SFSC: CPCCA report threatens Canadian’s democratic rights, free speech

The report issued last week by an unofficial coalition of parliamentarians is a threat to the  democratic rights of Canadians as the group makes recommendations to protect Israel from international criticism.

For Immediate Release: July 17, 2011

The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA), a pro-Israel lobby group posing as an official creation of Parliament, has been intent since its founding in 2009 to identify a frightening increase in antisemitism that would then justify measures to limit free speech and criminalize criticism of Israel.

Through its highly selective choice of witnesses, its distorted reporting of evidence, its contempt for alternative points of view held by reputable academics and community organizations, the CPCCA has produced recommendations that are a concoction of pretense and deception.

“It’s a radical and frightening set of recommendations,” said Anne Roberts, co-chair of the Seriously Free Speech Committee, a group formed to encourage open debate around the issues of Israel and Palestine.  “The CPCCA is using the false threat of a growing wave of antisemitism to justify new measures intended to eliminate criticism of the state of Israel.”

If implemented by the Harper government, the recommendations would stifle free speech, especially on college and university campuses, eliminate funding for established humanitarian organizations, require police to be trained by a pro-Israel lobby group (Simon Weisenthal Center) in how to identify “antisemitism,” tighten control of immigrants and visitors to Canada, and increase government regulation of the internet.

“This can only be seen as a new McCarthyism,” said Roberts.  “It’s outrageous to say that legitimate political expression against Israel’s actions, such as Israeli Apartheid Week, is antisemitic.  And, it’s equally outrageous to call on politicians to use their political clout to try to intimidate Israel’s critics.”

The key tool the CPCCA proposes to use is an imprecise, expandable, and easily manipulable redefinition of “antisemitism.”  The end result would see Canadians to living in the world of Alice in Wonderland, under the rule of the tyrannical Queen of Hearts, where “antisemitism” is whatever the Red Queen says it is.

Given the Harper government’s staunch support of Israel, the threat is real that many of these recommendations could be passed into law.   The Seriously Free Speech Committee is preparing a detailed critique of the CPCCA report expected to be issued in the fall.

To read the full report: http://www.cpcca.ca/CPCCA_Final_Report_English.pdf

For more information, contact Anne Roberts, Co-chair, Seriously Free Speech Committee, info@seriouslyfreespeech.ca

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