It's beside the pojnt raised by the OP but I'm not sure I have a lot of sympathy for Levant. Muslims find this sort of thing objectionable and they have a right to prosecute their case just as Levant (a Jew) would have a right to prosecute a case against somebody who might deny the Holocaust.
Levant is a publisher. He must have known what he was getting into.
No you do not have the right to prosecute someone in Canada for denying the holocaust. You are wrong. Prosecutre refers to a criminal code proceeding. It is not a criminal act to deny the holocaust. It might be a criminal act to use any words in a context to encourage others to engage in an assault or battery, property vandalism or other criminal consequence. Just stating something contraversial does not make it criminal.
Criminal law requires the Crown to show there was a deliberate intent to commit a crime or assist in the committing of a crime and that is why the criminal code is very rarely used in hate crimes prosecutions.
More to the point someone denying the holocaust and someone drawing a political cartoon are NOT the same thing at all. One is a denial of a fact that may offend some, the other an act of political expression that does not deny a fact, but also may offend some.
Even more to the point, this is not about allowing people to censor others because they don't agree with them.
The point Levant was making as a Canadian citizen and NOT A JEW is that censoring anyone's political views, including Nazis or racists, may not be the appropriate way to do it.
That was the point.
You reduce it to the feelings of some Muslims. Its not about feelings. The law is about maintaining a set of rules that can not acknowledge one group's feelings at the expense of another's but has to walk a fine line and try allow everyone the same right to express feelings.
As a Jew I do not think censoring Nazis through a Human Rights Commission is the way to do it. I don't think censoring them is the way to do it at all.
In the case of Jim Keegstra teaching holocaust denial in schools, yes that had to be stopped because its not appropriate in a school. If he wanted to preach that crap outside school it would be a different story.
With Ernst Zundel, he disseminated hate messages on the telephone through his answering machine, and on the inter-net which made it federal jurisdiction.
The feds stepped in reluctantly because it was shown he was also involved inciting physical attacks against persons, vandalizing property and engaging in criminal activities and the encouraging of criminal activities and technically he was not a citizen of Canada and so was violating Immigration laws.
The on-going legal case against the aboriginal chief in Saskatchewan in my opinion as a lawyer was deliberately anti-semitic but he did not encourage people to commit a crime, he just stated ignorance and hatred. The best way to deal with that is to openly challenge him and call him out on it. Its not a criminal matter.
It would be a criminal matter if he had said at the end of his speech go out and beat up Jews. Its a fine line. Some people believe his words automatically can be inferred to say that.
The problem is, what if in another case we are wrong with the inference? if we can use presumed inferences to prove a crime, that becomes subjective and for a law to work it can not be subjective it must remain objective and not based on emotional reaction but logical reasoning.
My attitude is if you can't handle a political cartoon don't read it and openly debate it. When Levant produced these cartoons it was in a clear context of challenging freedom of speech and the human rights tribunals and was not done to encourage hatred.
If some idiot newspaper wants to produce anti-semite cartoons, and many have over Israel, then I have the choice to debate them openly and write editorials to the paper and hell go out on the street with a placard and have a tantrum and ask people to not buy the paper. That is how freedom works.
This isn't even about Muslims and their religion as far as I am concerned. That cartoon could have been about any one. The principles remain the same regardless. My comments are made in general and not specifically to the poster I am responding to-I am just talking rhetorically. I respect the poster's opinion.
Edited by Rue, 24 March 2008 - 09:32 AM.