close
close

Ezra Levant responds to Ben Wexler’s reaction to the video billboard Rebel News drove around Toronto

Ezra Levant responds to Ben Wexler’s reaction to the video billboard Rebel News drove around Toronto
Ezra Levant responds to Ben Wexler’s reaction to the video billboard Rebel News drove around Toronto

Apparently there isn’t enough anti-Semitism in the world right now, so The Canadian Jewish News thought it would give a platform to a notorious Israel-basher. (“Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Ben Wexler Looks at a Complicated Relationship,” June 27.)

Wexler is usually relegated to writing pseudo-intellectual essays for obscure media outlets like McGill University’s student newspaper. They are always happy to publish self-hating Jews condemning Israel. In a recent McGill Daily In an article that likely later circulated around the camp at the school, Wexler wrote that Israel’s war against Hamas was “one of the most brutal and indiscriminate urban military campaigns in recent history.” He cited Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry as his source. Wexler also claimed that Israel was starving Gaza and “ethnic cleansing” the West Bank. After the blood libel, Wexler went on to offer his advice to McGill students on how best to launch a campaign to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel (BDS).

Disgusting.

It was such an egregious attack that the pro-Israel fact-checkers at Honest Reporting Canada felt compelled to respond.

Why would The CJN give Wexler a platform after that fiasco? Was the Neturei Karta not available?

Wexler’s latest smear campaign targets me and the pro-Israel news organization I run called Rebel News. Wexler is furious that our company owns a video billboard truck that drives around Toronto airing anti-Hamas ads.

We do indeed. But the very first sentence accused me of committing a crime:

“A truck recently drove around Toronto, stoking fear and hatred against Muslims. ‘Is this Yemen? Is this Syria? Is this Iraq?’ reads the video billboard on the side of the vehicle, interspersed with videos of Muslims praying. ‘Wake up Canada. You are under siege.’

Wexler then claims that “Islamophobic rhetoric of this kind has led to deadly violence.”

Section 319(1) of the Canadian Criminal Code states that “public incitement to hatred” is punishable by up to two years in prison. Given that Wexler is accusing Israel of war crimes, it doesn’t surprise me that he’s accusing me of a crime.

In fact, condemning Hamas is not illegal. Wexler may hold Hamas in high regard — he uses them as a reliable source for his journalism — but they are in fact a criminal, terrorist organization that murders Jews and many Muslims as well.

It is not hate speech to condemn Hamas and its followers. It is my duty and my right as a journalist and citizen.

If Wexler had contacted me, instead of blocking me on social media, I would have corrected some of his facts. The video in question was not just “Muslims praying,” as he claims. It was a gathering of pro-Hamas extremists, chanting anti-Semitic slogans and carrying anti-Semitic placards, who had shut down downtown Toronto, including Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall and several downtown streets, all without a permit.

Those weekly pro-Hamas hate marches are part of a nine-month anti-Semitic crime wave in Toronto. Remarkably, Wexler’s column has nothing to say about it. Quite the opposite: He says there has been “a dramatic increase in Islamophobic violence since October 7” and that the Rebel News billboard truck “is a violation of our responsibility to our Muslim neighbors.”

No, it isn’t. And if you think that criticizing Hamas is criticizing your Muslim neighbor, then maybe you’re the intolerant one.

There is enough Jew-hatred in Canada, The CJN doesn’t need to be involved in it. Wexler should be writing for a publisher that is more suited to him.

Like Al Jazeera.

Ezra Levant is the founder and owner of Rebel News and host of The Ezra Levant Show.