The making of a national celebrity
Look at him: David Ahenakew doesn't look like a national celebrity. Granted, he does appear younger and fitter than most 75-year-olds, but he's not particularly riveting to the eyes or enchanting to the ears. He's certainly not the sort of man whose name you would predict would get more than 20,000 hits on Google.
And that, my friends, is the power of having a talented agent doing your PR for you.
Ahenakew has had Canada's best PR man these past six years. Forgive my ethnic pride, but few people know how to promote celebrity talent like the Jews do. Ahenakew's super-agent has been the Canadian Jewish Congress's Bernie "Burny" Farber -- the same turbo-promoter who turned Ernst Zundel from a nobody kook in a hard-hat into an international celebrity; the same one who turned Jim Keegstra, a small-time loser in a small-time town, into a national star.
What Don King is for up-and-coming boxers, Burny is for up-and-coming anti-Semites. He turns nobodies into somebodies, and he takes a healthy cut. His 15% isn't cash, but PR for himself and his fellow ethnic hustlers in the "human rights" industry. I once heard Burny tell a Calgary audience that he's in the "hate business". Indeed he is. And a business isn't a business unless you can find new products every few years.
As I've written before, David Ahenakew had the ear of pretty much no-one until Burny found him. Ahenakew's grandchildren had to listen to the old fool, and he was still invited to Aboriginal conferences as some sort of superannuated "elder", but people really didn't listen to him. He muttered conspiracy theories. We've probably all encountered the type -- nutty and harmless.
He was a fading star, like Richard Dreyfuss in the early 1980s. But Burny saw the potential in him.
When Ahenakew made some foolish anti-Semitic remarks to a reporter back in 2002, Burny moved fast. He was part of the chorus calling for Ahenakew to be prosecuted for the criminal code section about "hate" -- as if a normal human emotion could be criminalized.
After a trial, an appeal and a re-trial -- six years of prosecution -- Ahenakew was acquitted today.
So what has Burny achieved?
Ahenakew has not changed his mind -- he still hates Jews. Probably more than when he was charged with hating them six years ago.
Ahenakew's statements about Jews have not evanesced into the air, as they would have had he been properly ignored (or informally rebutted, instead of prosecuted by the state). His anti-Semitic views have been repeated countless thousands of times in newspapers, TV shows and, of course, the Internet. The ramblings of a fool have thus received more of an audience than the thoughtful prose of most best-selling authors in Canada.
And Ahenakew's conspiracy theory -- that the Jews control the world, and persecute their enemies -- is just a little bit more plausible, certainly in his own mind and that of his supporters.
Did Burny's cheerleading of the prosecution of Ahenakew abate anti-Semitism? Of course not. But I'm sure the powerful anti-Semites in Canada -- those at the Canadian Islamic Congress and the Canadian Arab Federation, both of whom have had friendly relations with Burny's Canadian Jewish Congress -- were thrilled that Burny was directing public attention towards such an obviously harmless nut like Ahenakew, instead of their truly nefarious Jew-hatred.
Burny's obsession with censorship backfired in every way that counts. But according to the Infomart media database, it did earn Farber 107 media mentions since Ahenakew was charged. 107! You'd think Saskatchewan was infested with neo-Nazis, not gophers. Ahenakew might not have been convicted, but Farber dined out on his account for six good years.
There shouldn't be any "hate" provisions in the criminal code. Hating someone isn't a crime. Committing a real crime is a crime -- such a murder, or even incitement to violence. Ahenakew didn't do any of that.
It is of little consolation to those who believe in freedom of speech that Ahenakew was acquitted -- six years of being put through the criminal courts is a form of punishment in itself. But at least Ahenakew, at the end of the day, was acquitted. Had he been charged under one of Canada's "human rights" kangaroo courts, he most surely would have been convicted -- not a single "hate speech" case heard by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ever resulted in an acquittal, and that foul law has been on the books for 32 years now.
Ahenakew had the benefit of a real judge, not a human rights busy-body pretending to be a judge; he had the benefit of real and timely disclosure, not the selective and heavily-edited disclosure abuses perpetrated by the Canadian Human Rights Commission; he had access to legal aid if he needed it, something not available under the CHRC (and 91% of the CHRC's hate speech targets are too poor to hire a lawyer); and, most importantly, Ahenakew had the right to be presumed innocent, and his prosecutors had to convince the judge "beyond a reasonable doubt", a protection not afforded to targets of the CHRC.
That's why the Burny Farbers of this world love the HRCs -- they are far more open to political abuse than the Criminal Code's hate speech provision. Lucky for Ahenakew, he didn't blog his comments -- or he surely would have been visited by the CHRC, which has jurisdiction over the Internet.
The acquittal of Ahenakew is pointless. The man has already been punished for his political crimes; his foul views have spread further than he ever could have imagined; and free speech, while technically the victor, still had to bow down to a court for six years.
How many more millions of taxpayers' dollars will be wasted on political trials like this?
How many more anti-Semitic nobodies will be turned into national stars like this?
How much longer will the strategy of Official Jews like Burny be to outsource the responsibility of political citizenship to courts, instead of doing the hard work of rebutting anti-Semitism themselves?
How many more assaults on freedom of expression -- even odious expression, which is protected by our constitution -- must Canada endure?
I don't know -- ask Burny.