Cite: Abu-Laban and Bakan, Canada, the Israel/Palestine Conflict, and the Surveillance of Public Discourse

Abu-Laban, Yasmeen & Abigail B. Bakan. “After 9/11: Canada, the Israel/Palestine Conflict, and the Surveillance of Public Discourse.”  Canadian Journal of Law and Society 27.3 (2012): 319-339.





Since September 11, 2001, a growing body of scholarship has traced the intensification of surveillance in countries of the industrialized West. However, less attention has been paid to analyzing the impact of surveillance of discourse, particularly public discourse normally considered a hallmark of liberal democratic freedoms of speech and association. In this article we consider the case of Canadian public discourse and illustrate how surveillance has intensified in relation to freedom of expression regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict. Drawing on accounts from media, government, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), we highlight notable moments in the Canadian state’s deepening ties with Israel, tracing direct intervention in public discourse concerning the Israel/Palestine conflict. The regulation of public discourse on the part of state and non-state actors in Canada is aimed to influence universities, civil society events, access to meetings and events with international speakers, and even the expressions of NGOs abroad. In addition, the regulation of public discourse has impacted the securitization of borders, immigration, and surveillance in light of an ascribed "terrorist threat." This has resulted in a new and distinct pattern of surveillance—or watching—of words, loyalty, and organizations, according to their presumed political views concerning the Israel/Palestine conflict.

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