When it Comes to Silencing Israel’s Critics, John Tory and James Pasternak Won’t Take ‘No’ For An Answer

(In the photograph above, John Tory and James Pasternak pose with 30 Israeli students visiting Canada in March 2015.)

March 22, 2019

On March 21, 2019, I spoke at Toronto City Hall on behalf of the organizing committee of the Al Quds Day rallies in Toronto.

The Al Quds organizers, who give their time freely to defend Palestinian human rights, have been smeared repeatedly by advocates for Israel, particularly Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak.

Pasternak has an extensive history of seeking to silence Israel’s critics. As reported by Now Toronto, Pasternak led the charge at Toronto City Hall to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade. Pasternak has also condemned Israeli Apartheid Week.

Like Pasternak, Mayor John Tory works closely with the pro-Israel lobby groups, including the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). In 2016, in cooperation with CIJA, Tory led an “Innovation Mission to Israel.”

With the support of Mayor Tory, Pasternak is now seeking to prevent Al Quds rallies from taking place on Toronto City property, in violation of the constitutional rights of my clients to free speech and free assembly.

Pasternak launched his initiative in November 2017 by seeking advice from city staff on ways to counter ‘hate-infested’ rallies on city property. This month, after more than a year of careful consideration, city lawyers and staff advised the Executive Committee that the city’s existing policies with respect to hate rallies are essentially adequate.

But when it comes to silencing Israel’s critics, James Pasternak and John Tory will not take ‘no’ for an answer. On March 21, 2019, they persuaded an embarrassingly compliant Executive Committee to send Pasternak’s inquiry back to city staff for further consideration.

This is the video of my 5-minute speech to the Executive Committee and of my exchanges with Mayor Tory and Pasternak following my speech:

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Puerto Rico’s Government Was Warned Climate Catastrophe Was Coming, But Didn’t Listen

March 21, 2019

In Puerto Rico, I spoke to environmental activist Juan Rosario about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

As Juan explains, Puerto Rico’s government was warned that a monster hurricane was inevitable, but did too little to prepare.

My interview with Juan can be watched and listened to here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/puerto-ricos-government-was-warned-climate-catastrophe-was-coming-but-didnt-listen

Would Austerity-Stricken Puerto Rico Be Better Off As An Independent State?

For The Real News Network, I recently spoke in Puerto Rico with economist Dr. José Caraballo-Cueto about the economic prospects for an independent Puerto Rico.

Would Puerto Rico be better off if it were to cease to be a colony of the United States and became a truly sovereign state?

My conversation with Dr. Caraballo-Cueto can be watched and listened to here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/would-austerity-stricken-puerto-rico-be-better-off-as-an-independent-state.

 

Insect Apocalypse: New Study Reveals Stunning Decline in Insect Populations

For The Real News Network, I speak to ecologist Francisco Sanchez-Bayo of Sydney University in Australia about a new study showing alarming rates of decline in insect populations.

If current trends persist, the earth could be essentially devoid of insects within about a century.

My discussion with Dr. Sanchez-Bayo can be seen and listened to here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/insect-apocalypse-new-study-reveals-stunning-decline-in-insect-populations?fbclid=IwAR0UwONv6n2pq3vwMO-pk30zi62ePF6IwJlQFv1_7a0laLBb323GejJcrXg

Chrystia Freeland Spreads A Falsehood About The Maduro Government. Will She Now Retract It?

On February 3, 2019, Canadian Ministers Chrystia Freeland and Marie-Claude Bibeau published this statement in which they claimed that Venezuelan forces had burned ‘humanitarian aid’:

statement

Today, a New York  Times expose confirmed that this claim is false.

Will Freeland and Bibeau now issue a retraction and apology?

[For the record, Max Blumenthal revealed this claim to be false well before the New York Times did so.]

Prime Minister Trudeau Effectively Admits That Electoral Concerns Played a Role in SNC-Lavalin Interference

Along with Yves Engler, I speak to Sharmini Peries of The Real News Network about the latest revelations in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

As I explain, Justin Trudeau’s argument that his government’s actions were justified by a concern for Canadian jobs is highly problematic.

Our discussion can be watched and listened to here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/pm-justin-trudeau-admits-electoral-concerns-are-primary-in-snc-lavalin-interference