December 2009 Archives
Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is one of my favourite books. It's by far the most powerful political call to action I've ever read -- clever, touching, at times laugh-out-loud funny and heart-wrenchingly sad. It was also staggeringly popular in the 1850s: 300,000 copies were sold in its first year in a U.S. population of just 23 million (3 million of whom were slaves).
Adjusted to today's U.S. population, that's like selling 4 million copies in a year -- of a 500-page political manifesto. That's Harry Potter sales territory. No wonder Abraham Lincoln, when he met Stowe, said "so this is the little lady who made this big war".
Of course, before I read the book I had heard the phrase "Uncle Tom" to describe blacks who were disloyal to their race. So I was quite surprised to read what Tom was actually like -- loyal, generous, patient, Christian. He certainly wasn't the enemy in Stowe's book: she focused her fury on white apologists for slavery, and even moreso on those whites who claimed they were against it, but did nothing to change it. (My favourite chapter is this one about a senator who was publicly harsh on runaway slaves. His wife, who would never "trouble her head with what was going on in the house of the state", insisted they harbour one who showed up at their door in a snowstorm.)
Tom wasn't anti-black. And he wasn't pro-slavery. He simply had inertia. He wasn't a reformer. He had discovered the few comforts of being a slave, and focused on those. He was resigned to things. And then there was his personal loyalty to his masters. The book's subtitle is "Life Among the Lowly". That was Tom -- by destiny or by choice.
Which is why Irwin Cotler is the Uncle Tom of the Liberal Party.
Cotler is not anti-Semitic, of course. He's not anti-Jewish or anti-Israel (although he occasionally does very strange things, like support the Jew-hating terrorist Omar Khadr, and promote the U.N.'s anti-Israel International Criminal Court). But, like Uncle Tom, he puts up with a party that does abide anti-Semitism, and certainly anti-Israel sentiment. And, far worse, he put up with it when the Liberals were in government -- and even when Cotler himself was in cabinet.
A Jewish Uncle Tom? If you've read the book, you'll know that's a perfect comparison, especially his protests when other Jews say they're not satisfied with how the Liberals treat them. And Cotler is hurt -- hurt! -- that people would question his party's views on Israel, and dare to send a brochure about that to his -- his! -- neighbourhood. He even raised a point of privilege about it to the Speaker of the House. If only he had been so noisy when his own party was selling Israel down the river. But there were no self-righteous press conferences or Parliamentary speeches then.
Like Uncle Tom, Cotler is loyal to his master -- and they occasionally throw him some crumbs in thanks. But, more often, they use his loyalty as "proof" they're not anti-Israel, and to try to hush up those Jews who are impatient.
One more Cotler anecdote before I come to my point.
I can't remember when I first met Cotler; I think it was in 2002 or 2003 when the late Israel Asper was helping to organize a new pro-Israel lobby effort. This was in the wake of the Durban fiasco that the Liberals had disgracefully attended; the second Intifada was still hot; and Canadian media and politicians were too often siding with terrorists and terrorist states over democratic Israel. The pro-Israel case was losing in the court of public opinion.
Asper called together a small meeting in Toronto -- a half dozen people or so -- to talk over dinner about what to do. Sen. Grafstein was there; so was Cotler. To my surprise, I was invited too.
I was fascinated by Cotler's description of how the Liberal government dealt with matters of Israel. Cotler explained that there were indeed Jews in high ranks in the PMO and cabinet, including the deputy prime minister at the time, Herb Gray, and Jean Chretien's senior advisor, Eddie Goldenberg. But Cotler said that when an issue came up about Israel, and Chretien would take a reading of the room, the Official Jews were silent -- so Chretien would naturally assume that they approved of his position, or at least didn't object enough to speak out.
Cotler's point was that Chretien was not actively anti-Israel, or at least he didn't regard himself as that -- he certainly wasn't on some ideological warpath against Israel. He would look at the Jews around the table and, hearing no complaints, would adopt his course of action. So his policies were passively anti-Israel -- the passivity being that of his court Jews.
Asper called these Jews "the Jews of silence". Sort of like Uncle Tom, really -- they liked being porch slaves a lot better than being field slaves, so why cause a fuss?
Cotler said other interesting things that day, including identifying some of the key anti-Israel policy advisors in the government (such as Claude Laverdure). But his main point was that the Jews in the party were simply complacent and compliant -- and even the Israeli embassy wouldn't speak up. Cotler said the Israeli ambassador would tell Chretien that, second only to the U.S., Canada was Israel's best friend. It was probably true, too -- though that's not saying much.
Chretien thought he was a friend of the Jews and of Israel -- they were certainly friendly enough to him in return, especially on the fundraising side of things.
There was a trace of defensiveness to Cotler's explanation that night: after all, he implied, could Jewish Liberals really take a more pro-Israel stance than the Israeli embassy itself? There's something to that -- Israel's diplomats had very low expectations, but that had become a political obstacle to improving policy. But the main thrust of Cotler's report was one of resignation: the Liberal government, left to its own devices, would be of little help, and the Jews within that government were Jews of silence.
That was six or seven years ago: Cotler was calling Goldenberg, Gray and other Liberal Jews Uncle Toms.
Who's the Uncle Tom now?
Well, Cotler is. And I said so in passing in my blog entry about the Liberal Party's support for an anti-Israel lobby group called KAIROS:
That was fine with the Chretien government and fine with the Martin government and fine with the Liberal Party's porch Jew, Irwin Cotler. They kept giving seven-figure grants of taxpayers dollars to KAIROS...
That was a week ago, but my Liberal friend Jason Cherniak -- one of the last 100 Jews in the Liberal Party -- finally read that item (he reads out loud, so it takes longer), and issued this response on Twitter:
do [Conservatives] care @ezralevant makes Cotler p0rch m0nkey puns?
And this is the point of the within blog post -- besides an opportunity to point out that Irwin Cotler has become an Uncle Tom Jew, just like he once accused Gray and Goldenberg of being.
I used the phrase "porch Jew", an anology to the dichotomy between field slaves and house slaves. Cherniak read that as code for a racist anti-black epithet ("p0rch m0nkey") that I have never used in my life. His implication makes no sense anyway -- but it is a window into his mind. When Canada's top young Liberal hears the word porch, he thinks of racist slurs.
It reminded me of that Liberal Party photoshop contest that showed an assassination of Stephen Harper.The murder joke was the worst of it, but the contest also featured a lot of gay-themed attacks on Harper, as Robert Jago pointed out. Same sort of thing: anti-gay bigotry is a high crime to Liberals -- unless they're making the insults themselves, in which case it's high-larious!
Same with other bigotries. The obvious example is Warren Kinsella's misogyny and anti-Chinese bigotry, which would have been firing offenses for a Conservative, but were only objectionable to the Liberals when they started to cost them votes. And then there's the issue at hand: the Liberal party's growing anti-Israel nuttiness that would be called Jew-hatred if it came from the right instead of the left.
I understand Cherniak's situation: it must be tough to support a leader who accused Israel of war crimes. But at some point, he's got to decide whether growing up to be am Uncle Tom like Cotler is really the right ambition.
In the meantime, Cherniak should learn to read certain words -- oh, say like the country Niger -- without chuckling like Beavis and Butthead.
...at least by comparison to 2009. That might not be saying much, but it's something.
When Ignatieff fired Warren Kinsella from his war room last month, I predicted that act of good housekeeping would stop the party's free-fall in the polls, and lead to a slow but steady diminution of the gap between the Conservatives and Liberals. It's too early to call it a trend, but in the month since Kinsella was fired, that gap has closed by 0.5%, according to Nik Nanos. That's statistically insignificant -- it's less than the margin of error -- but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
That remains my prediction for 2010: with Kinsella's serial lack of judgment now removed from Ignatieff's war room to a (more) harmless position as a CTV pundit, and with grown-ups like Peter Donolo in charge of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, the Liberals will make fewer gaffes and engage in fewer Kinsella specials -- expect to see fewer roid-rage style explosions from Ignatieff like "your time is up!" and "I will mess with you until I'm done!"
I don't believe Ignatieff will completely close the gap. As the Nanos poll shows, a shockingly low 10.9% of Canadians believe he is the most trustworthy -- and, though I haven't seen the cross-tabs, I bet it's even lower among women.
So that's my prediction: a chastened but stabilized Liberal Party. Say, speaking of predictions, how did Kinsella's predictions from a year ago turn out? He made ten of them:
1. There’ll be an election...
2. The Liberal Party of Canada will win the election, because we’ve got the most impressive leader...
3. The Liberals will win the election...
4. The [Conservatives] will lose the election..
5. The economy, as I’ve suggested before, will be the answer to every political question...
6. The Conservatives iron communications discipline will continue to crack...
7. The Liberals, meanwhile, will continue to embrace communications discipline...
8. If they come up with a stinker [of a budget] they’ll be defeated in the House of Commons and at the ballot box...
9. We’re overdue for some sort of environmental calamity...
10. Warren will spend quite a bit of time in Ottawa...
Can it really be that he went zero for ten? Ouch -- especially on that last one! Following in the foosteps of that kind of prescience, Donolo can't help but improve things in 2010, can he?
I've been fighting against Canada's censorious and corrupt human rights commissions for nearly four years now; it was in February of 2006 that the print edition of the Western Standard, may it rest in peace, reprinted the Danish cartoons of Mohammed to illustrate a news story. The "human rights" nuisance suits against the magazine, and me as its publisher, began immediately after that. But it wasn't until December of 2007, when Maclean's magazine got swiped by the jihadists at the Canadian Islamic Congress, and January of 2008, with my own interrogation at the hands of Alberta's HRC, that I came to understand the full scope of the problem that these HRCs represent to Canada and our ancient freedoms.
It's been two fascinating years since then. There have been a few stressful times in those years, when the nuisance lawsuits were piling up, but those occasional moments of concern are too few to mention when compared to the constant satisfaction of being part of a global team of freedom fighters -- a grassroots "army of Davids" fighting against the HRC goliath. Not only have I made many friends (and, to my great relief, received financial support to fight the nuisance suits), but I think we've managed to go on the offensive and rekindle a national discussion about freedom of speech.
I remember, back in January of 2008, when I had to scour the news every day just to find some scrap to write about; today there are a dozen bloggers and a half dozen MSM journalists on the beat, full-time. HRCs across the country are now being covered by reporters who used to ignore them -- and who now mine them for the rich stories that you would expect from a kangaroo court. Seriously: when was the last time you saw a news story about an HRC that wasn't goofy, stupid, politically correct or just plain outrageous? They really are a gift to journalism, especially opinion writers, radio talk show hosts and editorial cartoonists. Too bad that gift comes at such a high cost, both in taxes and lost liberties.
Here comes 2010, and our battle for freedom continues -- it always will. I came across this item that I published in the National Post two years ago, on December 18, 2007. I think it holds up pretty well. What's different is that back then, I was writing, as an observer, about censors like Richard Warman and the Canadian Islamic Congress. Now I'm actively battling against them in the courts of law. As I think you can tell, I've loved the fight -- and I love it even more that we're winning!
That's the one thing that I got wrong: I was too pessimistic. Not only did Maclean's magazine beat the HRC rap, but that trial in B.C. did enormous damage to the credibility of all HRCs, in a courthouse packed with angry reporters. And the case of the Christian pastor, of course, was overturned just a few weeks ago by a real court in Alberta. So that's proof that things can get better if we are tenacious. We forget that sometimes, as we battle day by day, inch by inch. But when you stop to look back over two years, you realize how far we have come. Courage!
Here's the Post item from December 2007, that was for me the beginning of many wonderful things:
Censorship in the name of 'human rights'
The Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) is taking Maclean's magazine to a human rights commission. Its crime? Refusing the CIC's absurd demand that Maclean's print a five-page letter to the editor in response to an article the CIC didn't like.
It may shock those who do not follow human rights law in Canada, but Maclean's will probably lose.
Forcing editors to publish rambling letters is not a human right in Canada. But that's not how the CIC worded their complaint, filed with the B.C., Ontario and federal human rights commissions. Maclean's is "flagrantly Islamophobic" and "subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt" according to a CIC statement. "I felt personally victimized," said Khurrum Awan at the CIC's recent press conference. All this because Maclean's dared to run a column discussing the demographic rise of Islam in the West.
It's a new strategy for the CIC, which in the past has tried unsuccessfully to sue news media it disagreed with -- including the National Post -- using Canada's defamation laws. But Canada's civil courts aren't the best tool for that sort of bullying. In a defamation lawsuit, the CIC would have to hire its own lawyers, follow the rules of court and prove that it suffered real damages -- and the newspapers would have truth and fair comment as defences. Launching a nuisance suit against Maclean's would result in an embarrassing loss for the CIC, a court order to pay the magazine's legal fees and it would deepen the CIC's reputation as a group of radicals who don't understand Canadian values. (Three years ago, Mohamed Elmasry, the CIC's Egyptian-born president, declared that every adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorists).
So civil lawsuits won't work. Criminal charges are a non-starter, too: Canada's hate-speech laws are reserved for extreme acts of incitement, and charges can only be laid with the approval of the justice minister. And in criminal court, the accused must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. No chance there.
That's why human rights commissions are the perfect instrument for the CIC. The CIC doesn't even have to hire a lawyer: Once the complaint has been accepted by the commissions, taxpayers' dollars and government lawyers are used to pursue the matter. Maclean's, on the other hand, will have to hire its own lawyers with its own money. Rules of court don't apply. Normal rules of evidence don't apply. The commissions are not neutral; they're filled with activists, many of whom aren't even lawyers and do not understand the free-speech safeguards contained in our constitution.
And the punishments that these commissions can order are bizarre. Besides fines to the government and payments to complainants, defendants can be forced to "apologize" for having unacceptable political or religious opinions.
An apology might not sound onerous, yet it is far more troubling than a fine. Ordering a person -- or a magazine -- to say or publish words that they don't believe is an Orwellian act of thought control. The editor of Maclean's, Ken Whyte, maintains his magazine is fair. But human rights commissions have the power to order him to publish a confession that he's a bigot -- or, as in one Ontario case, even order someone to study Islam. Even convicted murderers cannot be "ordered" to apologize.
Human rights commissions are a relatively new creation, formed in the 1960s and 1970s for political reasons, not legal reasons. The main issues that these commissions were created to address -- such as racial discrimination in rental housing and employment -- were already covered by established landlord and tenant law, as well as labour and employment law. The commissions were supposed to be an informal, sympathetic forum for vulnerable people who needed extra help; and commissions were limited to dispensing a few thousand dollars. It was like small claims court for minorities; a shield to help them against the sword of discrimination.
Few human rights complaints still fall into those categories. A quick canvass of Alberta's cases over the past few years, for example, reveals not a single complaint from someone denied rental housing based on race. The most common cases seem to be employees quitting over squabbles with other staff -- a female backhoe operator claimed her rights as a woman were violated for being called "honey" and other locker-room talk on a construction site; a male hair stylist claimed his rights were violated because the girls at salon school called him a "loser." Another common complaint is sick or injured people being dismissed for not being able to do their jobs anymore, claiming that they have a "human right" not to be fired. In 2004, Albert's Family Restaurant in Red Deer was ordered to pay $4,900 to a kitchen manager who was fired because she had contagious Hepatitis C-- illegal discrimination based on disability, said the commission.
Most cases are not about real rights, and the rulings are wildly inconsistent. The commissions have become a whimsical tax-man, where businesses are charged a few thousand dollars for making the mistake of hiring thin-skinned employees. For most companies, it's not even worth paying a lawyer to contest the complaint, other than on principle.
But besides sorting out office politics, some of Canada's human rights codes cover "publications." Those powers were originally meant to cover things like signs saying No Jews Allowed or Whites Only (in human rights jargon, symbols that "indicate discrimination") or a swastika or burning KKK cross planted on someone's yard.
You don't need to be a lawyer to know that a magazine article is not what the founders of human rights commissions had in mind. As Alan Borovoy, the general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association -- and one of the architects of modern Canadian human rights law -- wrote last year, "during the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create such commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech." Censoring debates was "hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions."
Borovoy's warning has gone unheeded. The opposite, actually -- it signalled to the CICs of the world that human rights commissions are the perfect instrument to pursue their agenda of censorship. At the federal Canadian Human Rights Commission, for example, one single activist -- a lawyer named Richard Warman, who used to work at the commission himself -- has filed 26 complaints, nearly 50% of all complaints under that commission's "hate messages" section. He's turned it into a part-time job, winning tens of thousands of dollars in "awards" from people he's complained about in the past few years. Warman is a liberal activist, who likes to complain against Web sites he calls racist or homophobic. He's had the common sense to stick to suing small, oddball bloggers who can't fight back. But surely the CIC has observed Warman's winning streak, and will use his precedents to go after Maclean's.
An even more terrifying precedent recently was set in Alberta. The case involved a letter to the editor written by a Christian pastor and published in the Red Deer Advocate newspaper. The letter was a zealous, even rude, expression of the pastor's belief that homosexuality was a sin, and that there was a homosexual political "agenda" that had to be stopped. But instead of joining the debate by writing a letter to the editor, a local teacher complained to the human rights commission.
The commission's one-woman panel--a divorce lawyer with no expertise in constitutional rights -- ruled that "the publication's exposure of homosexuals to hatred and contempt trumps the freedom of speech afforded in the Charter." That was it: Freedom of speech, and of the press, and religion, all of which are called "fundamental freedoms" in our Constitution, now come second to the newly discovered right of a thin-skinned bystander not to be offended.
In a rare move, the Alberta government sent a lawyer to intervene in the case -- against the pastor. The government lawyer argued that "if people were allowed to simply hide behind the rubric of political and religious opinion, they would defeat the entire purpose of the human rights legislation." Borovoy's well-intentioned laws aren't about making sure aboriginals can get taxi rides anymore.
The human rights panellist in question -- Lori Andreachuk, a former Tory riding association president -- wholeheartedly embraces this expansion of the definiton of "human rights." "It is, in my view, nonsensical to enact … human rights legislation, to protect the dignity and human rights of Albertans, only to have it overridden by the expression of opinion in all forms," she wrote. Though no harm was proved to have come from the pastor's letter, it "was likely to expose gay persons to more hatred in the community" -- precisely the same language used by the CIC in their complaint against Maclean's.
In a ruling that spanned some 80 pages, Andreachuk spared just two paragraphs to explain why she was overruling the Charter's guarantee of freedom of speech. In real courts, a demanding legal hurdle called the Oakes Test must be passed before that can be done. The reason for infringing a Charter right must be "pressing and substantial," the infringement couldn't be "arbitrary or irrational" and it must be as "minimal" as possible. None of that analysis was even attempted by Andreachuk -- that's boring legal stuff for real judges in real courts. The Oakes Test was named after David Oakes, a man charged with trafficking of hash oil, who beat the rap using the Charter. Accused drug dealers get the benefit of the Constitution, but not accused pastors.
There will be more human rights complaints like the CIC's, and more staggering rulings like the Alberta decision. It's odd: Mohamed Elmasry, an apologist for Islamo-fascism, using the same tools as an "anti-racist" leftist like Richard Warman. At first glance, they may seem like opposites, but they're actually identical: Both are illiberal censors who have found a quirk in our legal system, and are using it to undermine our Western traditions of freedom. Until last week, I would have thought that Maclean's magazine was too big a fish for them to swallow. I don't think that anymore.
Allow me to be the first Jew to say to you "Merry Christmas."
Not "season's greetings." Not "happy holidays." Merry Christmas. Nothing added, nothing taken away.
Once, not so long ago, the chief challenge for Christians at this time of year was putting Christ back into Christmas -- reminding the faithful that Christmas isn't just about egg nog and presents, but that it was a celebration of the Christian God and His birth.
Today, the battle isn't to keep Christ in Christmas -- it's to keep Christmas at all.
Foremost in the war to deracinate anything Christian in society is the government, especially the federal government. At official memorial ceremonies, ranging from the Swiss Air memorial to the one after 9/11, the mention of Jesus is expressly forbidden. Even the military's chaplains are facing their emblem -- a stylized cross -- being removed from their caps, lest it offend. By contrast, immediately after 9/11, Jean Chretien visited a Muslim mosque. Paul Martin underwent an aboriginal "smudge ceremony" when he became PM.
But both men each swore that their own religion, mere Christianity, would never affect their political decisions, especially on matters of morality.
Both authorized campaign attacks against their political challengers -- Preston Manning, Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper -- for daring not to abandon their own faiths upon entering the public square, too.
This year, an agent of Revenue Canada telephoned Calgary's bishop, Fred Henry, and threatened that if the priest dared to criticize the Liberal government's policies on moral issues, he'd risk having the church's charitable status removed -- and thus subjected to massive taxes. The prime minister's spokesman called the bishop a liar. Really? I know who I believe.
Once, people feared entering politics if they committed a moral sin in their private life. Now, they fear entering politics if they promote moral virtue in public life.
Secular fundamentalists say this is necessary for separation of church and state. But that concept is an American one, not Canadian (even there, the only prohibition in the U.S. Constitution is against government abridging religious rights). Their motto is "In God We Trust."
In Canada, our Constitution is positively stuffed with religious rights, including government support for religious education. The very first sentence in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms reads "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and rule of law."
Freedom of religion is the first freedom listed in the Charter, ahead of freedom of speech or the right to vote. Our head of state, Queen Elizabeth, is also head of the Church of England.
Our anthem asks God to keep our land glorious and free. Parliament and legislatures open with a prayer.
This is not just about ornaments or incidentals. It is an outward reflection of the core values that make us different from, say, Iran, or Togo. We are not just another country. We are a great country, not because of our geography or economy, but because our culture is rooted in the highest ideals. They are Christian principles - call them Judeo-Christian principles, if it makes you more comfortable. But that is what makes Canada great -- not our forests, or weather, or government spending.
Those principles are being attacked. Sometimes frontally, as with the latest assault from the Supreme Court.Sometimes subtly, as with the advent of "seasons greetings" and "winter holidays." There are many solutions needed. But the simplest is to start saying "Merry Christmas," and correcting those who don't.
Yesterday I wrote that KAIROS, the anti-Israel NGO that had a $7 million funding application turned down by the Conservative government, was scrubbing its website of evidence of its anti-Israel activities and connections.
Today, someone identifying himself as Nik Beeson, KAIROS's webmaster, left a comment denying it.
So let me prove to you that KAIROS is scrubbing their website after the fact.
Here's a small proof.
Take this page, called "resources for education and action". As you can see, there is now a prominent disclaimer at the top of the page that disowns the more radical "resources" linked to on the page, implying that KAIROS does not actually agree with what it's propagating.
Now look at that same page, caught on Google cache two months ago, before KAIROS had its funding cut. No disclaimer.
That sort of after-the-fact editing is rife on KAIROS's website.
They're trying to scrub evidence of their anti-Israel animosity. They're trying to come up with an alibi, by fudging the record.
Dear reader, let me ask you a question: if KAIROS isn't ashamed of the ant-Israel "resources" it linked to, if it's not embarrassed by what it was promoting, if there was nothing wrong with what they were doing, then why is Nik scrubbing his site?
Put another way, if KAIROS has nothing to hide, then why is it hiding it?
Or another way: doesn't KAIROS know that by making such after-the-fact changes, and then sending young Nik to lie about it, it just makes them look guilty as hell? Don't they know that undermines their righteous indignation that they've done nothing wrong? If they've done nothing wrong, then why is Nik fixing it?
Friends, if someone told me that I could get $7 million for lying about my website, and making some changes to it, I admit I'd be pretty tempted to do it.
KAIROS thinks that by lying about its record -- by engaging in a little revisionist history -- they might just get their $7 million after all.
But I think their behaviour only confirms the wisdom of cutting off these buffoons, don't you?
...are they furiously editing their website to delete pages of links to virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups?
Dear reader, are you not bored with yet another group of entitlemaniacs demanding your money to conduct their political hobbies? Do you not think that they ought to raise their campaign contributions on their own?
Or are you still unconvinced about their bigotry?
Let me leave you with some light reading if that is the case.
I poked around on my own and found a few other gems. Here's KAIROS condemning Israel's attack on the leader of a terrorist group -- telling a newspaper it was "incredibly stupid". Here's KAIROS sucking up to the terrorist Yasser Arafat. Here they are blaming Saddam Hussein's militarism on -- you guessed it -- Israel. Here is their opposition to Canada cutting off aid to Hamas. Here is a great one: KAIROS demanding that Canada no longer be neutral between democratic Israel and its terrorist and dictatorship enemies, and demanding that Canada take sides against Israel. There are more, but I'll stop because I'm sure you're quite bored with all the Judenhass by now.
There's nothing illegal about calling for an economic boycott of the Jews, or the Jewish state. In fact, it's a form of consumer activism and economic freedom, isn't it? As a libertarian -- and a free speechnik -- I'm all in favour of the right to say stupid things, even bigoted things, even anti-Semitic things.
I just don't think that the Canadian government should force taxpayers to prop up that kind of crap.
KAIROS should go raise their own money. It looks like that old socialist, Gerry Caplan, is willing to chip in a few shekels of his own. (Actually, to be accurate, he's asking for other Jews to do so.) To cover the remaining $6,999,999, I'd recommend KAIROS ask their friends at Hamas to put in a good word for them with the Saudis.
It is sometimes difficult to support the federal Conservatives, usually when they are not being very conservative. But stories like this one remind me why I like this government. I enjoyed the article so much, I must confess that I read it three times.
I had never heard of KAIROS until I read Colby Cosh's analysis of their partisan politics. That led me to some further reading, and I discovered that KAIROS had issued a denunciation of Alberta's oilsands, and then they went on their fact-finding trip to Fort McMurray. One might have thought it would have been in the reverse order.
A quick visit to KAIROS's website shows that their most important goal now is not actually anything to do with religion, let alone with Christianity. It's about getting back to the taxpayer trough. I say let them raise their own money through bake sales, like everybody else's church or synagogue has to do.
Poke around their site and try to find any substantive difference between their views and the NDP's foreign policy platform. They both have an unhealthy obsession with denigrating Israel, natch. And KAIROS has a special hate-on for, of all places, Colombia. That's no surprise -- Colombia is the Latin American country most resistant to Hugo Chavez's malign influence. (KAIROS obviously hasn't had a chance to add brave little Honduras to its hit list.) Between criticizing Israel and Colombia, KAIROS doesn't have a lot of time left to criticize, say, China and its brutal treatment of Christians and other religious minorities. But then, neither does the NDP.
But enough political debate -- this is about free money, not ideas. KAIROS has a massive staff of around 20. That's a helluva full-time political campaign squad. Without recession-weary taxpayers paying for all those "ecological justice" coordinators, a lot of sociology majors are going to have to find real jobs, and Greenpeace and the Canadian Arab Federation can only absorb so many of them.
KAIROS wanted $1.8 million a year from the government -- that's basically a fully-staffed political war room, dedicated to their radical point of view. If KAIROS really is, as its website boasts, the political voice of the Anglicans, Catholics, Mennonites, United Church, etc., that money should be a snap to replace -- not much more than a dime per member of its constituent churches, really. Because KAIROS really is speaking for its members, isn't it?
If you remain unpersuaded of the case to let KAIROS's members support it, rather than taxpayers, perhaps I can draw your attention to their last annual report. Here are some of the things they spend your money on:
Fundraising and overhead: $800K
"Energy justice": $500K
"Public engagement": $400K
That's all pure politics -- and it just happens to equal the amount of dough they're demanding from the government. By contrast, "anti-poverty grants" only account for $148K, or just 3.7% of their budget.
It's pretty grotesque when a so-called Christian organization is so busy beating up on Alberta, Israel and Colombia that it only has 3.7% of its money left over for Jesus-y things like helping the poor. But then again, according to KAIROS's honcho, Bill Phipps, Jesus wasn't God anyways.
Excuse me, while I re-read that news story one more time, just to savour it.
2008: Conservative Party website makes an iffy attempt at humour with a cartoon animation of a puffin pooping on Liberal leader Stephane Dion. Media reaction: apoplexy. Just take a guess at how many hits Google has for "pooping puffin" all written in "shock" at the "outrageous" "U.S.-style" "personal" "attack" on the "non-partisan" Dion.
2009: Liberal Party website makes an iffy attempt at humour by showing a photoshopped picture depicting the assassination of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Media reaction? zzzzzzzzzz.
UPDATE: The Liberals have deleted the photo from their website. I saved the whole web page in its original form, which you can see here..
Here's the picture. Hat tip Robert Jago.
That's the question that I ask in today's National Post. Here's the full text of my Op-Ed, with a few minor editorial changes:
Should any group of back-bench MPs have the right to know every secret in Canada? Not just diplomatic and military secrets about Afghanistan, but any other secrets they might be curious about, from your tax returns to your medical records? And should MPs have the power to force people to tell him those secrets, even if that would break the law, like the Official Secrets Act?
Those are not hypothetical questions. Parliament’s senior lawyer, Robert Walsh, has made those demands in a flurry of letters he sent to the government last week. Walsh was writing on behalf of Ujjal Dosanjh, the former NDP premier who now sits as a Liberal MP. Dosanjh and other opposition MPs are outraged that they cannot see confidential information about the Afghanistan war, including about detained Taliban terrorists.
Canada’s laws about secrets are clear: the Security of Information Act (the successor law to the Official Secrets Act) makes it illegal for a Canadian diplomat, soldier or spy to tell a state secret, even to a curious MP.
Part of it is the constitutional separation of powers in a democracy: the legislative branch of passes the laws, the executive branch implements them, and the judiciary clarifies them if need be. Each branch checks the power of the others.
But there’s a common sense reason, too: not all MPs can keep a secret. Just a few weeks ago, Dosanjh himself was caught publicly broadcasting his thoughts on Twitter, from his BlackBerry, while in a supposedly confidential committee meeting. No state secrets were spilled, but it shows the difference between a chatty MP and a professional diplomat, soldier or CSIS agent.
Dosanjh’s minor indiscretion pales next to the 2007 incident of the NDP’s Dawn Black, who revealed that Canada was in secret negotiations with the United Arab Emirates, to get that country to send troops to Afghanistan. Black’s exposure of those sensitive discussions caused the Emirates to backpedal.
And though it’s traditional to call MPs “honourable members”, it’s worth remembering that there is no security clearance required to sit in Parliament – not even a criminal record check.
There are plenty of other reasons why merely being an MP shouldn’t be enough to look at every secret in the country. Take Omar Alghabra, the Saudi-born former Liberal MP who was barred from entering the U.S. after 9/11, and who publicly called for the abolition of Canada’s anti-terrorism laws; or Borys Wrzesnewskyj, the Liberal MP who flew to Lebanon to meet with the terrorist group Hezbollah, and called for their decriminalization in Canada. And then there’s the case of Hakim Faqiryar, a former Liberal candidate who was part of Afghanistan’s mujahedeen army, and then was a military policeman in the Russian puppet regime there, before he immigrated to Canada.
The subject matter doesn’t have to be as dramatic as terrorism; should Gilles Duceppes really have unfettered access to Canada’s contingency plans for a separation referendum?
The opposition says yes. In their letter to the Department of Justice last Friday, they demanded that MPs should have the power to compel anyone to spill the beans about anything, even if they “are under a general statutory obligation not to disclose the information.” They say that while the rest of Canadians – let’s call them the little people – have to obey privacy laws, MPs will “determine how the provisions [of those laws] apply” and exempt themselves if they choose.
On any given afternoon, a handful of backbenchers in a committee could simply order someone to reveal a confidential battle plan, the identity of a secret intelligence agent, or the private messages of a foreign diplomat.
The opposition is arguing that they’re lawmakers, so they should be able to add loopholes as they see fit. And they can – if those loopholes win a vote three times in the full House of Commons, and then three times in the full Senate. But the opposition doesn’t want to go to that trouble – they want to be able to bend the rules on the fly.
They claim the doctrine of parliamentary privilege gives them that right, but that ancient privilege was designed as a shield to protect MPs from interference from other forces, such as a vindictive king. It was not intended as a sword, through which MPs could compel individuals to make forced disclosures in a political Star Chamber.
The final flourish in the opposition letter is their accusation that when the government insists military secrets be kept secret, it is making an “indirect attempt to intimidate Government officials”. How Orwellian: enforcing the secrets act is intimidation, but forcing people to divulge secrets to a group of MPs is not?
There may be room for debate about whether revealing any particular state secret would actually harm Canada. But the opposition MPs’ demand is more than that: they do not believe in any secrets at all. Their letter can mean only one thing: they believe their partisan interests trump national security every time.
The opposition would turn MPs into omnipotent snoops, destroying privacy in every field from military affairs to international trade to criminal convictions.
The Parliamentary Press Gallery loves it, for obvious reasons. But the rest of us should be very scared.
Like most Canadians, I wish the opposition parties and the media would care as much about our Canadian Forces in Afghanistan as they care about the terrorists our Canadian Forces are fighting over there.
I think Richard Fadden, the boss of CSIS, had it right when he said that there is a “loose partnership of single-issue NGOs, advocacy journalists and lawyers" who have rechristened terrorists as "folk heroes". I'd add to that list opposition MPs, especially the NDP and the NDP wing of the Liberals, such as Ujjal Dosanjh and Bob Rae.
Canadian troops are operating in Afghanistan, an imperfect country to be sure, but a sovereign country nonetheless. By definition, a strong, liberal democracy wouldn't need Canadian Forces to help them.
When our soldiers capture Taliban terrorists, they hand them over to the Afghans. Needless to say, Afghan jails are not comfortable, liberal places. I'm not sure what the practical alternative is, though: should we build Canadian-style prisons in Kandahar, and fly in Canadian prison guards, cooks, nurses, librarians and other Canadian-standard prison staff? (If so, get ready for a lot of normal Afghans to beg to become prisoners, simply to get Canadian-level health care, meals and other prison luxuries.) Or should we bring the terrorist flotsam and jetsam back from Afghanistan to the Kingston Penitentiary -- and start building several more? Perhaps we could even set up an Immigration Review Board right there in Kandahar, for Taliban terrorists to apply for refugee status in Canada. It's surely true that they face "persecution" by the Afghans they're trying to enslave.
These are the sort of practical questions I have asked of critics who oppose the historical judicial approach of summary trials in the theatre of combat for captured terrorists and pirates. The Ottawa Citizen's Dan Gardner excoriated me for my appalling lack of liberalism, but declined my invitation to give me a practical alternative. Maybe he has time now.
I think that there is an elite sympathy for terrorists that is a twisted manifestation of anti-military, anti-Western views. It's a mutation of anti-war sentiment; the Liberals are stuck publicly "supporting" the Afghan mission that they convened when they were in power. Many -- especially in the Dosanjh-Rae wing of the party -- hated that. So while they are politically boxed in and thus unable to denounce the war directly, they can all but denounce the war by effectively cheering for our enemies. And that is exactly what they do -- supported by a chorus in the media.
I think most Canadians share my unease with the media-opposition chorus cheering for our enemies. But I don't think most Canadians are following the hour-by-hour political games in Parliament this week over terrorists we catch in Afghanistan.
Today's micro-inside-baseball story was a procedural battle. A Parliamentary committee -- dominated as they are in this minority Parliament by the opposition parties -- has demanded to see all government documents on the subject of the Afghan detainees, without the censor's pen crossing anything out.
The government has insisted that there are official secrets that ought not to be disclosed; and they have argued that it is the executive branch of government that makes those decisions, not the legislative branch.
The separation of powers is not the only argument; another is that there are statutory prohibitions on publishing such secrets, such as the Security of Information Act (formerly part of the Official Secrets Act). That law is pretty clear: if you have a state secret, you can never tell it, even if Ujjal Dosanjh asks you.
There has been an interesting exchange between a lawyer for the House of Commons demanding the unredacted documents and a lawyer for the government refusing. You can see the exchange here. I don't recommend you click the links to the original letters unless you are a lawyer or enjoy dense legalese, and in either case that you have plenty of time on your hands. But I will call your attention to one paragraph in one of the letters.
It's from Robert Walsh, the Parliamentary lawyer who has given his opinion that any Parliamentary committee may demand to see any document, whether it's secret or not, and whether the Official Secrets Act or any other law forbids that secret from being told. See page 3 of his letter, here, under the heading "Government officials'.
Walsh argues that no matter what any law says, if a Parliamentary committee tells a civil servant, military intelligence officer, diplomat, or anyone else (presumably including the Prime Minister himself) to tell that committee a secret, they have to do so.
Walsh is proposing something quite extraordinary here: that Parliamentary committees are exempt from any and every law in Canada that they, in their own opinion at any given moment, want to be exempt from. Actually, it's more than that: he's proposing that a Parliamentary Committee has the power to force anyone who falls within their grasp to violate any law. He's arguing that since Parliament makes the laws -- the Evidence Act, the Security of Information Act, presumably even the Criminal Code -- that a committee of a dozen MPs can, on any given afternoon, just tell a soldier/diplomat/civil servant/Prime Minister to give them any state secret, any confidential fact, any privileged document, no matter what the law says.
That's just insane.
Walsh is arguing that a dozen MPs can unilaterally carve out an exemption from a law written by all of Parliament -- that is, all MPs in three votes, followed by all Senators in three votes, followed by the Governor General's proclamation. Walsh is arguing that a dozen MPs can change a law on a whim that 308 MPs and 105 Senators took months to finely craft.
And the weirdest thing is that Walsh is using the doctrine of Parliamentary privilege to make his case. He's pretending he's invoking Parliamentary privilege on behalf of a small committee of MPs against the executive power of the government, but he's actually invoking Parliamentary privilege on behalf of a small committee of MPs against all other MPs. That just doesn't make sense.
If Parliament, properly constituted, chose in its wisdom to write an exception to all of these laws -- and to others, including the Privacy Act -- that expressly permitted a Parliamentary Committee to compel anyone to violate an oath of secrecy or betray the national interest, that would be one thing. Obviously, such a bizarre loophole would never be passed by a sober Parliament -- it's only being demanded, on the fly, by an opposition that places a one-day media splash ahead of the long-term security interests of the country. Those interests include being able to communicate confidentially with other countries' politicians, diplomats, military and security services without the fear of having secret messages splashed in public to the delight of the press but to the detriment of the nation.
Parliamentary privilege is an ancient power designed as a shield -- to protect Parliament from interference from other forces, such as a vindictive king. It was meant to protect MPs and their staff from violations and harassments. It was not intended as a sword, through which MPs could themselves violate and harass other branches of government.
Robert Walsh is obviously caught up in the excitement of a good Parliamentary cut-and-thrust. But his proposal -- that a committee of Parliament can distort any statute written by the whole of Parliament, and that Parliamentary privilege can be used as an offensive sword rather than a defensive shield -- is a profound threat to the integrity of all Canadian foreign affairs and military efforts and indeed to any other government department, foreign or domestic. I think that, once this detainee issue recedes in the political rear-view mirror, any serious Parliamentarian in the opposition benches will realize that Walsh's proposal not only commits a grievous blow to the integrity of the government, but also radically undermines the rule of law. It would turn any Parliamentary committee into a Star Chamber, where politics trumps legal precedent.
I think that's hard for some journalists to see, because they're caught up in the excitement of the hunt and, frankly, writing about national secrets is just too much of a temptation for many journalists to pass up in the name of security.
The mainstream media's general antipathy to anything military set the table for this fight; the Parliamentary Press Gallery's general opposition to Harper makes them eager to side with any antagonist, be they Taliban or indiscreet diplomat; and their self-interest as journalists is just the icing on the cake.
That's called a perfect storm on Parliament Hill; but I don't think most Canadians are as engrossed, and those that are watching it don't share the press gallery's sympathies.
Once this story fades -- likely over Christmas -- it will be interesting to see if the opposition, with Walsh's encouragement, tries to subpoena other witnesses, and press them into breaking their statutory oaths on other matters, too. As Walsh says, nothing is exempt. Presumably that would apply to citizens' criminal records, tax returns or even health records, too.
What was the 16th most popular book on Amazon.ca in 2009?
Thanks to everyone who supported it and recommended it through word of mouth. I think we've gone through four printings of the book now, including the new paperback edition, which is much more affordable than the hard cover, at just $13.71.
I really enjoyed touring with the book, which took me around the country and even to the U.S. Though it was sometimes physically tiring, I found it very energizing to talk with people about freedom of speech and other core Canadian values. The mainstream media was quite receptive to the message of freedom, too, which I think is very hopeful. For two years now I've been saying that freedom of speech is a non-partisan issue, and I think that's been proven to be true.
And a special thanks to my friends at McClelland & Stewart who took a chance on me and the book -- neither of which would count as "normal" in the book business! I'm glad it was a commercial and critical success for them.
Late last week, the Court of Queen's Bench overturned the Alberta Human Rights Commission's "hate speech" conviction of Rev. Stephen Boissoin.
Long-time readers of this blog, and readers of my book, will know the case of Rev. Boissoin well. He was a youth pastor who wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate in 2002 that was critical of the "gay agenda". You can read that letter in full here. He was sentenced to a lifetime speech ban, barring him from ever saying anything negative about gays again, in public or private, for the rest of his life. Oh -- and he had to write a false letter of apology, renouncing his faith on the matter.
So here we are, more than seven years later, and Rev. Boissoin has finally been acquitted. And that's if his tormentor, the anti-Christian bigot Darren Lund, doesn't choose to appeal this new ruling.
So lesson number one here is that the process is the punishment.
Rev. Boissoin had seven years of his life wasted -- seven years in which he bore the stigma of being called, by the state, an illegal "hater". And Rev. Boissoin had to bear the enormous legal costs -- first, of his kangaroo court trial, then of his appeal -- on his own. (I'm glad to have participated in three fundraising dinners for him this summer.) By contrast, his antagonist didn't have to spend a dime to drag Rev. Boissoin through the mud of the HRC. And note page 37 of the ruling: though Rev. Boissoin's conviction was demolished by the judge, page after page; though Rev. Boissoin was clearly mistreated and abused by the HRC; though the judge's contempt for the HRC's outrageous behaviour is palpable, Rev. Boissoin was denied his request for all his costs to be paid.
In other words: Darren Lund actually won.
So we know that there are two ways to beat an HRC. The first is to embarrass the hell out of them, like I did. That's the only reason they dropped their case against me.
The other way is to fight it all the way to a real court -- seven years -- spending money that you don't have, to finally get justice.
I've read the ruling. I don't propose to go through it line by line, though it's wonderful (I recommend this great exegesis by young Rebekah). It's great: it mocks the HRC's procedure; mocks their utter lack of legal smarts; mocks their disregard for trifles like evidence; mocks their arrogant attempt to be real police and real courts; mockes their bizarre and illegal punishments.
So the ruling by Justice Wilson is a slam dunk for Rev. Boissoin.
Except: so what?
These HRCs do not abide by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, so why the hell should they abide by some Queen's Bench judge?
Many HRC "panellists" aren't lawyers at all, and many who are, like Andreachuk, have no expertise in civil liberties. Some commissioners don't even have post-secondary education, yet they're appointed to these kangaroo courts. It's not that they wouldn't give a damn about what Justice Wilson ruled, though many wouldn't; it's that many of them wouldn't even understand all that law-talkin' stuff.
A glance through any HRC's rulings shows that they do not follow precedent. There is no rhyme or reason to the rulings; much of it is made up on the spot, and much of it is clearly the personal biases of whatever hack political appointee happens to be sitting in the chair that day -- the rulings are clearly back-filled with legalese to justify the personal whims of the commissioners. A disproportionate number of HRC rulings are overturned by real courts -- but that's my point: you need to have a helluva lot of money to get through the gong show into the real court. By that time, the damage is done.
I will make one final observation: this ruling is a rejection of Premier Ed Stelmach. This case was the first one I've ever seen in which the Government of Alberta sent in their own lawyer. Of course, all HRC lawyers are part of the government, too, and paid for by taxpayers. But in this one case, Stelmach sent in his own lawyer, David Kamal, to argue that Rev. Boissoin should be convicted. It was Kamal's argument -- on behalf of Stelmach -- that Rev. Boissoin's freedom of speech should be trumped by Lund's counterfeit right not to be offended.
Dear reader, do you think Stelmach gives a damn that he lost in court?
I can assure you that he does not. He has, in fact, given Alberta's HRC a generous reward for its seven-year persecution of Rev. Boissoin: a 26% budget increase. Alberta might be running the largest deficit in our history; unemployment might be rising; the recession might be worse in our province than elsewhere in the country; but, dammit, he's going to reward the HRC for their bullying, no matter what the hell some judge says.
Yes, yes, I agree with my friend Mark Steyn (who is quoted by the judge on pp. 33-34, if I recall) and Colby Cosh when they point out that the real courts have rebuked the fake courts. But how does that help the 90% of the HRCs' victims who succumb and accept a plea bargain without even a hearing, and the 98% of the rest who are convicted but lack the funds to appeal?
I agree that the courts are better respecters of freedom of speech now than they have been in the past, and I have often said I wished that section 13 would be put to the Supreme Court again, for they would throw this law out for sure. But if it took Rev. Boissoin seven years just to get to the first court, how long would it take him to go all the way to the SCC? And how many people would have given up long before he did?
Yes, I'm happy with the ruling. But not a damned thing has changed on the ground. Canada's 14 HRCs, with their 1,000 employees and $200-million cumulative budgets slouch onwards. Not a single province, territory or federal government has changed the law -- other than Stelmach, who expanded the scope and budget of his censors.
Too many more victories like this and we're lost.
I've written a couple of blog entries outlining the bigotry of Syed Soharwardy, Calgary's most vicious terrorist-supporting Muslim radical. I won't recap all of his hatred here -- there's just too much to treat it quickly -- but go back and read the details in my earlier reports if you like. If I had to choose the most telling comment from Soharwardy's anti-Semitic rants, I'd choose the page where he publishes this:
A great slaughter of the Jews will ensue and every one of them will be annihilated. The nation of Jews will be exterminated.
Not much wiggle room there. What the hell were Calgary's Official Jews thinking by letting such a bigot co-sponsor their rally against anti-Semitism last month? And what the hell is Judy Shapiro, Calgary's chief Official Jew, doing going to such a man's propaganda "Hannukah Party" later this week?
I've written about Soharwardy's bigotry and his other misconduct at his mosque before. Nearly two years ago, I received this laughable legal threat from his lawyer, to which I immediately replied: "let's rumble". I never heard back, which is too bad, because such a trial would have been a spectacular civic education for the city about the stealthy jihad against our values being perpetrated by Pakistani-born, Saudi-trained radicals like Soharwardy.
Well, I didn't hear back from Soharwardy's lawyer this time -- I heard directly from the bigot-in-chief himself! I won't give him the publicity of reprinting his whole rant, but let me choose two key passages.
The first is actually a pretty bold statement from the old Jew-hater. He doubles down, and says that everything he wrote on his websites is defensible. The call for the extermination of the Jews; the slanderous lie that the Talmud instructs Jews to murder Gentiles; the lovingly reprinted commentary from Muslim Brotherhood terrorist Al Qaradawi; the disparagement of the Jewish Holocaust, and the claim that Israel itself is perpetrating a Holocaust. Soharwardy doesn't back down an inch from any of that. Instead, he writes:
I will be delighted to discuss with you the contents of any article on ISCC and related websites, which you seem to find Anti-Semitic.
I "seem to find" the call for the extermination of Jews to be anti-Semitic. He'd be "delighted" to make the case to me directly. Wow -- sounds about as interesting as accepting an invitation from Jim Keegstra for a history lesson about the Holocaust.
The second point is just fascinating. As I've documented before, Robina Datt was a dissident at Soharwardy's mosque. She asked pesky questions, like "where the hell did the donations go?"
So she was beaten to the point of hospitalization.
Here's a contemporaneous report in the Calgary Herald. And here's pictures of poor Robina in a Pakistani-Canadian newspaper:
The crime was committed. It was reported in the Herald. Robina Butt was admitted to hospital and treated for her injuries. She told police that her attackers warned her to stop criticizing Soharwardy's mosque.
So what does Soharwardy have to say about this brutal attack on an innocent woman?
The most bizarre statement you could imagine: Soharwardy calls the whole thing -- including the woman's injuries -- "a plot against me".
The only thing he didn't say was that it was a Jewish conspiracy, but I guess that's a given when you're dealing with a man who attends rallies for Hezbollah.
So it's all a plot, designed to embarrass him. Except it's also a crime that needs to be investigated:
Calgary is not a lawless city. All these alleged crimes are under investigation with the Calgary Police. I have been reminding Calgary Police to complete their investigation and bring criminals to justice as soon as possible. I would urge you to do the same instead of posting false information about me.
Huh? It's all a fake -- but it's also real? Has some little imam been watching old videos of the O.J. Simpson trial?
Here's more from his real/fake explanation of the beating of Robina Butt:
I am confident that the above mentioned three incidents were staged. The majority of Pakistani community in Calgary believes these incidents were staged. It was a conspiracy... I have every confidence in Calgary police that soon the police will find the culprits and the culprits will face the Canadian justice.
So the police should hunt down the criminals who beat up Robina Butt... except that it wasn't a crime, it was all staged? I love the line that most of his friends believe it was fake. Do you really think ol' fire and brimstone actually took a survey of Calgary Pakistanis to ask them that? And even if he did, do you think that bizarre appeal to mob rule is more persuasive than what the police and medical experts had to say?
That may be how they judge battered women in Saudi Arabia -- in fact, being raped is itself a crime in Soharwardy's beloved Saudi -- and a woman's testimony in a sharia court is afforded only half the weight of a man's. Sorry, you old bigot: we don't try and convict battered women here by asking a bunch of your hookah buddies if the bitch deserved it.
Stop for just a moment and imagine what you would say if a woman was beaten to a pulp -- not just any woman, not a stranger, but a member of your own congregation. Whether you liked her or not, what would you say -- if you said anything? Would you really do what Soharwardy did: issue a public statement claiming that her injuries -- documented by a Calgary hospital -- were fake? Would you actually call a battered woman a liar? Would you actually say that "most people" thought she was a liar and a faker?
I think he knows it's thin ice -- because he lapses back to what he knows normal people would say: I encourage the police, yadda yadda. The only thing he hasn't copied from O.J. was his promise to help find the actual killers himself.
Syed Soharwardy isn't just a Jew-hater. He hates women, too.
Judy Shapiro should take a bodyguard along with her.
P.S. Just for old times' sake, let's close with a picture of the graffiti that was spray-painted by the thugs who attended Soharwardy's pro-Hezbollah rally in the heart of Calgary's Jewish neighbourhood. Hey, it doesn't say anything that Soharwardy's own website doesn't say, so what's the big whup, right Judy? And it was probably put there by Robina Datt to frame Soharwardy anyways.
I know, it sounds too strange to be true. But it is.
One of those Jew-haters is Syed Soharwardy, a vicious, anti-Semitic bigot who trivializes the Jewish Holocaust, spreads blood libels against the Jewish Talmud, says Israel is perpetrating a Holocaust of its own against Palestinians, publicly calls for sharia law to be implemented in Canada, and participated in a pro-terrorist rally in the Jewish neighbourhood of Calgary, replete with a flag of Hezbollah.
I first came to know this odious man up close, when he hauled me before the Alberta human rights commission for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Before that, the little thug actually tried to have me arrested by the Calgary Police Service for publishing those cartoons, as if we were back in his beloved Saudi Arabia, where the police take care of the infidels.
Syed Soharwardy is anti-Semitic scum.
Calgary's Official Jews freaked out when I publicized the words and deeds of this bigot, because they had so publicly cast their lot in with him. Some of the OJs wrote public comments on on my blog, and others wrote to me directly. All of their comments were the same, in that they ignored Soharwardy's anti-Semitism, and instead railed against me for my criticisms. In other words, they weren't embarrassed that they were friends with Soharwardy. They were embarrassed that they were caught.
So what did the Official Jews do about it? I mean, we know what they'd do if it were a white WASP who was espousing such bigotry: they'd press for his prosecution, as they did with Jim Keegstra.
But not with Soharwardy. They actually contacted him, and asked him to take down some of the most grotesque anti-Semitic comments from his website, so they wouldn't have to explain themselves to grassroots Jews who were asking the Official Jews what the hell they were doing.
To be clear: they didn't get Soharwardy to renounce his anti-Semitism. They didn't get him to explain it. They simply got him not to be so showy about it -- it was too embarrassing for them. Could he please take down the page from his website where he says the Jewish Talmud licenses Jews to murder non-Jews? If it's not too much trouble, sir?
Here's a Google cache of where that blood libel was published: see item 54, "What Talmud says about violence and hate". Until yesterday, it used to be here.
I guessed that the Official Jews would ask Soharwardy to take it down. So I saved it to my hard drive. You can see it here, in its full Jew-hating glory.
I've saved the other anti-Semitic pages on his website that I linked to in my earlier blog post. But they are by no means exhaustive. Take this nutty page, where Soharwardy publishes a rant claiming that Jews want to take over Jordan, Iraq, Syria and even parts of Saudi Arabia, as part of an international Jewish conspiracy, using "Jewish capital". The story ends happily for Soharwardy, though. Let me quote:
A great slaughter of the Jews will ensue and every one of them will be annihilated. The nation of Jews will be exterminated.
(Pssst! Official Jews, I've saved that page to my hard drive, too, so no point in having Soharwardy take it down now.)
There are plenty of pages on Soharwardy's websites where he compares Jews to Nazis, and accuses Jews of trying to commit a genocide against Palestinians. Here's one, where he blames the Jews for instigating Muslim suicide bombings against them:
Israelites are repeating the same cruel and brutal behaviour with Palestinians that they themselves faced during the World War II. In fact, the sufferings of Palestinians are getting worse day by day. Not only Israeli government wants to wipe them out but their own Arab and Muslim brothers and sisters are quietly watching their genocide.
This is the man who was invited to co-sponsor the rally against anti-Semitism. Really.
Soharwardy's hatred for Jews is not his only hatred. He hates other Muslim denominations, too. Read this rant against Ahmadiyya Muslims, a peaceful sect of Islam. Soharwardy rails against Ahmadiyyas, and then bizarrely implies that they support terrorism. Here's my favourite line in Soharwardy's press release about his fellow Muslims:
ISCC and MAT would like to request all the media organizations especially radio talk show programs that if they find any person who identifies himself / herself as Muslim and endorses terrorism please track that person's call and report to police. MAT and ISCC will be happy to assist the media in this regard.
The title of his press release is "Fake Muslims". It's about the Ahmadiyyas. And then he slides directly into an implication that they endorse terrorism. I say again: the man is a bigot.
Sometimes Soharwardy is literally crazy. Nutty as a Snickers bar. Check out this blather about one of his enemies, a group he calls "NewYorkees". Gee -- who could he possibly mean by that?
I really don't know what the hell he's talking about, but these "NewYorkees" are very good with the media, are anti-Islam and believe that "homosexuality is permissable". NewYorkees, NewYorkees -- who could he be referring to?
Soharwardy is a conspiracy theorist, too: here's a gem:
A new Holocaust may emerge in North America very soon. People are already talking about concentration camps and the Holocaust of more than 10 million Muslims in North America.
I present to you the main man of Calgary's Official Jews. He was a full-blown partner with the OJs in their rally last week. And guess what? He's returning the favour. He's inviting Judy Shapiro, the Calgary Jewish Community Council's community relations director, to attend a very special Hannukah celebration at his mosque.
And she's coming.
Here's the poster advertising the event. All of those groups listed -- the Canadian Association of Muslim Youth, the Al-Madinah Islamic Centre, Muslims Against Terrorism, and the Islamic Association of Canadian Women are all front organizations, shell organizations or downright fake organizations for Soharwardy.
Syed Soharwardy -- Jew-hater; Ahmadiyya-hater; Holocaust trivializer; Talmud-slanderer -- is having a little Hannukah celebration, as "proof" that he's not anti-Semitic. It's like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meeting with that nutty fringe sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews who don't believe in Israel. Ahmadinejad does it to pretend he's not a Jew-hater: look! He got a real Jew to shake hands with him! So it's obviously not true that he hates Jews!
Soharwardy's doing the same thing. But instead of flying in a nutty Neturei Karta rabbi for a photo op, he just calls down to the Official Jews, and they run right over. They're what Lenin called "useful idiots" -- they're happy to pose for a photo op with him, to give him moral cover for when he demonizes Jews, Israel and the Holocaust.
Do you think this is outrageous? Do you think it's insane? Well, it gets one degree more inexplicable.
You see, Judy Shapiro, the dupe who is going to Soharwardy's photo op, isn't just the community relations director for Calgary's Official Jews. She's also the wife of Richard Bronstein, the publisher of Calgary's Jewish Free Press, a small-circulation free newpaper that is mailed to Calgary's Jews. She's Mrs. Publisher.
Some readers will know that, along with the Western Standard, the Jewish Free Press (and the student paper at the University of Prince Edward Island) also published some of the Danish cartoons in February of 2006. And, just as he went after the Western Standard and me, Soharwardy hit the JFP with a human rights complaint, too.
Do you follow? Syed Soharwardy isn't just a menace to the Jews in general. He was a menace to the Jewish Free Press in particular. He sicced the human rights commission on them, for "hate speech". They capitulated, and went to a "mediation" with the thug. And they settled (Bronstein claims he didn't apologize).
And now Judy Shapiro -- Bronstein's wife -- is going to Soharwardy's anti-Semitic mosque next week to "celebrate" Hannukah by giving him a photo op.
That's not just being a dhimmi. That's some serious spousal Stockholm Syndrome going on.
Now, I don't give a damn if Bronstein agreed to go to the human rights commission's mediation with Soharwardy -- that's his business, and he has to live with himself. And I don't give a damn if he goes to Soharwardy's mosque. But his wife is an Official Jew. And -- look at the poster -- she's going in her capacity as an Official Jew. She's representing the entire Jewish community there.
That's bizarre enough, given how Soharwardy abused her husband. But she's carrying out her strange appeasement of her husband's tormentor in the name of all Jews. In my name, actually.
That's just gross.
It's even grosser that, in response to the revelations in my earlier blog entry, Shapiro hasn't cancelled her official visit -- all that's happened is that Soharwardy has been asked to take down some of his more flagrant anti-Semitic rants, at least until the Hannukah photo op is over.
Let me close on a note of sympathy and remembrance. I dedicate this blog entry to Robina Butt.
Robina Butt was a congregant at Soharwardy's sham mosque. She donated money, like he asked her to. But then Robina Butt made the mistake of asking Soharwardy where all the donations were going -- and why he hadn't filed proper corporate returns. Robina Butt became a nuisance to Soharwardy. Worse than that: she threatened to destroy his carefully crafted public image.
Soharwardy sued her. But she still didn't shut up. The woman just didn't know her place. (I've seen an undercover video of how Soharwardy shouts down the women at his mosque -- it's ugly). Who would stop this turbulent woman?
Someone had to. And so one day, when Robina Butt was at home, two people burst into her house and beat her to the point of hospitalization. According to Butt, they shouted: "We come from Al-Madinah; if you ever talk anything about Al-Madinah . . . this is the first instalment."
Al-Madinah, as you can see in the poster, is one of Soharwardy's shell organizations. Robina Butt had been asking about where all the money had gone. So this is what they did to her:
That's what happens to critics of the misogynistic bigot that Judy Shapiro is going to honour.
That's what happens to critics of the misogynistic bigot the Calgary Jewish Community Council invited to co-sponsor their rally against anti-Semitism.
Too bad. I remember a time when the Jewish community was against violence against women, whether it was done in the name of the Ku Klux Klan or the Al Madinah mosque.
One of the Official Jews who wrote to me actually said that Robina Butt's brutal beating was "two year old crap". Wow. They must be pretty invested in Soharwardy to disparage a victim of violence that way. Next thing they'll be saying is that Aqsa Parvez had it coming, too.
Then again, there was a time when the Jewish community was against the blood libel, too. Now, they just ask such slanderers to kindly take it off their websites -- at least until the Hannukah party is over.
I don't think that even Bernie Farber is that crass.
I had a great time last week at the Vancouver Jewish Book Festival. I've done a ton of events this past year in support of my book, Shakedown, but in a way my favourite ones were at Jewish venues. That's because I see it as my personal duty to disabuse Jews of the notion that censorship is in any way compatible with Jewish values. Fortunately, it has been an easy task. Most Jews -- like most other Canadians -- are largely unaware of the facts about censorship and Canada's human rights commissions, and are shocked to learn the truth about them. That shock transforms into genuine fear when they learn how radical foreigners like Mohamed Elmasry and Syed Soharwardy are using the HRCs to prosecute their soft jihad of "lawfare" against Jews or other Zionists. Any support my Jewish audiences have for laws against "hate speech" is paper thin and not thought through; simply walking through the logical arguments against censorship and the HRCs quickly turns most people around.
Here's a sympathetic review of my Vancouver presentation from a blogger in attendance. And here are a few video clips posted to YouTube by another blogger there. (And blogger Rick Hiebert, of Western Standard fame, was there, too!)
The first clip has some of my usual riffs on the subject; but the second clip has content more tailored to the Jewish audience. As I said about censorship laws: "if it's kosher it's halal". In other words, if Canada's Jews think that a censorship law will remain their own private preserve to attack their own special list of political enemies, they're deluding themselves. Thin-skinned Jews set the precedent, and radical Muslims are following it. Severely normal Jews understand this. The Official Jews probably do, too, but are too proud to admit they've been wrong. Here are the vids: