Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kazhars and Zionist Parasites: Not Antisemitism? So What Am I Allowed To Call It?

I have a few words of my own for it, but they're not words fit for a family newspaper, so I'm just asking, is all, in today's Vancouver Sun:

What is the right word for a book like Greg Felton's "The Host and the Parasite: How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America"?

What is the right word for Felton's thesis, which is that a Zionist "junta" was at work on Sept. 11, 2001, and that al-Qaida is a mere concoction in a secret plan to subvert the American Constitution, demonize Muslims and commit mass murder?

What do you call it when the Vancouver Public Library decides to present Felton, an apologist for the book-banning, journalist-jailing Iranian theocracy, as the featured author on the evening of Feb. 25, and as the library's contribution to national Freedom to Read Week?

What are we allowed to call Felton, who traces his Zionist plot back to the 1940s, when these same Zionists made "common cause" with the Nazis to rid Europe of its Jews, and participated in the herding of Jews into Hitler's gas chambers?

Greg Felton's pathological delusion requires him to trace Zionist swindles and trickery back through time and across Europe to a Medieval legend about a massive deception with its roots in the Caucasus Mountains about 1,000 years ago - a legend he then reports as fact.

His work appears frequently in certain of the darker corners of the Arab press, in countries neighbouring Israel - countries where there is no free press - where Felton's propaganda is presented as the work of an award-winning journalist and Middle-East specialist.

Do not tell me he should not be held accountable for this. Do not tell me, either, that there is a suitable, simple, legalistic way to hold him accountable, or that the "marketplace of ideas" is sufficient. It's not.

And that is the knot at the middle of the national tangle currently unraveling in the matter of L'Affaire Steyn, and the Ezra Levant extravaganza, and the events that have now caused the National Post to lose Warren Kinsella, one of that newspaper's best columnists.

In this strangely Canadian manifestation of the worldwide struggles for free speech - which should also be understood as a worldwide struggle against the unchecked dissemination of lies and black propaganda - I tend to side with Alan Borovoy. I also know that Ezra Levant's circumstances are of no more immediate significance than a visit from the health inspector.

But I've also been belatedly convinced of the merit of some his arguments, and the arguments I hear from people well to my right. It's not just that the Canadian front actually does matter. It's that the current trespasses of human rights tribunals upon free speech could very well lead to free-speech suppression of a magnitude none of us would tolerate.

But being a democracy, we can revoke laws that we do not tolerate. Democracy is a complex and elaborate dynamic of negotiated arrangements, however, and it can be very, very fragile. And this is where Warren Kinsella and the Canadian Jewish Congress and the rest are perhaps more right, in the matter of free speech, than even they know.

The thing is, the mediated, arbitrated, and judicially-adjudicated resolution of conflict arising from the exercise of our right to free speech is not, and never was, merely a nanny-state intrusion brought about as an alternative to the marketplace of ideas.

It's just not true, any more than it's true to say labour relations panels, workers' compensation boards and employment standards codes were brought in to distort the market in goods and services and coddle workers and unduly restrain the magic power of free enterprise.

These laws were enacted so that workers could get out from under yellow-dog contracts. They were brought in so that bosses' houses would not be going up in flames in the middle of the night, and so that cruel plant managers and corrupt union porkchoppers would not be found dangling from the lamp-posts of our cities in the morning.

And in all the rumpus-making about the hopeless speech-patrol function of human-rights tribunals, that's the part of the "free speech" story that you rarely hear about.

If you really want to stoop to debating with characters like Greg Felton, be my guest. See what good it will do. The "marketplace of ideas" is not the only alternative to all these draconian and repressive intrusions upon free speech that the state, it is now fashionable to say, has quietly foisted upon us while we were not looking.

Take it to its conclusion. The truly chic posture on the blame for the predicament we are in - all these government intrusions as would interfere with, say, the persistent and public reiteration of holocaust denial - is to lay it at the feet of the Jews.

And fair enough, I suppose. For years, Canadian Jewish leaders were at the forefront of building up the precedents by pursuing civil and non-violent remedies to Neo-Nazi propaganda and incitement in this country.

But do remember that other alternative, is all I ask. Imagine the result if the likes of Greg Felton were to come after the people of my tribe, say, with the same kind of lurid slander and provocation he utters in his deranged obsession with the Jews. Now take that to its conclusion.

You've got keep a sense of humour about things, am I right?

Good.

Be assured that none of my crowd, being "noyce feckin payple," will send letters from their solicitors inviting you to appear before a human rights tribunal if you're found referring to us pikeys as "blackguards" or "slags" or any such thing. A simpler and more summary resolution would obtain. You would simply be introduced to the Dohertys and the Coyles.



UPDATE: Our fair sister Yvonne Ridley, a rank Mosleyite - has taken great exception to the too-charitable and delicate way I described her in today's newspaper. Editor Fazil Mihlar - not a scary Jewish name, that - has written her back to suggest she take a long walk down a short road.

UPDATE 2: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? David Berner knows: "Felton is obsessed with his hatred for Jews. I know this because I worked with him for 8 months as we entered the 21st century. He is incapable of maintaining a human conversation for longer than 4 minutes without beginning his rant against Jews."

35 Comments:

Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Gatekeeper, you didn't read my contract - Blazingcatfur always gets Top Billing above Kinsella;)

3:05 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

So string me up, like.

3:12 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Terry,

The thing is, the mediated, arbitrated, and judicially-adjudicated resolution of conflict arising from the exercise of our right to free speech is not, and never was, merely a nanny-state intrusion brought about as an alternative to the marketplace of ideas.

Well, you know that these "Human Rights" tribunals can apply some sanctions, heavy enough to make many a writer unemployable, and poor. I don't buy the comparison to labour relations. Clearly the intent or our HR legislation was to penalize those we can now all safely scapegoat, the "neo-Nazi", so as to delude ourselves about making a contribution to the security of minorities or individuals in this nation.

Of course you're right that democracy is a fragile thing and it wouldn't take that much to throw us back into some tribal or sectarian mad house. But what can stop that from happening? Government "mediation", or a culture in which personal responsibility for standing up for the other guy(s), as you have well done today in the Sun, standing up to act as a guarantor of the freedom and security we must share in common?

If Canadian Jews think we can be protected from another Holocaust by the government, they just don't understand where Holocausts come from. As you say, a law is something that can be rewritten when the tide turns. The only thing that can really protect us is a free society where the large majority of people will stand up for each other, whoever they are - and won't have their initiative and sense of responsibility eroded by a constant deferral to government. We need to ignore and marginalize those with insane conspiratorial fantasies, by showing them how pathetic they are to free and able thinkers, not turn them into little martyrs in their sad corners of unreality.

The problem, here, is that anti-Israel speakers are nothing new at the VPL and I would guess the library staff have become inured to thinking that all sorts of rants against Israel are now somehow cool, risky, and cutting edge. Not enough people have called them out on this. And so this little branch of the state makes room for the hate monger in the guise of freedom fighters.

The larger point being, forget the librarians: even the wisest of our judges, sitting alone, cannot be in a position to know whose resentments are worthy of being voiced - should we shut down all the Judeophobes posing as "anti-Zionists" - and whose not, and still maintain the ideal of a law applying equally to all, applied by disinterested arbiters. Where could such an all-wise arbiter stand and not corrupt the judiciary by having to defer to politically-correct prejudices? It seemed easy enough, or not too impossible a task, when those in trouble were pathetic little neo-Nazis. But as soon as sincere, more or less orthodox, Muslims started going after Jewish writers who fear orthodox Islamic ideas about blasphemy, Caliphate, Jihad, etc., the problem transcends our faith in the redeeming possibility of a universally-applied law on "hate speech". It becomes a matter for Canadians to decide by creating a climate of opinion in which not all understandings of what is sacred can be given equal weight. Certain understandings of the sacred are simply incompatible. We can't be all things to all people. We have to decide whether we want modernity or not. That's an inevitable reality, one we best face by becoming champions of freedom. And this is a reality the judges, etc., must follow; they can't lead on this one...

What country in the world are Jews and other minorities arguably the safest? The one(s) with the greatest freedom of speech and respect for freedom generally.

In a crisis situation, maybe the government does have to step in and limit free speech; but to argue that it is in general a potentially useful response to the problem of hate mongering is a point on which you have yet to convince me.

Thanks for your work in today's Sun.

3:47 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Or, to sum up what I just wrote, it is a question of whether we must found our society on individual or group rights? A government that would try to play one group off against another is on a surer road to tribal violence than one that has a high tolerance for individual freedom, a government that speaks to citizens not to "community leaders". It just requires all of us to step up to the plate of engaging individual freedom and channeling it appropriately,

3:52 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Crikey, Truepeers. You've given this some real thought.

I would quibble with your case that human rights tribunals and, say, employment standards boards owe their origins to different sources, but nevermind all that.

I agree with just about everything you said, and you said it well.

Cheers,

tg

4:05 PM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Good post Gatekeeper, and also yours Truepeers.

Terry I agree with Trupeers that the Labour Law analogy doesn't work. The Christie Pits riots were in 1933. HRC legislation was introduced in the 70's. We, as a society had already progressed far beyond those dark days without need of the HRC's.

We all agree that language is almost criminally abused by the Felton's of the world. Likewise Section 13(1) is being manipulated in similar fashion.

Removing Section 13 (1) will allow us to take the gloves off by removing the threat of vexatious human rights complaints by faux victims.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Free speech fetishists and liberals and 'libertarians' are not just annoying little fuckers (and swine) but are also representative of something much bigger and more important - a cowardly retreat from politics and passion into a jealously guarded little private sphere - which is the worst form of conservative shite and/or post modernism run riot.

The "marketplace of ideas..." Whoever thought of that fucking crap should be summarily shot on the spot. Anti-enlightenment shit of the highest order.

Fascism organises the manias of psychological mechanisms of paranoic projection. Ridley is a witch.

PS. My toothbrush is at the ready.

Love your work homeboy!

PPS. Sorry -- always try to remain succinct in comment boxes (see truepeers for opposite approach).

4:36 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Blazer:

I don't want to get into a debate here, but the Christie Pitts riots have nothing to do with the common origin and purpose of much of Canada's, labour, employment, human rights, and indeed rentalsmans' laws and codes and tribunals and what have you.

Almost all of that evolution either began in took off during the 1960s - 198Os.

And don't confuse my point, either.

My point is that human rights' speech codes were not solely intended as an intrusion into the free exchange of ideas. Yes indeed, that is part of the story. But it is not the only part. Andit's not a case of one or the other. It's both.

4:41 PM  
Blogger able seaman said...

The Burnaby Public Library and its Board act like Useful Idiots.

They allow MAWO to meet there (four times in 2007), assault someone who wishes to attend their 'open forum', 'open to all members of the public.' This is in direct contravention of their own rules. Lawbreakers (including by-laws) are barred, and MAWO regularly plasters the Lower Mainland with their illegally put up posters.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Is Will insane?

Terry, please clarify your statement: "My point is that human rights' speech codes were not solely intended as an intrusion into the free exchange of ideas. Yes indeed, that is part of the story. But it is not the only part. Andit's not a case of one or the other. It's both."

It's my understanding HRC's were instituted to deal with issues such as rent and job discrimination and that policing "Free Speech" was never a part of their intended mandate.

Thanks,

5:24 PM  
Blogger Will said...

'Is Will insane?"

In this world we inhabit -- quite possibly.

You're just a stupid conservative prick. But I'll let that pass for now.

Dipshit.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"HRC's were instituted to deal with issues such as rent and job discrimination and that policing "Free Speech" was never a part of their intended mandate."

No, not quite right. HRCs pretty well always asserted jurisidiction over speech and other communication; yes, the provincial codes were almost solely about employment and housing - but that's because the provinces have broad constitutional and regulatory jursidiction in such things as housing and employment.

Signs that say No Irish Catholics Need Apply - that's prohibited speech, always was. Distributing leaflets in a flea market that say Don't Do Business With Irish Catholics Because They Will Rob You Blind - Not allowed.

But like the rentalsman's office, the employment standards branch, et. al., the role of function of these quasi-judicial HRCS changed and evolved over the years.

In B.C., for instance, we used to have a whole Human Rights Commission. It was dismantled, years ago (and to be fair, one does have to wonder whether the Steyn compaint would have got this far had there not been someone on staff to write a memo to the effect of, hey, this is bogus.)

The workers compensation system, meanwhile, has grown enormously, and is now "pro-active," i.e. public education about workplace hazards and such. And labour law is now such as specialized practice that are hundreds of labour lawyers right across Canada - lawyers who rarely if ever see the insides of a conventional courtroom. My brother's one. He's damn good, too, by the way.

But to my knowledge, what nobody envisioned, planned for, anticipated, expected or wanted, in the early years of HRCs, was that their jurisdiction would expand into areas of "speech" such that real magazines, and real newspapers , covering and reporting on real-world events and controversies would so easily open up a new and massive brief within the HRCs' purview.

There. I think I got that just about dead accurate.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Oh -- I forgot -- you're also thick. And a colonial subject. Do what you are told -- and shut the fuck up.

Do it cretin -- do it now.

Anyway -- back to what Mr Glavin was talking about...

5:56 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Fuck. Last comment obviously directed at the chump Blazing Cat Fur.

What a cunt he sounds like.

*Conservative*.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

P.S. The Geordie is a proletarian fury, especially when he's in his cups. Think Slavoj Zizek, only from Newcastle, and drinking vodka instead of water. Almost all the time.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Compliments abound so they do.

Blazing Arse Fire is still a cunt.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

So Will is an Alchoholic? Well we can forgive him them.

Ok Terry I see your point regarding the specific jurisdiction of HRC's over speech with respect to labour and rent discrimination, that seems a reasonable accomodation. Thanks for the excellent clarification.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Will is a genius. Whether that or the drink, slack-cutting is warranted. Elsewise, we have "a reasonable accomodation," then.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I may be out of my league here, but I see Glavin's article as an attempt to bridge the gap between hateful conspiracy theories and legitimate criticism of the state of Israel; an attempt to blur the lines between the two. It is quite obvious that Felton's so called theories are far out there, if only as judged by the other books listed by the same publisher. That being said, I don't see it as very different than the pope saying that all Jews need to convert to Christianity. Do I think the library is a bit silly for promoting this as Freedom to Read week? Sure, but let's not confuse things. All religions and all ideologies have their fundamentalists, but do we risk alienating the moderates for the actions of a few?

-Sean Orr

8:50 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Dear Jessica:

"I may be out of my league here."

How true.

9:09 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

Geordie alert: The N word is cool. Newcastle United. Newcastle Brown. Eric Burdon. But the C word just pisses off the fairer gender.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Jessica, the lines have been well blurred already by many an "Anti-Zionist".

5:39 AM  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

I find Felton's theories odious and sanitized ideas geared to an anti-Semitic audience.

While he may not cross the line into criminal hate speech or warrant charges before any human rights tribunal, there is a separate issue that deserves attention. I see no obligation of a public institution to give him air time-the Vancouver Public Library? Shame.

Similarly, I see no obligation on the part of newspaper editors or other publishers to let him have access to their own publications. He's free to self-publish but I don't see his free speech right as one that requires others to give him a platform.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Hey Gatekeeper - Mark Steyn has linked to you! You gonna go all Hollywood on us now?

9:40 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"If nominated I shall not run. If elected I shall not serve."

10:20 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Terry,

"These [labour] laws were enacted so that workers could get out from under yellow-dog contracts. They were brought in so that bosses' houses would not be going up in flames in the middle of the night, and so that cruel plant managers and corrupt union porkchoppers would not be found dangling from the lamp-posts of our cities in the morning.

True, but this same argument is driving "the hopeless speech-patrol function of [Canadian] human-rights tribunals". Some Muslim groups would much rather take a direct approach and the Commission process is an attempt to mitigate the chances of them doing this.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Unaha:

"True, but this same argument is driving "the hopeless speech-patrol function of [Canadian] human-rights tribunals".

That was my point. Not the only thing "driving it," but one source of its origin.

"Some Muslim groups would much rather take a direct approach and the Commission process is an attempt to mitigate the chances of them doing this."

I don't know if it's an "attempt" to do this, but yes, I take (what I gather is) your point.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

P.S.

There is also the "direct approach" of the JDL.

4:20 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

That was a nice piece in the Sun, and I think the letter writer who said people should just laugh off the morons who believe this crap and "move on" misses the point. You crucified the "eedjeet" without mercy and without being vulnerable to civil suits or human rights board complaints — and without lodging a complaint yourself — exactly as the letter writer suggests. Called the doofus for what he is. A good laugh at the expense of morons.

On a somewhat related matter I was never so proud of the human race as I was when I heard the apology from the Oz government regarding the Stolen Generations of Aborigines. Would that Canada could equal that level of decency.

On another tangent, how 'bout Obama? I'm starting to get excited and optimistic about politics again.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

kurt: "I'm starting to get excited and optimistic about politics again."

I (rather young then) worked as a volunteer for Trudeau in 1968.

Ended up rather disappointed for any number of reasons. But I'm still willing to give Obamamania a chance unless it becomes all about charisma.

Mark
Ottawa

7:29 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

Mark: Yeah, I was disappointed in Trudeau too, but can't say I have any regrets. Besides, as Obama says, there is nothing false about hope.

Also enjoyed Hitchens' piece on the CofE's head guru Rowan (call him Atkinson) endorsing sharia law for some half-assed stab at 'equality" (what irony there is in that!). But then anyone who believes in a book about incestuous pedophiles like Lot being more worthy than a wife who turns into salt for looking at her old hometown needs a head examination.

Perhaps I'll keep my MSM subscriptions.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

Fascinating discussion.

There are always good reasons to abrogate fundamental rights.

Freedom of association? Mobs.

Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure? Smart criminals get away with murder.

Freedom of Religion? Polygamy in creston, homophobia, etc.

Freedom of speech? spreading hatred.

The thing is that all these things are there to protect citizens from their government, not from each other.

All the abuses of these rights that have caused serious harm to more than a narrow group have been perpetrated by government. I could give examples, but I'll keep it short.

All that being said, the real harm that comes with limits on speech is that serious issues become out of bounds of political discussion. Without political discussion, vigorous and ugly as it usually is, no one does any thinking on these issues. We end up with a situation like 9/11 where only the neocons had thought anything through, so their ideas were implemented. Europe is heading to a situation where the only ones with anything to say are the extreme radicals, who will gain the upper hand when something dramatic happens.

And we have this situation where a crank and a flake gets a podium they don't deserve because their ideas aren't openly trashed. Because we can't talk about them. Or we don't dare.

Derek

10:40 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

Terry:

thanks for this posting and excellent op ed piece in the Sun. It's always been a dilemma as to what to do about pond scum like Felton. You can take them apart and risk attacking too much attention to them. On the other hand ignoring the evil is giving credibility to his likes from whom so many innocent people who get their news and "facts" from. So I think you did the right thing. Thanks for being courageous. Now the rest is up to us. I note the "head" librarian wrote in today to justify his decision in allowing Felton to pollute the atmosphere. How wrong can you be?

Cheers

10:52 PM  
Blogger L said...

Mr G, I think you're tying yourself up in too many knots about this. As one of your Toriest chums, I ask you to just give in to your apostate urge.

You feel it. You're a dude of principles, which by their nature are few.

It's the fackin' incoherent exceptions, dialectics and contingencies that make a Canadian Left, which like a stroke victim lies there thinking hard. Nuanced but paralyzed, ya know.

If I were to treat Ginger Felton as a grownup, and parade about the Georgia library in public disagreement, here's what my placard would look like:

GREG FELTON IS AN AWKWARD VIRGIN
***Let Him Speak***
LET FELTON DRAW HIS YAHWEH CARTOONS
***Rachel "Handjobski" Cohen Says He's Harmless***
THIS SIGN IS TOO SMALL FOR

12:04 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Dear Mr. I:

Sorry. No Tory I. Nor Liberal.

Some of my best friends are, though.

Liberals and Red Tories anyway. Am on speaking terms with one or two Tories of the neo kind, even.

See how tolerant I am?

Relax. There will be no firing squad for you.

T

3:30 PM  

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