Oh, No, Not US!: B’nai Brith’s David Matas Complains Red Chinese Front Groups Try to Ban Him From Speaking on Campus
“David Matas, a Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year for his work investigating abuses in China, cautions that universities may get more than they bargain for after partnering with Hanban, suggesting Chinese consular officials lean on the universities to silence speakers whom that government considers nuisances.
‘The Confucius Institutes are a problem, of course, because of the money. The money becomes a dependency and the dependency is used for leverage in trying to get what [China] wants,’ he says.
Mr. Matas says that when he and co-author [and former Liberal, then Conservative, MP] David Kilgour travel for speaking engagements, ‘more or less wherever we go,. The[Red] Chinese government tries to shut us up in various ways.’ He suspects universities with Confucius Institutes are especially susceptible to pressure. ‘In some places where we’ve gone. We’ve had last minute cancellations at universities where they have Confucius Institutes … with no plausible explanation, he says.” (National Post, July 10, 2010)
Shucks, David, welcome to the world of minority censorship groups. You ought to know all about it: you’re long-time senior legal counsel for the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith. Your group are no slouches at pressuring institutions to concel speakers, shut down meetings, fiercely support Internet censorhip intervening in the Warman v. Lemire case stoutly defending Internet censorship, and get people fired for their political views. (I know, six years of pressure from your group and the Canadian Jewish Congress cost me my job after 24 years as an English instructor in 1997.)
Here’s a laugh. Just this Spring you were campaigning to ban an anti-Zionist event at McGill University. “Human rights lawyer David Matas gave a speech at the Moot Court on Friday, arguing that Israeli Apartheid Week should be banned from university campuses. Matas is the senior legal counsel for B'nai Brith Canada, and was recently awarded the Order of Canada for his work in human rights, immigration, and refugee law. His lecture, entitled <Free Speech, Hate Speech, and the New Anti-Semitism,> was co-sponsored by the Jewish Law Students' Association and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research's Student Israel-Advocacy Program. …
Matas argued that Israeli Apartheid Week demonizes Israel and the Jewish people, and is therefore a form of anti-Semitism. He called the comparison of Israel to Apartheid South Africa ‘ludicrous,’ and suggested that such rhetoric qualifies as hate speech. Matas also repeatedly compared current criticisms of Israel to past anti-Semitic myths.|” (The McGill Tribune, April 7, 2010)
I’m a bit puzzled by this tag “human rights” lawyer in press descriptions of you. You and B’nai Brith can only be seen as human rights supporters if human rights does not mean freedom of expression.
Back to the China issue. I agree with Matas that Red China has an atrocious human rights record. It, like Israel, is deeply involved in espionage and subversion abroad and, yes, the Red Chinese and their useful idiots are wrong for trying to pressure universities not to allow talks by Matas on human rights outrages in China.
Matas and Kilgour in 2009 brought out a book entitled Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for their organs. A press release for a June 2, 2010 book launch at the Vancouver Public Library noted:
“’It's important for more attention to be paid to this issue so that every person is aware that the communist regime in China is engaged in this type of ghoulish crime.’ - U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher
“David Matas, senior legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada and a member of the Order of Canada, and former Canadian cabinet minister and crown prosecutor David Kilgour were nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for their intensive investigation over a four-year period into the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Their work had culminated into Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs, which was published in late 2009.
Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline consisting of moral teachings, a meditation, and four gentle exercises. At the core of Falun Gong are the values of truth, compassion, and forbearance. However, it has been banned in China since 1999 even though it has proven to benefit both the physical and mental health.
‘I’m involved in this as an activist who speaks up for human rights issues,” said Matas. According to Matas, it is the doctors and hospitals in China conducting these organ harvestings, noting that the government is not innocent in the matter. “In China, without government sanctioning, nothing can happen,” he said. “The solution is for this to stop. People must campaign against it publicly and speak on the issue, then getting extra territorial legislation on organ transplanting.’”
Here’s the kicker: Just like your Red Chinese opponents, you and B’nai Brith are huge fans of Internet censorship. As far back as 1997, you delivered a blistering talk entitled “Countering Hate Speech on the Internet.” You said: “Hate speech on the internet cannot be ignored. It represents a threat to its targets that needs to be combatted. How it should be combatted requires sensitivity to the medium that is used. … An international convention requiring states to ban hate speech on the internet should not be too hard to achieve, since it would be only a specific application of an already accepted international standard. The Government of Canada has suggested such a convention. The Honourable Herb Gray, when he was Solicitor General, said: ‘One solution (to hate speech on the internet) might involve some type of international convention or agreement where countries would come together to control the use of the internet.Because hate speech on the internet is a global problem, it is not only necessary but fitting that the solution be global in scope.’” The tyrants in Peking entirely endorse Internet censorship to silence dissidents.
Paul Fromm, Director,
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR FREE EXPRESSION,
P.O. Box 332,
Rexdale, ON. , M9W 5L3