Source: Clayton DeMaine

At a free speech event hosted by Rebel News in Toronto, journalist Glenn Greenwald challenged a Canadian audience to defend the free speech of those whose views they most oppose.

The Rumble Live event promoted Rumble’s exclusive shows, including Donald Trump Jr.’s “Triggered” and Greenwald’s own “System Update.” Speakers focused heavily on the Trudeau government’s Bill C-63 and its potentially disastrous impact on free speech in Canada.

“I just want to urge you to realize that any anti-establishment view, whether on the right or the left, is considered dangerous to establishment power,” Greenwald said. “And I know probably most of the people in this room are supportive of the Israeli cause and look at these pro-Palestinian protesters as menaces, as people who are expressing hateful ideas.“

Greenwald noted that many on the left view those in attendance similarly. 

“That’s how liberals saw the trucker protest. ‘Oh, these people are impeding our streets. They’re breaking the law. Of course, they need to be shut down. They’re hateful. They’re endangering the public health,’” Greenwald said. “For people on the left, Those are right-wing fanatics. They’re racist. They’re spreading hatred against minority groups who are vulnerable. We can’t allow that.”

He warned of the temptation to use the same tactics when it’s others who are using their freedom of speech in ways that can be viewed as hateful, in particular, the anti-Israel protesters.

“I think it’s extremely important that if we’re to have credibility in this cause that I believe supersedes all other causes. Because if we don’t have free speech, we have nothing,” he said. “The crucial thing is to unite on principle and defend the right of human beings of citizens of Western societies to express their views no matter what they are, without having bureaucrats and commissions and judges and presidents tell us that our opinions for some reason are illegal or criminal, or can even subject us to prison.”

Greenwald said Bill C-63 could be used to imprison people for supporting either side of the Israel-Hamas war if the law was applied equally. There’s a part of the bill which would give life sentences to those who advocate or promote genocide.

In his speech, he pointed out that some view support for Israel’s war in Gaza as promoting genocide, while others view calls to destroy Israel as advocating for genocide. He thinks the right to speech on either side should be protected.

Canadian lawyer and livestreamer David Freiheit, better known as Viva Frei, was a guest speaker at the event. He explained how he believes some of the protesters crossed a line.

“To the extent that these protests remain peaceful, non-harassing, and allow students to get the education they paid for, they’re fine,” Freiheit told True North. “When it becomes outright harassment refusing to allow Jewish students to access the campus, we’re into something totally different.”

He said that given the way the media “misrepresented” the Ottawa protest, he is hesitant to paint all of the protesters with the same brush based on video clips going around social media which can be interpreted as antisemitism.

“The other issue is demanding negotiation for international affairs, which is far different than demanding discussion for domestic policy,” he said. “I also see a bit of hypocrisy in that politicians have been discoursing a lot more with these students than they ever did with the truckers.”

Salman Sima, a survivor of torture at the hands of the Iranian government, was also in attendance.

“As a former political prisoner in Iran under the Sharia law, I know the value of free speech,” he said, affirming the importance of defending speech as a human right.

Sima is a frequent counter-protester of pro-Palestine demonstrations, he thinks some of the anti-Israel protesters have crossed the line beyond free speech as well.

“It has nothing to do with free speech, chanting for globalizing Intifada chanting in favor of genocide and clearly they said they stand with Hamas, Hamas is a designated terrorist organization,” Sima said. “(If) you defend terrorism, you should be in jail. You must be accountable for defending terrorism and these (protests) on campuses. These are not peaceful. These are not free speech.”