Arthur Topham, a notorious Canadian antisemite, is playing fast and loose with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada’s bill of rights.
Topham, convicted last November of willfully promoting hatred against Jews through his vile website, RadicalPress.com, is using the Charter to challenge the constitutional legality of Canadian hate crime laws.
What a cynical and disgusting exercise.
The 68-year-old British Columbia hatemonger launched his case today in a courthouse in the town of Quesnel. Topham’s challenge is partially funded by “white nationalist” Paul Fromm, the director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, a dubious outfit specializing in the dissemination of white supremacy, racism and xenophobia.
Fromm, an admirer of Canadian fascist John Ross Taylor, has been linked to neo-Nazi groups like Heritage Front and to neo-Nazis like Ernst Zundel, a German Holocaust denier who was deported to Germany some years ago after amassing a record as an anti-Jewish propagandist in Canada.
Topham is cut exactly from the same cloth as Fromm, Zundel and their ilk.
If you spend even a few minutes surfing RadicalPress.com, you’ll immediately recoil from its toxicity. It’s blatantly antisemitic and viciously anti-Israel. Phrases like the “Zionist agenda for global governance” pop up here and there, and Topham’s book or pamphlet, Israel Must Perish, is prominently advertised on the site.
In common with his fellow antisemitic lowlifes, Topham accuses “world Jewry” of all manner of crimes and misdemeanors. In Hitlerian fashion, he claims Jews started World War II and asserts that they seek global domination. He has linked Jews with the devil and thrown around figures of speech like “synagogues of Satan.” And he has called for the forced sterilization of Jews.
Revolting accusations and expressions like these have a long and infamous history and have appeared in such works as Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the czarist tract, and My Struggle, Adolf Hitler’s turgid polemic.
Topham’s counsel, Barclay Johnson, concedes his views “deviate from the mainstream.” But in an apparent attempt to legitimize them, he innocuously described Topham’s website as an exemplar of free speech and characterized his hate crime prosecution as an “Inquisition.”
In the same vein, Fromm acknowledges that, under the heading of freedom of expression, some people say “terrible things.” But Canadians shouldn’t be treated as “pathetic little children” and should be permitted to “make up their own minds,” he says.
Fromm’s argument is, at best, self-serving.
Harry Abrams, the Victoria businessman who launched the complaint against Topham and who has been trying to shut down RadicalPress.com for years, correctly argues that Topham and like-minded antisemites have been taking brazen advantage of the Charter for their own nefarious ends.
As Abrams put it recently, “To call for the sterilization of Jews, that’s incitement to genocide.” And in a reference to Nazi Germany, he observed, “It wasn’t that long ago that people tried to kill us all, so it’s not something we take lightly.”
Freedom of speech in a democratic society is a precious thing and should be protected. But when it’s exploited to create racial animosity and foster genocide, a red line has been definitely crossed.
Topham has no right whatsoever to use his website as a vehicle for demonizing Jews. He and RadicalPress.com are way beyond the pale. Justice would surely be served if Topham’s website is closed. It would set an example and place racists like Topham on notice that their views are un-Canadian and do not deserve protection, now and in the future.