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Stop antisemitism by Adam Fagen CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/2pgnxCR

States of Disbelief: Too Many Don’t Believe Rise of Antisemitism as the Jewish Community Can’t Believe What It is Seeing

The Globe and Mail published my op-ed yesterday on antisemitism and what I think are two states of disbelief: the disbelief among far too many in Canada that rising antisemitism is real, alongside the disbelief by many within the Jewish community that antisemitism has returned in a manner unseen since the Holocaust. An open access version follows:

Leo Frank, a U.S. factory superintendent, was convicted of murder in 1913 and subsequently lynched in a case widely viewed as a miscarriage of justice motivated by antisemitism. His case sparked the creation of the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded to combat antisemitism, bigotry and discrimination. Despite more than a century of leadership on the issue, last month an overwhelming majority of Wikipedia editors concluded that the ADL is no longer a reliable source on antisemitism. Attempts to paint Jews and Jewish institutions as untrustworthy and not to be believed date back millenniums, and the re-emergence of this pattern is one of the most frightening elements of the rising tide of antisemitism.

The disbelief is seemingly everywhere: evidence of Jewish women sexually assaulted during the Oct. 7 massacres is repeatedly doubted, while shootings at schools and vandalism at synagogues and Jewish community centres have been dismissed by some as false flags. Indeed, virtually anyone actively calling out antisemitism on social media is by now accustomed to the obscene flurry of replies that at best question the veracity of the reports and at worst traffic in Nazi-style propaganda.

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July 9, 2024 17 comments Columns
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 208: Will Page on Why the CRTC’s Bill C-11 Ruling is Discriminatory and May Ultimately Hurt the Canadian Music Market

The recent CRTC Bill C-11 decision mandating that streaming services pay 5 percent of their revenues has left seemingly everyone unhappy and has sparked multiple legal challenges.  While much of the focus has been on video streaming, music was a core part of Bill C-11 and the implications for music streaming services may be the most pronounced. Will Page is the perfect person to unpack these issues. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Tarzan Economics, the former Chief Economist of Spotify and PRS for Music, the co-host the Bubble Trouble podcast and a regular contributor to BBC, Financial Times, and The Economist. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to provide new data on what the CRTC’s numbers mean and why the decision could ultimately move the Canadian market backwards rather than forward. 

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July 8, 2024 3 comments Podcasts
No violence no hate speech by John S. Quarterman CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/aDkJbi

Court Issues Injunction Against University of Toronto Encampment on Trespass Grounds, Finds “No Doubt That Some of the Speech on the Exterior of the Encampment Rises to the Level of Hate Speech”

Ontario Superior Court of Justice Markus Koehnen issued his much anticipated ruling involving the encampment at the University of Toronto late yesterday, granting the University its requested order that can be used to remove the encampment. Under the order, protesters have until 6:00 pm today to clear the encampment. If they fail to do so, the court ruled that the University can levy the full range of sanctions, including “physical enforcement of the order, prosecution for trespass, liability for contempt of court and the full range of disciplinary sanctions at the University.” The basis of the order lies in trespass with the court concluding that “there is ample judicial authority that says protesters have no right to set up camp on or otherwise occupy property that does not belong to them, no matter how much more effective their protest would be if they were able to do so.”

Trespass combined with evidence of irreparable harm if the order was not granted provided the legal foundation for the decision, but the court did not find sufficient evidence to conclude that the encampment was violent or antisemitic. The court’s conclusion on antisemitism has been seized up on encampment supporters, but the reality is that it did find hate speech at the exterior of the encampment, which from the perspective of Jewish students and faculty surely requires University action. In fact, the court finds that “that there have been incidents of hate speech and physical harassment of people, predominantly but not exclusively directed at people wearing kippahs or some other indicator of Jewish identity in the general vicinity of the encampment” and that “the possibility of further escalation based on past physical altercations and past use of actual hate speech outside the encampment amounts to some level irreparable harm but not significantly so.”

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July 3, 2024 13 comments News
Stèle_ancienne_synagogue_renversée_par_une_auto_2_mars_2019 by Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons - cc-by-sa-4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

When Antisemitism Strikes Close to Home

In the 269 days since October 7th, at least 12 synagogues and 18 Jewish schools and community centres have been attacked or vandalized in Canada. The latest two synagogue attacks took this place this weekend in Toronto, which struck particularly close to home since one of the targets – the Pride of Israel synagogue – has been my family’s synagogue for decades. It was where I had my bar mitzvah, where my mother served as President of the Sisterhood committee, and where we attended annual high holiday services. The Pride of Israel did not start as a synagogue. It was founded in 1905 as a sick benefit society to provide medical aid to its members, primarily Jewish immigrants newly arrived in Canada. Much like the Jewish immigrant community, it gradually moved north, first as a synagogue on Spadina in the 1940s and later to its current location near Steeles and Bathurst.

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July 1, 2024 3 comments News
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Government’s Choice for Chief of Human Rights Commission Cited Terrorism as a Rational Strategy With High Rates of Success

The government’s choice for chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission has been mired in controversy this week given his failure to disclose a record of posts and appearances that call into question the ability for Jewish or Zionist Canadians to get a fair, impartial hearing at the Commission. Birju Dattani, who formerly was known as Mujahid Dattani, is now the subject of an independent investigation by the Ministry of Justice as the calls for his resignation or replacement from stakeholder groups continue to mount, former Justice Minister David Lametti questions his suitability for the position, and MPs express non-confidence in him.

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June 29, 2024 5 comments News