Monday, 23 February 2009

What Exactly is Hate Speech if Not This?

I am a proud Canadian Jew and for the most part I am gratified by the way that my countrymen and government have supported my people. But, my goodwill has being severely tested over the past 24 hours. First off the mark was the reprehensible decision by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) university workers to pass a controversial motion calling for an academic boycott of Israel. This report is from the Toronto Star.

Although the motion didn't call for a boycott of individual Israeli academics - as some union members had suggested last month - it encourages union locals to publicly discuss boycotting Israeli universities and to push Canadian universities to end any research or investments that could benefit the Israeli army.
The committee, which represents the union's university workers, called on the union to develop an education campaign on what its proponents label Israel's "apartheid" practices, such as building a wall around Palestinian territory and invading the Gaza Strip in December; asks the union to back an international campaign of sanctions and boycotts against the country and asks the national union to start researching Canadian connections to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The boycott, however, stopped short of calling for Canadian universities to ban Israeli academics, an idea previously floated by CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan.
Obviously Jewish organizations are appalled by the motion, and kudos need to go out to two local CUPE chapters at the University of Windsor that have said that they would disassociate from the union. This is not the first time that Canada's largest service union has attempted such a blatantly anti-semitic action and I am certain that it won't be the last. And while it is simply a motion adopted by a committee of the union and not binding to the union as a whole, it does set in motion a dangerous course of action that needs to be meticulously monitored.

Today a second and even more disturbing turn of events. A Saskatoon judge acquitted former aboriginal leader David Ahenakew of wilfully promoting hatred against Jews. This was the second trial for the former head of the Assembly of First Nations after he spewed ugliness during a speech at an economic seminar six years ago. In that speech he called Jews "a disease" and he appeared to justify the Holocaust. Here is Mr. Ahenakew in his own words."
"How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over, that's going to dominate?"  "The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe.

"That's why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the God-damned world."

His first trial ended in a conviction and he was fined $1000.00 and he was stripped of his Order of Canada. The verdict was overturned on appeal setting the stage for trial number 2. Let me ask something of Provincial Court judge Wilfred Tucker; "If this shit doesn't fit the legal criteria for hate speech, what does?" Now I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that this fits the bill. The judge said that while he abhors the comments, he didn't believe that Mr. Ahenakew intended to promote hatred. NO?? He wants to come to my Pesach seder??? Please, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. (Thanks Judge Judy for that pearl!) To make matters worse, the native leader testified during his trial; "Everybody says I'm a Jew-hater," he told court. "I don't hate the Jews, but I hate what they do to people." My fellow Canadian Jews, be very aware and be very scared.

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