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May 20, 2016 2:39 am

Free Speech Activist Warns: It May Soon Be Illegal in Canada to Call Someone Antisemitic

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Canadian free speech activist and conservative pundit Ezra Levant warns calling someone an antisemite in Canada may soon be illegal. Photo:

Canadian free speech activist and conservative pundit Ezra Levant warns calling someone an antisemite in Canada may soon be illegal. Photo:

It may soon be illegal in Canada to publicly label someone an antisemite, a conservative Canadian pundit and free speech activist warned in an op-ed on Wednesday.

Writing for CIJ NewsEzra Levant, who was sued in late 2014 for defamation by Khurrum Awan — the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) — said that one of the reasons he lost the suit was due to the judge’s ruling that “calling Awan an antisemite was defamatory.”

In previous public comments and blog postings, Levant had accused Awan of antisemitism — asserting that the CIC, during Awan’s tenure, “was led by a notorious antisemite, Mohamed Elmasry. Elmasry went on national TV to declare that any adult in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorism. The CIC even called for the legalization of antisemitic terrorist groups.”

Awan denied being an antisemite and claimed he was unaware of antisemitic conduct on the part of the CIC. The judge accepted his arguments, and ruled in his favor against Levant.

On Tuesday, Levant appeared before the Ontario Court of Appeal in an effort to have the ruling overturned. “My lawyer made many points, but a key one was this: if the trial judge’s ruling is not overturned, there will be a great chill over free speech in Canada,” he wrote.

During the appeal, Levant wrote, his lawyer used “a hypothetical example of a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Would it really be defamatory to call a member of the KKK racist, if he denied he was racist? Even though he admitted it’s fair to call the KKK itself racist?”

The implications of not being allowed to publicly call out antisemites are significant, he wrote, explaining:

There aren’t a lot of KKK activists on university campuses these days. But there are a lot of pro-Hamas activists on campus, demonizing Israel and Jews, denying the last Holocaust even while calling for the next one. If the precedent against me stands, any Jewish student or any righteous Gentile who dares to call out antisemites could be hauled before a court, and put through eight years of lawfare…This trial judgment doesn’t just affect my rights. It’s a setback for freedom for everyone — especially for activists trying to fight back against antisemitism. Imagine not being able to use that word to describe activists with antisemitic groups.

In the brief prepared for the appeal, his lawyer stated: “Mr. Levant is an outspoken and strong advocate for free speech. He has strong opinions on a variety of topics. He sometimes uses colorful language or even a derisive tone…But his right to express those opinions and comments, however wrong-headed, outrageous, or extreme they may be must be protected under defamation law.”

Levant, a controversial media personality in Canada, is the founder of political and social commentary website The Rebel Media, where the op-ed — “Will it still be legal to call someone ‘anti-Semitic’ in Canada?” — first appeared.

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  • Barry

    The noose is tightening as referring to Islamic scriptures to demonstrate the anti-Jewish commands in them has been prohibited as Islamaphobic.
    Seems people have forgotten the harassment of Mark Steyn for quoting a Muslim.
    The liberal, progressive advance on Western Culture is taking it round the bend.

  • nat cheiman

    OH OK. Then you can’t call me Islamaphobic. Thats a fair trade

  • Robert Davis

    So being antisemite would be acceptable to the law not anti moslem? or maybe the reason is that semitic couldbe applied to all Mid East people moslem and Jews although by TRADTION in the West it has a anti Judaism connotation. If the word is stupidly rejected by law one can surely use the word anti-judaism. However TRADITION is usually accepted by law.

  • aiken

    We got a lot of idiots in Canada, most of them racist civil servants, if you don’t believe me, ask the first nations.

  • Edna

    Ezra Levant is a very passionate, bright and fluently verbal young man.

    He rightfully so ,does not want Canada to gave the same anti-Semitic Jihadist problems that are occurring in Europe and Britain.

    He is being targetted by a Muslim who belongs to a known anti-Semitic Arab Muslim
    group in Canada, and who Exra described as being an anti-Semite.

    It is however highly unlikely that calling a known anti-Semite anti-Semitic will become illegal in Canada. Our High court judges are not asses!!

  • Anschel

    The trial court ruling was outre, bizarre, and absurd. I fully expect the appeals court to reverse. Awan’s claim that he was unaware of the anti-Semitic statements/actions of the CIC or its members simply does not pass the “blush test.”

  • Lia

    Mr Levant and his lawyer both deserve our applause.

  • Joshua Laskin

    The term, ‘antisemite’, isn’t specific. There are different varieties of antisemitism. Some antisemites are simple racists, who hate all ‘races’ other than their own, Jews included. Other antisemites are intellectuals, who have a whole philosphical theory of the history of Jewish influence in the world. It’s not much useful to know that someone hates Jews, if we don’t know specifically why they hate Jews. Labeling someone an ‘antisemite’, is like accusing someone of witchcraft, in that there’s really no way for anyone to prove that they’re not an antisemite. It’s simply an attempt to shun someone, to deny them any consideration. It also implies that there is a clear criteria. If someone holds some views which I consider antisemitic, then it’s those views which I reject, not the entire person. It just seems uncivilized, to label people in absolute terms. It means that we don’t have to listen to each other. So then, everyone who disagrees with me, is an antisemite. Then, eventually, all Gentiles, and most other Jews, could be antisemites; at which point, I’d be labeled clinically insane. Let’s not go down that road.

    • Daniel MacDonald

      Alas, Joshua Laskin attempts to slice his meat so thin no one will notice that is baloney.
      An anti-Semite is anyone who has: Advocated against, or in any other way what so ever, acted in any manner to promote or display hatred towards Jews or the full enjoyment of their Human and Civil rights.

  • If it sounds like a pig looks like a pig must be a pig not a horse or cow.If some one acts antisemitic,talks antisemitic must be antisemitic.Not a loving caring person to people of the Jewish race.

  • harri

    what is the name of the dhimmie judge?

  • harri

    this gives a free ride to a sharia calpihate in Canada thanks to dhimmie Trudeau

  • enufizenuz

    Everything in Canada, the medical care, the food, the quality of goods and services is second rate, and so is the so-called justice system. On the other hand, Canada’s Prime Minister is a first-rate nincompoop.

  • just some arab chicanery, if you ask them if they are anti-jewish or anti-israel they will show a blank face

    just some arab chicanery, if you ask them if they are anti-jewish or anti-israel they will show a blank face

    • amnon vaserman

      Political correct gone mad as a x Canadian i waited for this garbage from the time Canada was invaded by MuSSlims.

    • Robert Davis

      Since arabs lose all their wars against Israel they turned to philological, language, pr, slander and other wording wars!