Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Afternoon of Kabuki Democracy

Tuesday afternoon, The City of Toronto's Executive Committee held a hearing about whether to accept the City Manager's report that decided the term "Israeli Apartheid" in Toronto's Pride Festival does not violate the City's anti-discrimination policy. As one councillor pointed out, this is an issue that really has relatively little effect on the City and yet takes up an inordinate amount of Council business.

In the same session, prior to that, the transfer of stewardship of Casa Loma and the sale of 22 public housing properties were discussed and voted upon. Both matters, which will have a lasting effect on the City, took up far less time than the Pride discussion.

Nonetheless, the Pride issue does reflect on the City and people have a right to be interested in whatever they choose. I was one of the deputants arguing that the Executive Committee should reject the Manager's report. To be fair, I think the City manager got it right and the term itself is not, by definition, "hate speech."

But as Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti observed, the intent of what is said is sometimes much more discriminatory and nefarious than the words themselves. My position was that whether or not the City's anti-discrimination policy was violated, Council as democratically elected representatives had the right to reject the finding. They are not Supreme Court judges ruling on the validity of legislation or the wording of law, they are the people's representatives whose job is to represent constituents and not a policy. Pride has the right to include any messaging they choose, but the city is not obliged to validate them with tax subsidies, and in the case of groups like Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, the City has a right to distance itself from them by witholding funds for any event that includes such bigotry.

There is a difference between free speech and subsidized speech which a number of people fail to recognize.

The term Israeli Apartheid is used for the sole purpose about lying about the nature of Israel and to attempt to deligitimize the country, along with attempting to boycott and sanction it.

Apartheid is a system of racial segregation and disenfranchisement that does not exist in Israel. Let's put it simply: a Palestinian Arab could convert to becoming an Israeli Jew. In the Apartheid era, could a black South African convert to being a white Afrikaner and get all the commensurate rights? There's your answer about whether Israel is an "apartheid" state.

The sole purpose of calling Israel an apartheid country is to fight a battle that was lost by the Arabs over and over again militarily. This is illustrated by the likes of Khaled Muammar, the head of the terrorist-supporting Canadian Arab Federation, who complained that he was a refugee from a country he never lived in. The Arabs failed to wipe out Israel with force of arms, and now they want to do it with propaganda, and have enlisted Marxist dupes like Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, whose antiquated, vacuous, cult-like belief in the politics of oppression and victimology is rife for exploitation by the smarter, more manipulative forces of Islamism and anti-Semitism.

In the end, little was accomplished. Council's Executive Committee was, in the vast majority sympathetic to those who opposed public funding for a venue that facilitates the bigotry of the anti-Israel group, but it was clear a deal had been struck between Councillors before the meeting had begun. The report was accepted, but al-QuAIA won't march, because they know Pride will have its funding pulled permanently if they did.

An interesting afternoon nonetheless.

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Here's me racing through my presentation. The reason I'm speaking so fast is that the presentation time was cut for speakers to 4 minutes from 5. So I had to do some fast editing and faster talking.

Thanks to Blazing Cat Fur for the video!!


Anonymous said...

What I find curious is the fact that the City did not go to the Ontario Human Rights tribunal(OHRT) for a decision. If the criteria for initiating a OHRT is a complaint then the City had plenty of them that could have been filed. It's hard to believe that the City and OHRT did not have behind the scenes discussions as to whether or not to proceed with such a complaint.

Richard said...

There is a bias at the OHRC and other human rights commissions that buy into the whole "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" nonsense that is being pushed. So actually getting a fair ruling at a tribunal of that nature is a precarious proposition at best.

Anonymous said...

"So actually getting a fair ruling at a tribunal of that nature is a precarious proposition at best."

True, but I think that the OHRC as an organization has a self-survival reflex that has kicked in because it know it has a bias and hearing a case with elements of Pride, QuAIA, Israel Apartheid and the BDSM would activate and bring to the foreground the bias once its put into writing via a decision. Personally, I believe that would be the beginning of the end for OHRC. The OHRC is in the survival business first and foremost and will rebuff any requests to hear any complaint that threatens its viability.