Another Freedom of Speech advocate battles ongoing Lawfare

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November of 2014 Canadian blogger and journalist Ezra Levant lost a defamation lawsuit brought by the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress,Khurrum Awan. The judge ruled that calling Awan an anti-Semite on his blog was defamatory.

This was very surprising as Awan used to be the youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress when it was led by a notorious anti-Semite, Mohamed Elmasry. Elmasry declared on National Television that any adult in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorism. His group even called for the legalization of anti-Semitic terrorist groups.

Despite these facts the judge ruled that it was defamatory for Ezra to call their former youth president anti-Semitic.

Because Awan denied it in court, and said he never knew about his organization’s infamous misconduct. The judge ruled I did not prove it was factually true.

What’s so incredible is that Awan himself testified at trial that he agreed it’s reasonable for people to call certain statements by the Canadian Islamic Congress anti-Semitic.

Ezra Levant

Ezra felt that he had to appeal this ruling and recently he had his day in court.

You can read his lawyer’s legal brief by clicking here.

Ezra’s lawyer made many points, but a key one was this: if the trial judge’s ruling is not overturned, there will be a great chill over free speech in Canada.

His lawyer gave the court a hypothetical example of a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Would it really be defamatory to call a member of the KKK racist, if he denied he was racist? Even though he admitted it’s fair to call the KKK itself racist?

There aren’t a lot of KKK activists on university campuses these days. But there are a lot of pro-Hamas activists on campus, demonizing Israel and Jews, denying the last Holocaust even while calling for the next one.

If the precedent against me stands, any Jewish student or any righteous Gentile who dares to call out anti-Semites could be hauled before a court, and put through eight years of lawfare.

That’s how long it’s been for me — I first wrote those comments about Awan and the Canadian Islamic Congress back in 2008. And we’re still in court.

I have already received one legal bill from my lawyer, for his preparations for the appeal. And he hasn’t sent me the bill for our court appearance yet. I expect the total cost will be over $30,000. And if we lose, I’ll need to apply to the Supreme Court of Canada.

This trial judgment doesn’t just affect my rights. It’s a setback for freedom for everyone — especially for activists trying to fight back against anti-Semitism. Imagine not being able to use that word to describe activists with anti-Semitic groups.

-Ezra Levant

This is not the first court case Ezra has been involved in. He has been a fearless advocate for freedom of speech and as a consequence has had a number of court cases filed against him. His description of the court cases as ‘ Lawfare’ resonates with me. I hope he wins his case because if he doesn’t it will be open season on conservative bloggers, journalists and writers because ‘Lawfare’ is mainly practised by Progressives and Islamists.

Here we go again. This October I will be prosecuted for one charge of being “publicly discourteous or disrespectful to a Commissioner or Tribunal Chair of the Alberta Human Rights Commission” and two charges that my “public comments regarding the Alberta Human Rights Commission were inappropriate and unbecoming and that such conduct is deserving of sanction.”

Because last year I wrote a newspaper editorial calling Alberta’s human rights commission “crazy”.

Have you ever heard of a journalist being prosecuted for being disrespectful towards a government agency? A journalist in Canada, that is — not in China or Russia.

-the rebelmedia


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