the prevailing sentiment among the lawmakers present.

The state will not allow one Jew to remain undefended, MK Yisrael Hasson chimed in, asserting that the fates of European and Israeli Jews are intertwined.

Jews is Belgium are being asked “why are you killing children in Gaza?” Rafael Werner, a representative of Belgium’s Jewish community recounted, asserting that there is little distinction being made between Jews and Israelis.

“There is no hasbara in Europe,” he complained, using the Hebrew term for public diplomacy.

The situation in Europe is “dire,” said MP Meir Habib, a Jew who represents French expatriates in the National Assembly. While praising the French political leadership for their commitment to defending their country’s Jewish community, he said that hearing calls for the deaths of Jews at demonstrations left him “concerned that there will be a second Toulouse,” a reference to the 2012 shooting deaths of several Jews at a Jewish school in that city.

Decrying what he perceived as a lack of concern for the mass deaths accompanying the Syrian civil war, Habib complained that accusations of “disproportionate” actions by Israeli forces have been harmful and asserted that the media is “the primary problem.”

Most French Jews will remain in France despite a high rate of emigration, he concluded, imploring his Israeli counterparts to “help those who stay.”

European representatives present during the meeting sought to assure the room that their governments are committed to defending local communities.

“We refuse to allow any conflict to be imported into French society,” a representative of the French embassy said. “The security of the Jewish citizens of France is an utmost priority for us. Our determination will not falter.”

“Forceful measures have to be taken against cases of anti-Semitism or it will increase,” Dutch Ambassador Casper Veldkamp said. “The situation is severe. We risk importing the conflict from the Middle East to Europe when Europe should export respect.”

Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr agreed but cautioned the communal leaders and legislators about linking anti-Semitism and the current Israeli military operation.

“We are discussing anti-Semitism. There is also another discussion going around the table pertaining Operation Protective Edge,” he said. “I would warn against mixing apples and oranges…we as a society also defend the right of people in Denmark to voice their protests against the actions happening on the ground. You know the position of my government on that.”

However, he added, Denmark supports Israel’s “right to defend itself” and will “exert all efforts to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism.”
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NTS Notes:  Again, because I do live in Jew occupied Canada and we have our own outrageous “hate crime” laws that muzzle any research into the validity of the “holocaust”, I cannot comment about that period of history… I ask everyone to do their own research and to draw their own conclusions…..

What we have here is a vain attempt by these psychos to get their slaves in the European Union to squash any protests and dissent against their actions in Gaza…. The problem is that people are not stupid, and can clearly see that these psychos are indeed out to slaughter and exterminate an entire people, and these people are rising up against Jewry and protesting in the streets of Europe and everywhere around the world…

I do have a suggestion for these monsters… If they do not like the fact that people are protesting and waking the hell up to their evil actions then how about stopping your aggression and genocide against the Palestinians… And  how about giving up your evil ways and actually try to live with the rest of mankind?

I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before these monsters tried their fraud “holocaust card” to try to end protests against their evil actions… The problem is that by now everyone is no longer fooled by this “holocaust” rhetoric.   The Jews have tried to play that card so many times in the past that people are sick of their lies and deceit.  Therefore the screams of “holocaust” are now falling on deaf ears…

The world is indeed waking up to the danger of these monsters and what they are doing in Gaza. Their constant whining, always trying to play the “victim”, and cries of “Holocaust” are definitely no longer working..

More to come

NTS

SOURCE: http://northerntruthseeker.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-israeli-genocide-of-gaza-continues_28.html

 

Criminalizing Criticism of Israel in Canada by Micheal Keefer, Global Research

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/criminalizing-criticism-of-israel-in-canada/5376306

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Criminalizing Criticism of Israel in Canada

Bill C-13, A “Digital Trojan Horse for the Surveillance State”

By Michael Keefer

Global Research, April 02, 2014

Region: Canada

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The international campaign calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, as a peaceful means of persuading that state to abandon its systematic violations of international law and its policies of apartheid dispossession, colonization, and blockade in the occupied Palestinian territories, has recently enjoyed a burgeoning number of successes.1

In early February 2014, The Economist noted that BDS “is turning mainstream,”2 and former Israeli Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg wrote in Haaretz that the “BDS movement is gaining momentum and is approaching the turning point […. at which] sanctions against Israel will become a fait accompli.”3

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a point of indicating that he and his allies would respond vigorously to this trend. Some of the reports about a cabinet meeting where “tactics” were discussed revealed more about internecine divisions than about the substance of the meeting: “Netanyahu convenes strategy meeting to fight boycotts”—but he deliberately excluded some senior ministers:

“Left Ministers Kept Out of Secret Cabinet BDS Session.”4

Yet although Israeli media indicated “that ‘the discussion was held in secret’, with an imposed ‘media blackout’,” one source that reported this fact was able to give a fairly precise sense of what went on behind closed doors:

Ideas apparently discussed by senior ministers included lawsuits “in European and North American courts against [pro-BDS] organizations” and “legal action against financial institutions that boycott settlements … [and complicit] Israeli companies”. There is also the possibility of “encouraging anti-boycott legislation in friendly capitals around the world, such as Washington, Ottawa and Canberra”, and “activat[ing] the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S.” for such a purpose.5

This kind of “lawfare,” as it is sometimes called, is nothing new (nor, one can add, is the notion, also discussed at this meeting, of bolstering surveillance of pro-BDS organizations by military intelligence, the Shin Bet Security Service, and the Mossad). It’s also evident that the pro-Israel lobby has been active in mobilizing politicians in the “friendly capitals” of Washington, Ottawa, and Canberra for many years.

Recent fruits of that labour have included, in Canberra, threats made in June 2013 by Julie Bishop, a senior member of Julia Gillard’s incoming Australian government, that “supporters of an academic boycott of Israel” would have their “access to public research funds summarily cut off.”6 In Washington, a bipartisan “Protect Academic Freedom Act” that would deny federal funding “to colleges and universities that participate in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars”7 has been brought before Congress.

But what of Canada, whose Prime Minister is Mr. Netanyahu’s most faithful friend?8

This essay will argue that revisions to the Canadian Criminal Code proposed by the Harper government contain wording that is designed to enable lawfare prosecutions of human rights activists in precisely the manner desired by Mr. Netanyahu and his associates.

1. Bill C-13 and its deceptions

Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, received first reading in the House of Commons in November 2013. In a web page devoted to “Myths and Facts” about this bill, the Department of Justice rejects the “myth” that “Bill C-13 is an omnibus crime bill that deals with more than cyberbullying.”

Bill C-13 is not an omnibus crime bill. It combines a proposed new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images to address cyberbullying with judicially-authorized tools to help police and prosecutors investigate not only the proposed new offence, but other existing offences that are committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence. [….] The Bill does not contain the former Bill C-30?s controversial amendments relating to warrantless access to subscriber information and telecommunication infrastructure modification.9

However, Dr. Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has observed that Bill C-13 does indeed retain provisions that permit an increased warrantless access to personal information, far beyond what is envisioned by the current Criminal Code.10 Criminal lawyer Michael Spratt has denounced the bill as a “digital Trojan horse for the surveillance state”:

most of C-13 has little to do with protecting victims [of cyber-bullying]. This bill would recklessly expand the surveillance powers of the state. It sacrifices personal privacy. It limits or eliminates judicial oversight. It is inconsistent with recent Supreme Court jurisprudence. It’s a dangerous bill.11

The Department of Justice’s claim that “Bill C-13 is not an omnibus crime bill” is transparently false. As another critic, Terry Wilson, has remarked, despite being promoted “as legislation to prevent online bullying, the bill actually has very little to do with bullies and has sections ranging from stealing cable, hacking, surveillance, to terrorism (cyberbullying accounts for 2 out of the 50 pages in the bill) […]. The bill even includes ‘hate legislation’….”12

In this latter respect Bill C-13 incorporates, once again, a Trojan horse. The bill adds wording to the Hate Propaganda sections of the Criminal Code that seems, on the face of it, to do no more than to bring these sections into conformity with other parallel texts—with several important documents of international law, and with a sentencing provision later in the Criminal Code where the same wording already appears. But a second intention is also arguably at work in this part of Bill C-13, for there is good reason to believe that the new wording is intended, while deceptively avoiding any public debate over the matter, to make it possible to prosecute human rights discourse and advocacy relating to the oppressive treatment of Palestinians by the state of Israel as hate speech or incitement of hatred.

This view of the intention underlying Bill C-13 is supported by Prime Minister Harper’s speech to the Israeli Knesset on January 20, 2014 (which will be discussed below). It can draw support as well from the fact that an identical change to the wording of the French penal code made in 2003 by the so-called Lellouche Law has permitted the conviction of some twenty French human rights activists for incitement of racial hatred.13

The results in France have been paradoxical. France is, like Canada, a High Contracting Party of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949—whose first article states that “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.”14 The people convicted for incitement of racial hatred under the Lellouche Law are participants in a movement that has been consistent in its firm rejection of antisemitism and all other forms of racism.15 This movement advocates a peaceful exertion of economic pressure with the aim of persuading the Israeli state to end its multiple and systematic violations of international law, including in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, which Israel has been repeatedly been condemned for flouting by UN committees and reports, as well as by independent agencies such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The facts of the matter are thus unambiguous: in enforcing the Lellouche Law, and redefining human rights activists as people guilty of hate crimes, the French state has simultaneously been violating its prior solemn commitment “to respect and to ensure respect for” the Fourth Geneva Convention “in all circumstances.”

One of the aims of Bill C-13 appears to be to place Canada in a similar situation of openly violating one of the central instruments of international law.

2. Alterations to the meaning of Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code

Section 12 of Bill C-13 proposes several small additions within that part of the Criminal Code (Sections 318-321.1) that carries the subtitle “Hate Propaganda.” Section 12 reads as follows:

12. Subsection 318.(4) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(4) In this section, “identifiable group” means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or mental and physical disability.16

(The emphasis here indicates the wording being added to the current Criminal Code by Bill B-13.)

These proposed additions within Section 318 of the Criminal Code, which is concerned with the crime of “Advocating genocide,” also have an impact on the meaning and application of Section 319, which is concerned with the crimes of “Public incitement of hatred” and “Wilful promotion of hatred,” and in which—as Subsection 319.(7) states—“’identifiable group’ has the same meaning as in section 318”. The relevant clauses in Section 319 read as follows:

319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.17

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The most noteworthy addition to the concept of “identifiable group” is that of the category of national origin, which has no evident connection to the ostensible purpose of Bill C-13, but may be understood as linked to another agenda that was forcefully enunciated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his January 20, 2014 speech to the Israeli Knesset—namely, that of re-defining criticism of the policies and behaviour of the nation-state of Israel in relation to its Palestinian citizens and to the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territories as hate propaganda.

As a February 2014 report in the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz indicated, the hate-crime convictions in France several months previously of twelve human rights activists, supporters of the international campaign advocating boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, were secured under the Lellouche Law, which “extended the definition of discrimination beyond the expected parameters of race, religion and sexual orientation to include members of national groups.”18

3. The Lellouche Law: another Trojan horse?

Whether intentionally or not, the Lellouche Law has functioned as a kind of Trojan horse. Dr. Jean-Yves Camus has remarked that this law, “passed on 3 February 2003, in the wake of an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic violence, allows judges to impose harsher sanctions upon perpetrators of racist violence, than those they would normally receive in the case of a similar act of violence not motivated by racism.”19 As the Haaretz report on the criminalization of BDS activism in France indicates, the law’s ostensible purpose, at a time when the openly antisemitic, anti-immigrant and neofascist Front National of Jean-Marie LePen had been attracting increased support, in southern France especially, was “to strengthen French republican values and counter sectarian tendencies”:

The law was passed in 2003, shortly after unprecedented gains by the far right National Front party in the presidential election.

The measure was designed to respond to a social climate of not only mounting anti-Semitism, but also anti-Arab discrimination and xenophobia.20

The “Outline of motives” that prefaced the Lellouche Law when it was presented to the Assemblée Nationale in November 2002 was explicit in its repeated statements that the additions to the Penal Code proposed by this law were primarily intended to target openly racist violence:

“violences ouvertement racistes,” “actes de violence intentionellement racistes,” “violences à caractère raciste,” “agressions à caractère raciste.”21

Although this text specified that racist violence could be “moral” as well as physical,22 the two recent examples it offered to the deputies of the Assemblée Nationale were the “openly racist murder” of a young Frenchman of Moroccan origin in northern France in October 2002, and racist aggression directed against young students of a private Jewish school in the 13th arrondissement of Paris in early November.23 Noting that existing French laws already targeted racial discrimination, the incitement of hatred or violence, and Holocaust revisionism, the prefatory outline defined the purpose of this law as being to significantly enhance the penalties imposed in cases where attacks on people or property are racist in character—as when racism is involved in acts of torture and barbarism, violence resulting unintentionally in death, and acts leading to mutilation or permanent disability, as well as acts involving damage to or the destruction of property.24

Despite this explicit statement of intention, the Lellouche Law has been applied in another manner altogether—on the pretext that in eight of its nine articles it includes the category of “nation” in the definition of groups that can be understood as victimized. As the Haaretz report indicates, this law “has been invoked repeatedly against anti-Israel activists. France has seen 10 trials against BDS supporters based on Lellouche.”25

Pascal Markowitz, head of the BDS legal task force of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), is frank in his assessment of the Lellouche Law’s instrumental value. He is quoted by Haaretz as saying that “the law is ‘the most effective legislation on BDS today.’ ‘We had only one acquittal, so the statistics are looking good,’ he said.”26 But other political figures in France have taken a different view of the matter:

“These convictions are unconscionable,” Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, a French member of the European Parliament, said at a special session on the case in Strasbourg in 2011. “Governments are doing nothing to end Israel’s illegal occupation [of the Palestinian territories] and the French court is wrongfully denying citizens from acting through BDS.”27

trojanhorse

It’s important to understand what is meant, in the present context, by a “Trojan horse.” In every version of the ancient story, from Homer to Virgil,28 the essential point is the same. The hollow wooden horse was a duplicitous stratagem used by the Greek army that had for ten years been besieging Troy; it succeeded because the horse was deceptively dual-purpose in nature. Pretending to abandon their siege, the Greeks left this huge artefact behind: its plausible overt function was as an offering to the gods, which the Trojans were persuaded to drag into their city in celebration of their supposed victory. But it also had a second concealed function—as a treacherous means of getting a body of armed Greeks inside the walls of Troy, so that they could open the city gates at night when the rest of their army returned.

The Lellouche Law has served as a Trojan horse because when it was passed it seemed an appropriate and plausible means of dealing with an increase in racially motivated violence in France that coincided with an upsurge in support for a frankly racist far-right political party. But the law has since been used for a quite different purpose: that of criminalizing the discourse of human rights activists who speak out in support of respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law.

4. The insertion of “national” into Sections 318 and 319: just “housecleaning”?

According to a report by Paul McLeod of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the addition of the word “national” to Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code is explained by the Department of Justice as being “designed to match the wording of a protocol from the Council of Europe, a human rights organization.”29 The reference is to the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, adopted in Strasbourg in January 2003. In Chapter I, Article 2.1 of this text the word “national” occurs in a definition of the groups understood to be victimized by “racist and xenophobic material.”30

McLeod indicates that some legal experts have proposed that the change is “likely a mere housecleaning amendment to bring the Criminal Code in line with the wording of other statutes.”31 The word “national” does indeed occur in similar contexts in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 20, and in Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide. Moreover, Bill C-13 brings Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code into conformity with the sentencing provision in Section 718, which already includes all the groups (national origin, age, sex, and mental and physical disability) that were not included in Section 318.(4) but have now been added.

A “housecleaning” explanation of the changes is thus entirely plausible.

However, the housecleaning has not actually been very thorough. In its current form, Section 318 of the Criminal Code, which defines the appropriate punishment for the crime of advocating or promoting genocide, is a somewhat peculiar text—for its subsection 2, while clearly derived from Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide, omits clauses (b), (d), and (e) of that article’s definition.32

David MacDonald and Graham Hudson have remarked that when Parliament ratified the Convention on Genocide in 1952, it excluded some of the clauses of Article 2 from Canada’s Criminal Code, on the grounds that matters such as the forcible removal of children are not relevant to this country. (Given the existence of Canada’s system of church-run residential schools, into whose custody native children were forcibly transferred, it seems obvious that the last clause of the Convention’s Article 2 was excluded in bad faith.) MacDonald and Hudson note as well that when in 2000 Parliament adopted the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, it thereby made the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (which includes the Convention on Genocide’s full definition of genocide) a part of Canadian statutory law.33 Section 318 of the Criminal Code is thus anomalous in its current form, in that its definition of the crime of genocide excludes clauses which are nonetheless part of Canadian statutory law because of their incorporation into the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

In a thorough housecleaning of this part of the Criminal Code, the inclusion of the three omitted clauses from Article 2 of the Convention on Genocide would have been an obvious step to take.

I mention this not because it tells with any force against a “housecleaning” explanation of Bill C-13’s insertion of the word “national” into Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code: as noted above, that explanation remains wholly plausible. But what this example does suggest is that the framers of Bill C-13 may not have been single-mindedly focused on housecleaning.

harper-netanyahu

Prime Minister Harper’s January 20, 2014 address to the Israeli Knesset leads us toward a second explanation of the purpose of Bill C-13?s insertion of the word “national” into the definition of groups that can be victimized by hate propaganda. In suggesting that this speech reveals with some clarity the thinking that underlies this addition to the text of the Criminal Code, I do not mean to imply that the primary and overt explanation of the change as a “housecleaning” matter is displaced by this second underlying intention—for that is not how Trojan horses work.

A Trojan horse is by its nature duplicitous, but that duplicity can only be successful to the degree that the horse’s overt and primary purpose remains plausible.

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