Ezra Levant fights two libel suits over anti-Semitism allegations

Ezra Levant fights two libel suits over anti-Semitism allegations

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Ezra Levant
Ezra Levant

Right-wing provocateur Ezra Levant’s legal woes continue to mount, with two setbacks on the same day.

Late last month, Levant was served with a libel notice from a Montreal-based group that supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) allege that Levant defamed them by comparing them to Nazis and calling them “Jew-baiters.” The group’s statement of claim says the comparison was “false” and “deliberately inflammatory.”

CJPME made headlines last spring when it distributed stickers urging shoppers not to buy products made in Israel. The stickers were found applied to a variety of goods in groceries and hardware stores and liquor outlets across Canada.

Levant’s offending article, headlined “Tax dollars subsidize Jew hatred in Canada,” is still on his website, at therebel.media. In it, he compares the Nazi period, when “street thugs” stood outside Jewish-owned stores with signs saying, “Don’t Buy From Jews,” to CJPME, whom he calls “Jew-baiters” who use “code words like ‘Zionist’ or ‘Israel.’”

“But really, how different is ‘Don’t buy anything from Jews’ versus ‘Don’t buy anything from a country of Jews?’” Levant asked.

The post ends with a petition calling on the federal government to revoke the CJPME’s charitable status. The statement of claim asserts that the CJPME is not a charity.

Last March, the Jewish Defence League wrote the Canada Revenue Agency to request the same thing. The JDL noted that CJPME has a separate fundraising arm, the CJPME Foundation, which is registered as a federal charity that issues tax receipts for donations and lists the same address as the CJPME.

JDL Canada director Meir Weinstein told The CJN this week that his group never heard back from the agency.

In its statement of claim, CJPME says the BDS drive “is not a criticism or attack on Jewish people or upon any person because of their religion or ethnicity,” and that the group “decries hatred, violence, racism and religious targeting of Jewish people in Canada and throughout the world.”

It is seeking $120,000 in damages.

“We’re reviewing the claim and our lawyers will draft and file our defence,” Levant told The CJN via email.

On Dec. 23, the same day the lawsuit was filed, Levant lost an appeal of a 2014 defamation case. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld an $80,000 libel judgment against Levant that had been brought by Khurrum Awan, now a lawyer practising in Saskatchewan.

The court confirmed a lower court finding that Levant had defamed Awan in several blog posts Levant wrote in 2008 and 2009, in which he called Awan an anti-Semite and a “serial liar.”

The lower court had noted that Levant had done “little or no fact-checking.” The appeals court agreed he had acted with “malice,” which it said defeats the defence of fair comment. It awarded an additional $15,000 in costs to Awan.

Levant had argued that his words were not defamatory because of his reputation for being “provocative and controversial.” His said his remarks were his opinion and constituted fair statement.

The original action arose when Levant live-blogged a hearing at the British Columbia Human Rights Commission over a 2006 Maclean’s cover story that Awan and three other law students alleged was Islamophobic.

In the blog posts, Levant called Awan a “serial liar.” The lower court found that Levant also called Awan, who used to be the youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, an anti-Semite because Levant had called then-CIC head Mohammed Elmasry an “anti-Semite-in-chief” and said Awan was Elmasry’s “protégé.”

The appeals court agreed that calling Awan a serial liar could affect his job prospects as a lawyer.

“I’m worried,” Levant wrote after the appeal court’s decision, “that this ruling sets a precedent, and it is now legally dangerous to call out an anti-Semite as anti-Semitic.” He noted that the Ontario Court of Appeal judge who wrote the ruling, Kathryn Feldman, is Jewish.

Levant, a former lawyer, told The CJN that he is applying for leave to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“But as you may know,” he said, “the Supreme Court doesn’t hear most cases.”

  • TerrorIsEvil

    Ezra is under attack for speaking the truth. He is under attack by the lawfare gangs – once again sponsored and paid for by the Islamists and their leftist supporters.

    Ezra has become a symbol and a primary target because of his public presence. If Jewish groups had any guts and brains they would be screaming their support for him and helping him to win these important cases because he is on the front lines. He is also saying what needs
    to be said and saying what others fear to say. Nonetheless, it all needs to be
    said, whether 100 percent true or only partially true.

    Today I read that the murder rate in Ottawa has doubled and that is mainly due to honor killings and other violence in the Islamic community. These stories are not being reported and
    that is because reporters are afraid to say anything critical of Islamists because the
    Islamists and their loving supporters will retaliate with force – in Canada there
    is now a lawfare jihad nurtured by our weak government.

    Multiculturalism is quickly turning into Uniculturalism with Islam the major #1 concern and recipient of empathy and support from our government.

    What kind of a Canada do we have to look forward to when there are specific instructions from our PM down to flood the gates with refugees – not any refugees nor all people in need – in fact,
    minority groups who are being slaughtered by Islamists are largely unrepresented
    – our government seems to favor of the Islamists who are the victims of their
    own co-religionists as well as the perpetrators of jihad on the minorities
    within their expansive, resource-rich and bountiful countries which they have
    turned into ash and blood.

    If this country is taking its orders from the same people bullying Ezra in court and forcing him into submission, then we are in trouble. If we do not fight back now to maintain our freedoms
    from Islamism and leftism, then it is likely to be a violent jihad in the
    future that will follow the political and legal jihad they are engaging in today.

    • Kevin R

      Clearly by your lies and propagation of hate to people of the Islamic faith you must be a racist religious bigot. You are why we have hate legislation in Canada.

      Come out of the closet so we can sue you.

      But I would also suspect you support the racist religiously prejudicial nation of Israel.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        I do not hate anyone but I do have contempt for religious and political beliefs that want me dead.

    • Dan

      Why are you posting anonymously, Ezra?

      • TerrorIsEvil

        Thanks for the compliment but I am not Ezra – nice try!

    • Abu Mohamad Jaab

      You are full of it. Remember God is watching.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        I am quite comfortable with what I
        say and do and I operate out of a deep concern for the survival of all people
        in the face of a world-wide jihad and a declaration of war by radical Islam
        against all of us (including a war against moderates in the Islamic community;
        individuals from that community whom I know, respect and am on very friendly
        terms with – and they agree with me for the most part).

        By the way, I am not a religious
        person and although your warning that G-d is watching is probably very true, I doubt
        that you care too much about G-d whom you seem to be, if I am not mistaken, mocking in a very condescending manner by your comment.

        Anyway, it is only in Islamic
        countries where criticism of jihad is considered a crime against the religion.
        Canada, although it is throwing out the welcome carpet to terrorist ideologies
        under Trudeau, is still a free country – less free now that Ezra is losing to
        jihadists and a court system that agrees to preventing free speech of some people while ignoring jihad from others at the same time.

    • Yankel

      Ezra is a serial defamer who wouldn’t know the truth if it fell on him.

    • Max Mendelbaum

      When Canadian Indigenous Chiefs & White Supremacists make PUBLIC antisemitic remarks in front of audiences & are denounced for it even taken to court in some cases, it is the Jewish groups who bring the complaint forward that are vilified and accused for silencing others ‘opinions’. They are accused of acting like the ‘thought police’. But when someone speaks out about the anti Western precepts in Islamic jurisprudence in regards to the infidel or kafir it is perceived as discrimination by Muslims who are not nearly as victimized as Jews are world wide. The so called progressives ie. Social Justice Warriors & Islamists label you Islamophobe and the intersectionalist groups like sheep join them in the witch hunt.

  • Conspiracy News & Opinion

    “But really, how different is ‘Don’t buy anything from Jews’ versus ‘Don’t buy anything from a country of Jews?’”
    Israel is not just a country of Jews Israel has a very diverse mix of people from every race from every corner of earth. I don’t think that group is hiding behind the use of Zionist in the least bit because in reality isn’t that root cause of the problem in a country that has a diverse mixed of demographics such as Israel.
    If Ezra admitted he’s wrong as sort of an apology I’m sure the group in question would drop the lawsuit. I’m still a fan of Ezra most times he does make some valid statements about politics and what not.

    • Abu Mohamad Jaab

      There is huge difference between the two, if you can’t figure it out, I suggest to read other sources. Israel is a human right violstor, it has nothing to do with religion.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        I guess we will all have to watch Iranian Press TV, RT, Al Jazeera and Inspire Magazine by ISIS to get all the good jihadist news, right Abu?

        We can only be well-rounded citizens if we believe in the Islamic conquest and in implementing sharia worldwide, right?

        Israel is anathema to the Islamists and so all that propaganda, BDS and lies are justified – nothing is forbidden when it comes to wiping the infidels off the map, right Mr. Abu?

        Assuming you are Muslim, do you not think that your people would be better off to cut their losses (hundreds of thousands dead in the past several years by the hands of jihadists), make peace with yourselves, improve your own 56 nations and the lot of your people, stop the infernal and eternal war of hate against Jews, Christians and those you refer to as the “infidels” and to finally make peace?

        You do not have to control every country where Muslims reside to live good lives. In Canada, for instance, people live under the umbrella of a Canadian secular government very well and with happiness. If I am not mistaken, no other religious group tries to change government to accommodate their religion/politics except for Islam. It is time to separate Mosque and State, free women to live as equals and, from my point of view, it is time to wring your beliefs of their antisemitic underpinnings – that would solve most of the problems of many people and many communities and countries throughout the world.

  • DJ

    What other Middle Eastern countries are subject to their “peace and justice” campaigns? I think they’ve been asleep at the wheel frankly if over 500, 000 Syrians have died over the past several years. I guess it wasn’t within their mandate?

    • Le Canadien

      Actually it was. And we’re all praising the Syrian ceasefire that we worked hard for, in the face of the Bibiists.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        Perhaps then, you would work towards making all of the Islamic countries less oppressive, less antisemitic, less hateful towards other cultures and religions and more free and responsive to the needs of their own people.

        Every day we see hundreds killed throughout the world in the name of Islam. Are you prepared to say that something that inspires so many to commit murder must not be discussed and people be prevented from finding ways to modernize and revise Islam so that it no longer compels Muslims to harm others in its name and conduct jihad against “infidels” for the sake of conquest?

        Empathy involves understanding at an experiential level what the Jewish people have historically been through and what Israel is going through today and concern for its its survival – a survival that Islamists want to put to an end.

        You will probably not understand until Canada is facing jihad or your own family has experienced bloody terrorism. Many people on the left, some of whom are in the BDS movement, want Jews to face death and destruction but the same people are reluctant to put themselves in countries where terrorism thrives. To ignore the Islamist ideology is to ignore the terrorism and hate behind it.

        Shutting up people who speak truth (in my opinion) is like ensuring that totalitarians win the day. It ensures terrorists will one day rule over us. It won’t help anyone if we prevent people the lifeblood of speaking out against anything and denying them free speech. In this case, Ezra is right and the judges who ruled against free speech are empowering those who want to control the message. And the message that the left want to control and shield from criticism is very harsh and very disturbing – it takes sides with terrorists against people who speak out against terrorism.

      • DJ

        No, no it wasn’t. Unless your name is Vladimir Putin.

        Ypur website is 99% BDS obsessed. Nice try. I failed to see any protests or campaigns. I commend, however, the work you are doing to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada. Having ACTUALLY spoken to a few, they have only praise for Israel and contempt for the likes of your organization for not doing more to bring freedom and justice to the those who have it denied by their brethren for decades.

        • Le Canadien

          DJ are you in the fake news biz? I don’t have a website!

  • Le Canadien

    Good on the court. Defamation has a limit in Canada. Misusing the anti-Semitism label as a cudgel on well-deserved criticism of Israel does no one any good.

    Levant just handed the BDS movement another victory. I hope this is just the beginning of holding him to account.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      I bet you would not be saying “Good on the court” if they were preventing people from telling lies and blood libels against Jews and Israel and if they prevented praise for Islamists who want all of Israel to turn into another bloody terror state like Gaza.

      You see, if you are calling for some to be prosecuted for saying things you don’t like, what will prevent a court from prosecuting you? Not everyone believes what you do and not everyone was brought up to believe that everyone has to believe exactly as you do or be harmed. That is the villainous way leftists operate and think but not everyone is a leftist – thank G-d.

    • DJ

      It’s not anti Semitism your group is promoting, unless you are referring to the ongoing neglect of the killings of Muslims in other middle eastern countries. Your criticism is very refined and focused against Jews.

      Much more accurate to call you JEW haters. The denial of Jewish national self-determination in its ancestral homeland which has always had a Jewish presence is Jew hatred Full stop.

  • paullafargue

    I Love Jews but along with many others, including tens of thousands of Jews, oppose the terrorist state of Israel.
    How difficult is that to understand?
    The only people who claim not to understand that are those who wish to conflate Judaism with the right wing nationalist ideology of Zionism in order to undermine genuine criticism of Israel.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      So you “love Jews” but want them to be killed by jihadists or live in a state like the one created in Gaza where Jews would be shot if they venture there… or a new state of Islamic “Palestine” that never existed before and where the Islamist leaders say that it will be a place cleansed of Jews – Abbas himself said so.

      Sorry, bud, I do not want to live under Islam anywhere – Canada, the EU, America or anywhere else. The Islamic states have proven themselves to be exactly what the Koran wants them to be – places where people’s lives are destroyed, minorities are destroyed, freedom is destroyed for everyone, prejudice against others is the rule, and a place where force by the religious leaders takes the place of both rule of law and freedom.

      Muslims live quite well in Israel, much better, in fact, than in most of the Islamic countries of the world. They know that it but still want Israel destroyed out of a devotion to a political ideology.

      The leftists tag along with the Islamist agenda because they just want anarchy to prevail in order to easily implement Communism and think that the Islamists will help expedite that path to their control through Communism. What it will do, however, is make sure that leftists live under Islamism, not the other way around.

    • DJ

      The right does not own Zionism. Perhaps you’ve heard of kibbutzim. Your argument fails because you are imposing a binary analysis and engage in hyperbole. I am sure you are of pure heart because some of your best friends are Jewish. What an empty condescending viewpoint you take. Honestly, your argument is so flimsy and easy to refute, you waste my time.

    • Joe Q.

      What does “oppose the terrorist state of Israel” mean?
      What does “end the occupation” mean?

  • allan

    Ezra is his own worst enemy except for the fools who support his every ill-conceived utterance. Ezra is but a pathetic joke to most Canadians and is sadly just an Alberta bookend to balance the equally vile offerings of the late Jim Keegstra.
    Perhaps it has something to do with the level of GH gases present in oil-dependent Alberta.

  • Yankel

    “How would you like to be dragged into a court for the views you now express and write freely?” Given that Ezra has himself sued various critics of his for defamation twice it is hypocritical to paint him as some sort of defender of free speech. The only speech he cares about is his own.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      The only speech that left wingers care about is everyone’s but their own!

  • Stephen Golden

    The Quebec case fuels my thoughts that Quebec is, in general anti semetic.