Why isn’t Cheering Israel’s Bombing of Civilians a Hate Crime?

A pro-Palestine protest in Canada. (Photo: Jim Miles, Supplied)

By Yves Engler

In a more sensible world, it would be the supporters of apartheid and ethnic cleansing that would be denounced and criminalized.

Most of the leading human rights groups say Israel is committing the crime of apartheid. It began its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians three-quarters of a century ago and oversees an illegal occupation that’s been going on for more than half a century.

During its decade-and-a-half siege, Israel’s military has killed more than 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Over the past four days, the nuclear-armed state has killed over 2,500 Palestinians, including 300 children. Alongside its onslaught on Gaza, Israel has also bombed Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt over the past 48 hours.

Yet it’s those who have been rallying against Canada’s contribution to the racist, colonial enterprise who are being declared criminals by crazed politicians and supporters of the apartheid state. Bnai B’rith sent a letter signed by deputy Conservative leader Melissa Lantsman, Senator Leo Housakos, and MP Shuv Majumdar to police chiefs in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver “demanding that these rallies be stopped.”

They were referring to a series of emergency Palestine solidarity marches.

The prime minister took up Bnai B’rith’s call. “I strongly condemn the demonstrations that have taken place, and are taking place, across the country in support of Hamas’ attacks on Israel”, Justin Trudeau tweeted. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre also “condemned” the Palestinian solidarity rallies.

Quebec Premier François Legault said opposing apartheid was “shameful” and “unacceptable” while Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared that “hate rallies … have no place in Ontario.”

In a sign of the Jewish Zionist community’s immense power in Toronto, left-wing Mayor Olivia Chow put out a deceitful, Islamophobic, plea to suppress protesters’ rights.

She wrote,

The Government of Canada has rightly listed Hamas as a terrorist organization and we simply must not tolerate any support of terror, full stop.

The rally to support Hamas at Nathan Phillips Square today is unsanctioned, without a permit and I unequivocally denounce it. Glorifying this weekend’s indiscriminate violence, including murder and kidnapping of women and children, by Hamas against Israeli civilians is deplorable.

I am receiving updates from the Chief of Police, who assures me they will investigate and address any suspected incidents of hate.”

(Toronto does not issue permits for demonstrations as Chow well knows since her former husband, Jack Layton, helped win that victory in the Supreme Court.)

Major media outlets are calling for anti-apartheid protesters to be arrested. David Cochrane, host of CBC’s Power & Politics, asked foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly whether Canadians who went to pro-Palestine rallies should be prosecuted for supporting terrorism.

In the National Post, John Ivison called for federal legislation to criminalize the protests in an article headlined “Tolerating the glorification of terror and slaughter is societal suicide”.

He cited a 2015 report by a Senate committee on national security that concluded that hate laws should be strengthened to ban glorifying terrorists, terrorist acts and terrorist symbols. Ivison also questioned whether “section 319 (1) of the criminal code — inciting hatred against an identifiable group — [could] be used to arrest Hamas supporters in Canada, celebrating the attack on Israel?”

In a sign of the influence Zionist groups have built up with police departments, immediately after the flareup on Saturday the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, as well as Vancouver, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto police departments, put out statements that subtly criminalized Palestine solidarity. Between Saturday and the Monday afternoon rally the Toronto police tweeted a half dozen times about Israel and “hate”.

In a more sensible world, it would be the supporters of apartheid and ethnic cleansing that would be denounced and criminalized. In a concrete example, the Vancouverite who was killed in Israel on Saturday was probably induced to join that country’s occupation force by his private school. King David high school should be investigated for possibly violating the Foreign Enlistment Act, which criminalizes “inducing” Canadians to join foreign militaries.

Zionist hate speech could also be investigated. Montreal Zionist Jewish author Lauren Wise was caught on video telling an Arab woman that she “should be raped and dragged in the street in front of your kids” for having a Palestinian flag on her car. Wise rammed the woman’s car.

Similarly, in a rally effectively calling for the destruction of Gaza, the head of Federation CJA, Montreal’s umbrella Jewish organization, told an audience that included multiple elected officials that “the barbarians are at the gate.”

According to the Suburban, Steve Sebag went on to say “to those who will spew all sorts of condemnations against Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself we politely tell you to Fuck off.”

In our upside-down world of mainstream politics, the oppressed daring to fight back against their much more powerful oppressor are designated criminals. And so are the honorable Canadians who say the Zionist Emperor has no clothes.

But those who defend bombing of civilians, shutting off electricity to schools, hospitals and water treatment plants, cutting food supplies and telling Palestinian women they should be raped are not investigated for hate crimes.

What a sad world we live in.

 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website: yvesengler.com.

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