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

Condemning Hamas is not illegal. Wexler may hold Hamas in high esteem—he uses them as a reliable source for his journalism—but they’re actually a criminal, terrorist organization that kills Jews and many Muslims, too.

Ezra Levant responds to Ben Wexler’s reaction to the video billboard Rebel News drove around Toronto
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This story originally appeared in The Canadian Jewish News on July 9, 2024

Apparently there’s not enough antisemitism in the world right now, so The Canadian Jewish News thought it would give a platform to a notorious Israel-basher. (“Antisemitism and Islamophobia: Ben Wexler considers a complicated relationship”, June 27.)

Wexler is usually relegated to writing pseudo-intellectual essays for obscure outlets like the student newspaper at McGill University. They’re always happy to publish self-hating Jews denouncing Israel.

In one recent McGill Daily article that was probably later passed around the encampment at the school, Wexler wrote that Israel’s war against Hamas is “one of the most brutal and indiscriminate urban military campaigns in recent history.” He cited the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry as his source.

Wexler also claimed Israel is starving Gaza and committing “ethnic cleansing” in the West Bank. After those blood libels, Wexler then gave his advice to McGill students on the best way to launch a campaign to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel.

Gross.

It was such a vile attack that the pro-Israel fact-checkers at Honest Reporting Canada felt compelled to reply.

After that fiasco, why would The CJN give Wexler a platform? Were the Neturei Karta unavailable?

Wexler’s latest smear centres on 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 broadcasting anti-Hamas ads. 

Indeed we do. But the very first sentence accused me of committing a crime:

“A truck was recently circulating around Toronto, inciting 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 Criminal Code of Canada says “public incitement of hatred” is punishable by up to two years in prison. Given that Wexler accuses Israel of war crimes, I’m not surprised that he would accuse me of a crime, either.

In fact, condemning Hamas is not illegal. Wexler may hold Hamas in high esteem—he uses them as a reliable source for his journalism—but they’re actually a criminal, terrorist organization that kills Jews and many Muslims, too.

It’s not hate speech to condemn Hamas and their supporters. It’s my duty and my right as a journalist and a citizen.

If Wexler had reached out to me—instead of blocking me on social media—I would have corrected some of his facts. The video in question was not simply “Muslims praying” as he claims.

It was a rally of pro-Hamas extremists, chanting antisemitic slogans and carrying antisemitic placards, who had blocked off the city centre in Toronto, including the Nathan Phillips Square plaza outside City Hall and several downtown streets, all without a permit.

Those weekly pro-Hamas hate marches are part of a nine-month antisemitic crime wave in Toronto. Remarkably, Wexler’s column doesn’t have a word to say about that.

The opposite: he says there’s been “a dramatic rise in Islamophobic violence since Oct. 7” and that the Rebel News billboard truck is “a violation of our responsibility to our Muslim neighbours”.

No it’s not. And if you think criticizing Hamas is criticizing your Muslim neighbour, you just might be the bigoted one.

There’s enough Jew-hatred in Canada right now, The CJN doesn’t need to be part of it. Wexler should write for a publisher that’s a better fit.

Like Al Jazeera.

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