Today's discussion:

Pro-Hamas demonstrations may be despicable, but they are still legal—And that’s a good thing

Acknowledging the rights of Hamas sympathizers to gather and protest does not mean we should lessen our vigilance in denouncing and tracking them. Quite the contrary.

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Comments (21)

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Jon Snipper

A thoughtful, well reasoned and ultimately persuasive piece in a time when vengeful emotions and thoughts come naturally to any normal, decent human being. Obviously these demonstrators don’t qualify and if they aren’t Canadian citizens, they should not be allowed to become so. Would that a person with the writer’s kind of control and thoughtfulness were in charge of the Israeli response, now clearly eroding with its attacks on civilian centres and closing the Egyptian escape hatch, whatever high moral ground in the court of public opinion Israel had regained after so much has been lost. However, signs saying “Death to Jews” seem to me to qualify as hate speech and those carrying them should be prosecuted and if they are immigrants, deported if the law so permits. Our country should not become a duplicate of the battle grounds in the Middle East.

11th October 2023 at 7:34 am
Sean Speer

We are lucky to have Joanna Baron as a fearless and thoughtful contributor to The Hub. Her article takes on a difficult topic and in my view makes a persuasive case that we ought to be careful about how we think of the role of law versus the role of social censure to address vile ideas and speech.

11th October 2023 at 10:44 am
richard webber

am in complete agreement with your post. Free speech is one thing but to celebrate the butchering of innocent civilians is beyond the pale. We have to tread lightly in this matter of free speech otherwise we end up on a slippery slope that could possibly have people carrying FU Trudeau flags arrested for hate speech. I find the flags offensive but still despise our current government.

11th October 2023 at 4:17 pm
Jacob Birch

I am not sure how the author can say the paraders this weekend were “celebrating one of the most unambiguous acts of human cruelty in history” while being “skeptical” that they are worthy of charging with “counselling terrorist acts,” a crime under s. 83(01) of the Criminal Code.

If the October 7th Massacre is really the former than those on the streets shouting ‘Allahu Akhar’ in celebration must at least be charged with the latter.

If shouting “Free Palestine” in the context of Hamas’ stated desire to “obliterate” Israel and in the wake of 40 babies killed (most beheaded) in Kfar Aza doesn’t reach the threshold of “counselling terrorist acts” in a Canadian court then I am not sure what ever will. Better for us to abandon the figment of a legal remedy against Hamas here in Canada and pursue protecting ourselves and our society by other means.

But let’s see if our police and judges will defend Canadian law and society while they still can. If not, then perhaps we’ll – like so many other historically Christian and civilized states – allow our magnanimity to be used against us to our own ending.

11th October 2023 at 12:49 pm
Shirley blair

A good place to start clamping down on this pernicious group is at the universities where they flourish. Starve them of funding!

11th October 2023 at 7:12 am
Gordon Benoit

People from the trucker’s convoy were charged for standing up for their freedom. These Hamas supporters are standing up for terrorism, violence, murder, rape, genocide and the beheading of babies and some think its ok.

11th October 2023 at 2:14 pm
Dan Brown

The truckers convoy didn’t stand up for anything and this continued reference of their actions as anything but a silly temper tantrum is ridiculous.
By the way, the leaders of that event did actually advocate the overthrow of the government and an early leader did advocate violence against Trudeau.
Let it go. It was a shameful and disgraceful demonstration of Canadian selfishness and entitlement

11th October 2023 at 2:26 pm
Dan Brown

Yup. An immigrant to Canada with a Death to Jews sign should be deported immediately.

11th October 2023 at 2:22 pm
Clare T M Bonnell

No one can deny the suffering that has been the lot of displaced Palestinians for decades, or the right of Jews to have a homeland after centuries of being driven out of countries where they had settled. The ISIS-like killings by Hamas riveted the attention of the media therefore I am not surprised that Palestinians here in Canada (at least I assume they are) have made noise to make the root of the conflict apparent to all. Are they actually lauding the killings or are they demanding a solution to this open wound?

11th October 2023 at 2:13 pm
Austin Brown

The right to free speech is very important and dare not to be suppressed or canceled just because someone else doesn’t like what you are expressing.

11th October 2023 at 9:12 am
Richard Courtemanche

The first priority for these demonstrators should be denouncing the barbarity of cowardly Hamas, but they don’t; they celebrate.

Consequently, Trudeau should remove all woke censorship, liberate the mainstream media and reinstate all freedom of expression.

11th October 2023 at 9:12 am
Rob Tyrrell

Can you elaborate on what “woke censorship” is precisely?
Then, perhaps a couple of sentences on how PM Trudeau could do each of these three things, assuming that they actually describe the current state of affairs? (side note, they don’t IMO)

11th October 2023 at 9:37 am
Michael F

Conflating support for peace and a two state solution with support for Hamas is intellectual dishonesty.

11th October 2023 at 1:42 pm
Dan Brown

As despicable as acts of terrorism are, can anyone be surprised? Really? Palestine is not a nation. Hamas is not a government. And these terrorists are not an army.
I once read that violence is the action of the unheard. And an armed rabble cannot openly confront an army.
I think Israel will always be in this state as long as a Palestine remains a dream. Whatever else is true, there is more than anti-Semitism at play; more than hate: there is an unwavering inability to co-exist.
End that by undoing the mess of 1947, grant the Palestinians a state.
At least then a solid border and a war can end what terrorism cannot.
As terrible as it is, Israel is a nation and is held to a higher standard of behaviour and can’t simply retaliate against what appears to be their own people, segregated as they are.
Set them free or send them packing. The choice is Israel’s. Either way, be done with it.

11th October 2023 at 1:18 pm
Michael F

This spasm of terrible violence is blowback for the policies of Netanyahu over the past decade or more. People on the ground on both sides want peace, it’s politics, religion and ideology that is preventing a solution.

11th October 2023 at 1:39 pm
Paul M. Cook

I agree that anyone in what could be considered a position of power or influence should be publicly identified if they supported Hamas.I attended our local Heritage commitee meeting yesterday and we had quite a discussion about storyboards that we are planning for a walking trail.Some of the boards display German P.O.W. officers while they were here during W.W 2.Some of the members felt that the pictures could be offensive to some people.I wonder what you would of this?Is it an attempt to whitewash our history?

11th October 2023 at 10:38 am

I agree with the author as freedom of expression, even that which is vile, is an important freedom. Are there any demonstrations supporting legitimate Palestinian rights while expressing outrage against Hamas and its outrageous immoral acts?

11th October 2023 at 9:55 am
Greg Bedard

I think you you hit the nail on the head, I never support terrorists but I fully support Palestinian stand for independence and freedon from the apartheid and colonization practices of the Israelis government. I also disagree with what is looking like Israelis government using this situation as an excuse to attempt genocide on the Palestinian civilians who have nothing to do with Hamas, but that seems to make me a terrorist by PM Trudeaus standards. I guess it’s illegal to have a balance view in canada and surprised I am no even from the middle east.

11th October 2023 at 1:54 pm
Adrian van den Enden

that position is easier to accept if the governments at all levels would treat various rights groups equitably. There is also the issue of “hate speech”, that odious catch-all. Apparently that too is off the table for Muslims

11th October 2023 at 8:28 am

Praise to the Hub for saying what no politician dare say at this moment. I do not celebrate a massacre but like it or not, people living in Canada have the right to assemble and free speech, whether I like what they say or not. Canadians do not have the right to use free speech to spread lies and rumors, or cause harm to others but they do have the right to say what they think and march for that cause. Not all those involved in the demonstrations were celebrating violence, so to tar everyone with the same brush does nothing to move towards a solution to the crisis.

11th October 2023 at 8:22 am
Rob Tyrrell

Canadians DO have the right to use free speech to spread lies and rumors as long as they don’t venture into legally defined types such as hate and libel, no?

11th October 2023 at 8:36 am