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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ezra Levant, the Left and Hate Speech Hypocrisy

As is now well-known, Ezra Levant apologized for his anti-Gypsy rant last Monday, both on-air during his Sun TV show The Source, and in print in Sun News publications.

Though they failed in their efforts to abort it before it debuted, and detesting it as they do, Canada's political left still keeps a keen eye on the Sun News Network and in particular, it's most flamboyant personality, Ezra Levant.

Levant's ability to combine rhetorical dexterity with showmanship has, on practically a weekly basis, forced attention to a variety of issues that have embarrassed Canada's left-leaning political cliques. Those include included the waste and corruption and deception by many of the leaders of the Idle No More movement, which Labor leaders and NDP and Liberal politicians had hoped to exploit as means of embarrassing Stephen Harper and his Conservative government.

Levant also ridiculed, belittled and exposed the hypocrisy of left-wing sacred cows David Suzuki and the Occupy Movement among many others.

So it was with virtual glee that the Toronto Star's editorial board and the likes of far-left media outlets such as rabble.ca and The Vancouver Observer seized on a monologue by Sun TV's Ezra Levant in which he injudiciously and unfairly characterized Gypsies as a people with a primarily criminal culture. Delighted in their outrage, immediately came calls from the left for his prosecution for Hate Crimes.

Levant's motives for apologizing, six months after-the-fact were questioned by both his detractors on the left and supporters on the right. Sun News' application for a CRTC Common Carry license and the possibility that Hate Speech charges would be pursed by Ontario's Attorney General were among the speculative reasons.

But regardless of why, Levant's words were well-crafted, sounded sincere, and explicitly retracted his earlier statements about Gypsies.

Yet desperate to silence Canadian TV's Grand Inquisitor of left-wing hypocrisy and deceit, calls for his criminal prosecution have not abated despite Levant's apology last Monday.

Which in a way, proves many of the points Levant makes when he preaches his gospel of absolute free speech and thunders about the hypocrisy and double standards of a Canadian left who would have others live by rules that they hold themselves above.

In November 2010 the National Post and later other media outlets did extensive coverage on an anti-Semitic thesis produced at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).  The Department of Sociology and Equity Studies produced a number of theses with anti-Semitic themes, the most well-publicized of which was by a Jenny Peto wherein she accused the Jewish community of conducting Holocaust education to further the aims of "Israeli apartheid." She also, in contradiction to any credible empirical evidence, defamed the Jewish community by claiming it was dominated by "racist" ideologies.

The thesis was condemned for its anti-Semitism in the Ontario Legislature by members of both the Progressive Conservative and governing Liberal parties, including then Citizenship Minister Eric Hoskins.

Unlike Levant, who apologized for slurring an entire people, Peto doubled down, making the claim that it was she who was owed an apology after her anti-Semitic, academically inept polemic was brought to light.

Peto was roundly and vociferously condemned by conservative and pro-Israel commentators, and there were calls for an investigation into the teaching practices and deficient standards at the radical, biased, politicized Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. University of British Columbia Professor Emeritus of Sociology Werner Cohn noted that Peto's and another anti-Semitic thesis which shared OISE instructor Sheryl Nestel as a thesis adviser "consist of hate propaganda, possibly in violation of the Criminal Code of Canada," but no one among those so called "right-wing" voices actually called for criminal prosecution or Human Rights Commission proceedings against them.

And what about the left side of the political spectrum? One would expect those people who are so enthusiastic about the use of state apparatuses to penalize Hate Speech would have wanted them used in such a blatant case of Jew-hate.

But this was not so in the case of Peto and OISE. Hate Speech in the service of "progressive" causes, like the destruction of Israel and defaming Canada's Christian conservatives, is not only tolerated but vigorously, if somewhat preposterously defended by the far left.

The same people who are now calling for Ezra Levant's criminal prosecution for a distorted description of Gypsy culture ridiculously decried mere condemnation of Peto's thesis and OISE as "silencing free speech."

For the hypocritical would be-censors on the left, Hate Speech is only Hate Speech when it is uttered by conservatives and those they disdain.

The Toronto Star's Haroon Siddiqui produced a diatribe about Stephen Harper's alleged "inconsistencies on hate laws." There are a number of valid reasons why those laws should not be employed against Levant. But if Siddiqui and his fellow travelers are genuinely concerned about inconsistencies in the application of unjust laws that seek to censor opinion, they would best look to their own hypocrisy first.

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