Councillor calls for cancellation of author Max Blumenthal's scheduled appearance because of his 'anti-Israel' writings

News Feb 24, 2016 by David Nickle Beach Mirror

Councillor James Pasternak is calling for the cancellation of a Toronto Reference Library appearance tonight by controversial author and journalist Max Blumenthal  because of his anti-Israel writings.

Pasternak issued a news release on Feb. 24, just hours before Blumenthal was to take the stage with Toronto Star journalist Olivia Ward to talk about challenges in reporting from conflict zones, saying he shouldn’t be allowed to speak on city property.

"While freedom of expression is a crucial Canadian value, targeting a group through demonization has no place in a City of Toronto building,” said Pasternak in his news release. “Mr. Blumenthal has been widely criticized for his hateful comments and even had his worked praised by white supremacists. Speakers like this do not reflect our values of respect and tolerance."

The event is being sponsored by PEN Canada and presented as a part of Freedom To Read Week celebrations at the library. PEN Canada executive director Tasleem Thawar said the event will go ahead, with 400 tickets already claimed in the 500-seat auditorium.

“He’s a controversial author, there’s no doubt about it,” she said. “Part of what makes it very interesting is the controversy around his work. He’s written two books about Israel and before that a book about the Republican Party. He doesn’t pretend to be unbiased – his books are really about the extremist point of view.”

York Centre Councillor Pasternak suggested Blumenthal’s “anti-Israel obsession” could violate Toronto’s anti-discrimination policy.

“This anti-Israel obsession is driven by ignorance and a lack of understanding of the politics on the ground,” said Pasternak. “I am asking that the Toronto Public Library take a principled stand and cancel this speech.”

Thawar said  the discussion format means Blumenthal won’t be making a speech, but rather participating in a discussion.

“Even if you disagree with his views, certainly the approach should never be to say let’s cancel,” said Thawar.

Councillor calls for cancellation of author Max Blumenthal's scheduled appearance because of his 'anti-Israel' writings

PEN Canada, who is sponsoring event, says Blumenthal takes an extremist point of view

News Feb 24, 2016 by David Nickle Beach Mirror

Councillor James Pasternak is calling for the cancellation of a Toronto Reference Library appearance tonight by controversial author and journalist Max Blumenthal  because of his anti-Israel writings.

Pasternak issued a news release on Feb. 24, just hours before Blumenthal was to take the stage with Toronto Star journalist Olivia Ward to talk about challenges in reporting from conflict zones, saying he shouldn’t be allowed to speak on city property.

"While freedom of expression is a crucial Canadian value, targeting a group through demonization has no place in a City of Toronto building,” said Pasternak in his news release. “Mr. Blumenthal has been widely criticized for his hateful comments and even had his worked praised by white supremacists. Speakers like this do not reflect our values of respect and tolerance."

The event is being sponsored by PEN Canada and presented as a part of Freedom To Read Week celebrations at the library. PEN Canada executive director Tasleem Thawar said the event will go ahead, with 400 tickets already claimed in the 500-seat auditorium.

“He’s a controversial author, there’s no doubt about it,” she said. “Part of what makes it very interesting is the controversy around his work. He’s written two books about Israel and before that a book about the Republican Party. He doesn’t pretend to be unbiased – his books are really about the extremist point of view.”

York Centre Councillor Pasternak suggested Blumenthal’s “anti-Israel obsession” could violate Toronto’s anti-discrimination policy.

“This anti-Israel obsession is driven by ignorance and a lack of understanding of the politics on the ground,” said Pasternak. “I am asking that the Toronto Public Library take a principled stand and cancel this speech.”

Thawar said  the discussion format means Blumenthal won’t be making a speech, but rather participating in a discussion.

“Even if you disagree with his views, certainly the approach should never be to say let’s cancel,” said Thawar.

Councillor calls for cancellation of author Max Blumenthal's scheduled appearance because of his 'anti-Israel' writings

PEN Canada, who is sponsoring event, says Blumenthal takes an extremist point of view

News Feb 24, 2016 by David Nickle Beach Mirror

Councillor James Pasternak is calling for the cancellation of a Toronto Reference Library appearance tonight by controversial author and journalist Max Blumenthal  because of his anti-Israel writings.

Pasternak issued a news release on Feb. 24, just hours before Blumenthal was to take the stage with Toronto Star journalist Olivia Ward to talk about challenges in reporting from conflict zones, saying he shouldn’t be allowed to speak on city property.

"While freedom of expression is a crucial Canadian value, targeting a group through demonization has no place in a City of Toronto building,” said Pasternak in his news release. “Mr. Blumenthal has been widely criticized for his hateful comments and even had his worked praised by white supremacists. Speakers like this do not reflect our values of respect and tolerance."

The event is being sponsored by PEN Canada and presented as a part of Freedom To Read Week celebrations at the library. PEN Canada executive director Tasleem Thawar said the event will go ahead, with 400 tickets already claimed in the 500-seat auditorium.

“He’s a controversial author, there’s no doubt about it,” she said. “Part of what makes it very interesting is the controversy around his work. He’s written two books about Israel and before that a book about the Republican Party. He doesn’t pretend to be unbiased – his books are really about the extremist point of view.”

York Centre Councillor Pasternak suggested Blumenthal’s “anti-Israel obsession” could violate Toronto’s anti-discrimination policy.

“This anti-Israel obsession is driven by ignorance and a lack of understanding of the politics on the ground,” said Pasternak. “I am asking that the Toronto Public Library take a principled stand and cancel this speech.”

Thawar said  the discussion format means Blumenthal won’t be making a speech, but rather participating in a discussion.

“Even if you disagree with his views, certainly the approach should never be to say let’s cancel,” said Thawar.