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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Ontario Court of Appeal Allows Defamation Lawsuit Against B’nai Brith Canada to Proceed

In 2017, I commenced a defamation action against B’nai Brith Canada after it repeatedly and falsely accused me of ‘advocating on behalf of’ and ‘supporting’ terrorists.

B’nai Brith responded to my lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss under Ontario’s relatively new anti-SLAPP legislation (“SLAPP” stands for “strategic lawsuits against public participation”).

In June 2018, a motions judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted B’nai Brith’s motion to dismiss.

I subsequently appealed that decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Today, the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed my appeal. The Court’s reasons for allowing my appeal can be found here.

As I explained in my affidavit in opposition to B’nai Brith’s motion to dismiss, I have an extensive and unambiguous record of opposition to violence, and particularly violence directed at innocent civilians.

Despite this fact, B’nai Brith has never retracted or apologized for its false and defamatory accusations against me.

I am therefore grateful that the Court of Appeal has permitted me to have my day in Court.

Venezuelans Who Oppose Nicolas Maduro Say Trump Wants To Control Venezuela’s Resources

During my recent trip to Venezuela, I sought out and spoke to both supporters and critics of President Nicolas Maduro.

On February 14, 2019, the Real News published a report of my interviews of ordinary Venezuelans who support President Maduro (that report can be watched and listened to here).

This just-published report concerns my conversations with Venezuelans who are critical of the Maduro government.

Interestingly, even among those who oppose President Maduro, I was hard-pressed to find anyone who believes that Donald Trump is genuinely interested in the well-being of the Venezuelan people. On the contrary, there appears to be a widespread belief among both supporters and opponents of the Maduro government that Trump’s singular objective is to secure control of Venezuela’s resources, and particularly its massive oil reserves.

Equally interesting was the attitude of Maduro’s opponents toward the legacy of Hugo Chavez. While many supporters of Juan Guaido are hostile to the Chavez legacy, there appears to be considerable respect for the achievements of Hugo Chavez even among those are critical of President Maduro.

My report on my conversations with opponents of the Maduro government can be watched and listened to here.

Is Participatory Democracy the Solution to Venezuela’s Crisis?

During my recent trip to Caracas, Venezuela, I spoke with Atenea Jimenez, the speaker of a Network of Communes.

Atenea argued that collective, grassroots decision-making is the key to solving Venezuela’s crisis.

She also stated that “the biggest fear of all is that a self-proclamation of a president nobody voted for is legitimized.”

My conversation with Atenea can be seen and heard here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/is-participatory-democracy-the-solution-to-venezuelas-crisis?fbclid=IwAR07USf-mBuCho7f1piN0lYIqkvedU227PS4P_ua4INiR8KoeCXAHrSJ4-4

 

My Response To U.N. Watch’s False and Defamatory Letter to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres

On February 21, 2019, U.N. Watch, an entity which masquerades as a human rights organization but which acts as little more than a propaganda organ of the Israeli government, filed a complaint with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres about Professor Michael Lynk.

Micheal Lynk, a Canadian law professor, is the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

U.N. Watch and its propagandist-in-chief, Hillel Neuer, have relentlessly attacked Professor Lynk because his eloquent and meticulously documented reports on the Occupied Palestinian Territories have helped to expose the extent to which Israel’s government flouts international law with impunity.

The U.N. Watch complaint to the Secretary General contains a litany of baseless accusations, distortions and outright fabrications. I do not propose to respond to them all. Professor Lynk is eminently capable of doing that himself, should he deem it worthwhile to do so.

Of particular concern to me is that the U.N. Watch complaint includes the false and defamatory claim that I am an anti-Semite. Accordingly, I have written a letter to the United Nations Secretary General to respond to that aspect of the U.N. Watch complaint.

A copy of my letter to the Secretary General is set forth below, as are links to the four articles and statements referenced in my letter to the Secretary General.

ADL Final Letter to UN Secretary General re UN Watch

Links to the articles and statements referenced in my letter to the U.N. Secretary General:

  1. My Response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Smear: Sir, I Will Not Be Deterred From Defending Human Rights, Dimitri Lascaris, September 11, 2018.
  2. Dimitri Lascaris is not an Anti-Semite, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, September 14, 2018.
  3. Prime Minister Owes Human Rights Activist An ApologyRicochet Media, October 12, 2018.
  4. McGill University Should Withdraw Its Honorary Doctorate To Hillel Neuer, Dimitri Lascaris, October 25, 2018.

Lima Group Members Invoke Human Rights While Trampling On Them

As Lima Group members Columbia and Brazil foment unrest on Venezuela’s borders, their right-wing regimes routinely violate human rights in their own countries.

For The Real News Network, I met in Caracas with Venezuelan human rights activist Antonio Gonzalez Plessman to discuss the human rights situation in the region.

According to Mr. Gonzalez Plessman, Western governments and media are magnifying human rights violations in Venezuela while minimizing or ignoring altogether human rights violations by the governments of Lima Group members, including Colombia and Brazil.

My discussion with Mr. Gonzalez Plessman can be watched and heard here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/lima-group-members-invoke-human-rights-while-trampling-on-them?fbclid=IwAR2BkXikT4lkKFhzy8u1ET8uCW6yR-19h4vUAA4Vii5zeMxq7wD0tejI5QY

TRNN Visits a Working Class Neighbourhood in Caracas, Venezuela

During my recent trip to Caracas, Venezuela, I visited the working class district of Valle.

There, I discussed Venezuela’s crisis with Gustavo Robledo, an ambulance driver who has spent his entire life in Valle. As we spoke, Gustavo and I stood beside the small home in which he has spent over 50 years of his life.

As Gustavo explains, although he categorically rejects Juan Guaido’s claim to Venezuela’s Presidency, and although Gustavo is strongly committed to Chavismo, he believes that President Maduro has made mistakes.

My discussion with Gustavo can be seen and heard here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/trnn-visits-a-working-class-neighbourhood-in-caracas