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The sorry state of Canadian civil liberties: Where facts can be disputed as hate crimes, and vice versa – by the same group

Disappearing_Palestine

The map montage pictured above is a hate crime, according to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. Why/how you may ask? Apparently it is provocative and incites hatred and contempt (PDF). Four time-lapsed maps, a statistic and a two-word descriptor. Seems fairly innocuous.

If anything, one would think a story accusing another nationality of starting the next Holocaust would be more worthy of being labeled a hate crime, especially if it turned out to be false. But the good people at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center didn’t denounce that story as a hate crime. That’s because the Simon Wiesenthal Center was busy promoting and perpetuating that possible hate crime.

The May 19, 2006 Iran eyes badges for Jews PostMedia story begins:

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country’s Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims. “This is reminiscent of the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.”

In case it’s not clear from the linked photo, the Iran eyes badges for Jews headline was on the top fold of the front page of Canada’s paper of dubious record, above a Nazi-era picture of a branded Jewish couple. It took a week and a formal diplomatic complaint before the paper issued a retraction on May 24, 2006 Our Mistake – which, notably, was not on the top fold of its front page. It reluctantly admitted the story was false and that it hadn’t even bothered to consult Iranian officials to verify it. Just the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Simon Wiesenthal Center turned to claiming it had been misled by an Iranian dissident when the story was revealed to be false. Convenient deniability all around.

That’s because Simon Wiesenthal Center and other organisations like it are not “human rights groups”, but rather thinly-veiled political action committees. Such groups have exerted undue influence on the current federal government’s foreign policy. In the process, they have increasingly undermined Canada’s credibility, not to mention its reputation, on a critical, long-standing international social and economic justice issue: the continued illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel. The purpose of the ad campaign these groups have taken to calling a hate crime is to educate Canadians about the historical reality.

What’s notable in all the protestation by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal et al is that they don’t dispute the central fact depicted in the ad they claim constitutes a hate crime: that illegal Israeli settlements over the years have dispossessed the Palestinians of their land rights. Instead, they dismiss the very existence of Palestine and its people, despite, you know

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