Keeping up the good fight against Israel Apartheid Week

By Ted Belman

Recently I reported that SPME is Taking on Israel Apartheid Week. I also wrote to the U of Toronto.

Judith Wolfson, Vice President, University Relations, replied

    The events to which you referred are not sponsored, organized or endorsed by the University of Toronto. They are being held on our campuses by student organizers, and do not reflect any political position of the University itself. We recognize that these events and their publicity are upsetting to many people; however, we also recognize that universities have a unique role to provide a safe venue for highly charged discourse. Emphasis added.

To which I responded,

    Unbelievable. Why should you provide a safe haven for such “highly charged” discourse. How about describing it as “incitement to hatred”.

Bill Narvey said it much better when he wrote to the Jewish establishment trying to build a fire under their ….. . I sent it on to the university.

    I have over the last several years written to your various organizations about issues of concern with our Canadian Jewish community.

    In the last two weeks, I have critically written about the failures of Hillel and Jewish leadership from which Hillel takes its lead, both as regards their one dimensional shared values and putting Israel in a positive light approach to pro-Israel/Jewish advocacy on campus and in failing to devise new and exciting programs that will gain the support of a great many Jewish students to become part of and participate in Hillel thus making Hillel an important and strong voice for Jewish students on campus.

    My recent letter, like my previous letters on different issues, have all been ignored and not even acknowledged.

    I will try this once again.

    This time I am writing to you about another matter which you Jewish leaders are all up in arms about, but have been and still are obviously powerless to do anything about.

    The University of Toronto 4 years ago agreed to provide its campus facilities to host Israel Apartheid Week.

    Representatives of all the major Jewish organizations at the time, registered their concerns with the University of Toronto.

    Those concerns were met by the U of T administration rejecting those appeals to stop the IAW from going forward with their program by claiming the IAW program was in keeping with the University’s staunch devotion to principles of freedom of speech.

    That first IAW went ahead and as expected it was an Israel hate fest, that descended to pure anti-Semitism in a number of instances. Jewish leaders spoke out again in the aftermath of that first IAW event at the University of Toronto.

    Since then, the IAW initiative by Arab Students‚ Collective, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) has not only been an annual feature event at the U of T these past 4 years, it has spread to York and Ryerson universities as well as to university campuses in the U.S., Europe and South Africa.

    Jewish Newspapers have reported each year, including recent editions about how Jewish leaders from the various organizations I am writing to, have appealed to the Universities of Toronto, York and Ryerson to put a stop to what has become a mini-Durban anti-Semitic annual conference on racism.

    Each of these appeals have been turned aside with various freedom of speech arguments that are forthcoming from the administrations of these universities.

    The bottom line is that the indisputable success of this anti-Israel and anti-Jewish IAW initiative at our universities, points to the concurrent failure of our Jewish leadership to stop it.

    The result is that anti-Israel propaganda and antisemitic opinions have become acceptable and legitimate points of view on our campuses.

    For these universities, how they perceive and implement their principles of freedom of speech, has led to universities being far more sensitive to the feelings and views of their students who harbor anti-Israel/anti-Semitic views then to their Jewish students who are consequently being muzzled or denied their own rights of freedom of speech on campus because they have become too intimidated and fearful to effectively speak out.

    Complaining to universities and appealing to their sense of balance, fairness, sensitivity to their Jewish students feelings and tolerance for pro-Israel/Jewish views, have not succeeded to move these various university administrations’ from their sense of what freedom of speech is all about.

    Instead of just complaining, Hillel, with the unified support of Jewish leadership should be organizing their own event week at universities, which would serve to attack and undermine the views of Israel/Jew haters and serve to promote pro-Israel views.

    David Horowitz in the States managed to get Islamo-fascist Awareness Week held on various campuses. That should be an inspiration to our Jewish leadership to organize a similar event.

    A university event titled for example, Palestinian Islamo-Fascim Awareness week could have speakers attend who would speak on topics such as Palestinians/Arabs – Nazi successors, The Palestinian Culture of Jew Hatred, The Claimed Right of Return – The Palestinian Big Lie, How The West and the Palestinians Squander Western Welfare, Hamas and Fatah, Two Sides of the Same Islamo-fascist Coin, The Palestinians – One Front in the West’s War with Islamo-fascists, and the like.

    I expect university administrations would be very nervous and loathe to allow such an event on their campuses and would find both the event name and the topics for discussion, very provocative.

    Provocative they would be, but there is overwhelming evidence to support the truth behind each of these topics, unlike the lies and half truths upon which pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel propaganda is based.

    Confronted with such an initiative by Hillel, with the unified backing of our Jewish leaders, our universities’ sincerity in their devotion to cherished principles of freedom of speech will thus be put to the test.

    If the universities say yes, great.

    If they say no, Jewish leadership could use that “no” to publically whip and pillory the universities for their dishonesty when it comes to declaring themselves a bastion of our nation’s principles of freedom of speech.

    It would also provide the impetus to publically examine and debate the reasons why our universities have failed to apply the principles of freedom of speech in a balanced even handed manner.

    It is a pretty safe bet that one of those reasons is that universities do have something very real to fear from those students who hold strong pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views, if the universities fail or refuse to accord sensitivity for their feelings and defer to their demands for campus forums to disseminate their views and incite students with their hatreds.

    These same universities have little if anything to fear from Jew students by failing to accord the same regard for the feelings and sensitivities of Jewish students and by refusing appeals on behalf of Jewish students and indeed the Jewish community to put a stop to these IAW and similar Jew hatefests on campus.

    What I propose of course requires your various Jewish leadership factions to come together on this and adopt a unity of purpose, both as to strategy and goals.

    Is such unity of purpose possible?

    You tell me.

Gary Gerofsy who also posts here, advised of success at McMaster U. in Hamilton Onatario.

He received this reply from Ilene Busch-Vishniac (Provost of McMaster University in Hamilton, ON)

    Dear Mr. Gerofsky,

    I learned of just this morning of the table occupied by a student group, named Muslims for Peace and Justice, who widely displayed Israel Apartheid Week literature. We regret this incident greatly and never condone hate-mongering in any form. We have met with a representative of he student group, explained to them that their banner will not be permitted, and told them in no uncertain terms that their activities must show respect and tolerance for everyone or we will take further actions.

    I thank you for voicing your concern and agree that this is an ugly incident. Hateful behaviour has not place in our community.

Great work guys.

February 11, 2008 | 12 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. In blood and fire Judea fell!
    In blood and fire Judea will arise
    God is dead – Nietzsche
    Nietzsche is dead – God

    Senior Hizbullah Terrorist Killed; Israel Blamed

    ( A car bomb exploded in Damascus late Tuesday night and killed one of the most senior Hizbullah terrorist commanders in Lebanon. He is considered to be the mastermind behind Hizbullah terrorist attacks and is on the American government’s wanted list for being behind the attack on an American military base, killing more than 200 people.

    Hizbullah has accused Israel of carrying out the attack. The organization is heavily armed and supported by Syria and Iran and is a large minority in the Lebanese government


  2. In blood and fire Judea fell!
    In blood and fire Judea will arise

    Passive Defense
    by David Raziel
    Commander in Chief of the Irgun from 1937-1941

    “If the objective of the war is to break the will of the enemy; we clearly cannot be content with defensive action. Such a method of defense, which enables the enemy to attack as he sees fit and to retreat at will, to reorganize and to attack again – such defense is known as passive defense‚ and ends in defeat and ruin; he who does not wish to be defeated must attack

    This is true in civil conflicts as well!

  3. Bill Narvey ,

    Yamit, a pussy with a big mouth is still a pussy.

    When I was a kid of about 13 in the neighborhood where I grew up ea. ethnic group , Italians, Jews, blacks had more or less their own neighborhoods and sometimes gangs would invade the territory of the other and sometimes fights would ensue. One day an old Jewish Orthodox man on is way to or home from Shul was being molested and tormented by part of neighboring gang. being a very young kid at the time I rand to a friends house who was a few years older than me and together we approached the kids who were bothering the old Jew. I didn’t even know who he was (the old Jew) I had a very thick broom stick as a weapon and my friend had a buggy whip. We cornered the group and commence to beat the C… out of them. They got the message and we were left alone for quite sometime from this particular group. years later when the Black Panthers were demanding Extortion money from various Jewish Synagogues or they would terrorize the local Jews in those neighbor hoods, we did exactly what I advised and we published an open invitation for them to come down to one of the Synagogues and we would give them our ans. We had fifty or sixty of the Biggest Jews we could conjure up then with same weapons I recommended and guess what? Nobody showed from the big bad Black Panthers and the never again threateed the jewish community at least not directly.

    The world operates in the language of synbols and the Fentile respects and even fears the symbols of power and violence, what he does not respect is weakness, cowardliness and a bunvh of whimps and wusses ans. his aggressive and sometime brutish behavior with polite requests in writing to those in authority. Right and wrong has nothing to do with the subject only who has perceived power and who is willing to project that same power.

    I remember to pride of American Jews after our miraculous victory in 67′, American Jews to this day whether they agree or not with Israels political positions, are light years forward of where they would have been had Isral not devestated her enemies so thoroughly in 67′. Jewish pride is a two sided coin It is also good for the Jews and the Symbols that get the most respect and attention from our enemies and detractors are the symbols of Power and Strength, NEVER SHOW YOUR ADVERSARY YOU WEAKNESS AND NEVER CONCEDE THAT WEAKNESS IN ANY PUBLIC FORUM AS THE WEAKNESS WILL BE EXPLOITED AND COST IN THE END JEWISH LIVES BOTH HERE AND EVEN THERE.

    Do you really think that your big and loud mouth, always in overdrive and all your macho tough talk is going to win you a following? You must, but take a moment out for a reality check and look behind you to see if anyone is there following your lead.

    I never look back and I did’t know I was commenting here to attract any following? I am just like everyone else just giving my own opinion . Even if none pay one bit of mind to anything I say is irrelevant. I just gave my opinion you gave yours and I don’t see your way as ever worked, saved one Jewish life or changed anything in a Jews favor.I could offer a myriad of worn out cliches’ , like when in Rome, fight fire with fire, best defense is a ……But letters of complaint are useful only as an opening gambit never an end in themselves and expectations should be realistic accordingly. There are times when kicking ass is the only language our enemies and adversaries respect and understand never debating points of who has right on their side. In the real world history and rights are determined by those who win or the last one standing in any conflict. In most cases our enemies are cowards who thrive and advance on our perceived weaknesses. Therefore using their symbols against them might in the end work with they backing down without any physical fight.

  4. Yamit, a pussy with a big mouth is still a pussy.

    Do you really think that your big and loud mouth, always in overdrive and all your macho tough talk is going to win you a following? You must, but take a moment out for a reality check and look behind you to see if anyone is there following your lead.

  5. If you ever forget you’re a Jew, a Gentile will remind you.
    Bernard Malamud

    Gary,organize legit protest against but forget letters and whinning it won’t work shows weakness and gives the Jews no respect ! I suggest that jews find from anong Jewish students or hire if necessary………………………………………………….:
    fifty big Jews all over 6 feet all weighing over 220 pounds all with oak ax handles and bike chains; , to say not a word just stand behind any Jewish spokesman but looking mean and not smiling. I guarantee that no one will harangue or bother any Jewish student and when a Jew speaks they will at least listen. Power and strength is the language of the Bully and antisenite so give him what he respects and fears only way to make a difference. Been there done that!!! Forget Narvey if we would listen to him we would all be dead many times over!

  6. Gary,

    There is a big difference between strongly worded letters that I favour and harshly and impolitely worded letters that I do not.

    Your letter to McMaster that brought a welcome reply from the Provost of McMaster University, while strongly worded, was actually not harsh and impolite as you seem to think.

    Your letter that finally drew the response you sought, according to our private exchanges followed less strongly worded letters you said you had written.

    Letters that begin softer and matter of fact and if that does not work, then writing letters that are more assertive, is the approach I concur in.

    Inexplicably for me, you very badly misunderstood me and surprised me when you took umbrage when there was no umbrage to be taken.

  7. I don’t know the best way to mobilize students on campus to fight the growing scourge of Islamic extremism and directed hate campaigns. However, they must be joined in their fight by the civic leadership. I do know that telling students to show Israel’s best side and to make Israel seem a great democratic country like Canada, is not a winning strategy given these new threats and demands. It is like throwing flowers at guns.

    The campus is the incubator for these movements and the extremism tends to spread from the gown to the town. Campus officials, like everyone else, have a hard time realizing that some students are there only to stir up hate and to engage in Israel bashing full time. This is a hard fact for students and faculty to understand. Most other campus protests and causes are quite benign and innocent, are not violent and not intended to hurt/abuse/ terrorize another group of people.

    I might offer the suggestion that Jewish groups begin to budget for more legal and PR activity. Taking a wholly non-confrontational approach and relying on university administration and politicians to do the right thing is wishful thinking and naïve thinking.

    Being nice, polite, and taking a cautious approach is fine, it sometimes has its place, but in this case it has produced no results. All the nice letters in the world have not changed the opinions of one campus. Stronger words have gained very small gains on the McMaster campus but we will have to wait and see if they amount to a real clampdown rather than just a name change without a real change in tone, strategy and goals for the Islamic and other groups involved.

    There are no easy answers. There are also a variety of approaches. The one thing that people must agree upon is that we speak with one voice in saying that enough is enough and that this hate mongering must stop. Public and university officials need to do more and should be held accountable and responsible for these acts on campus. Stopping this campaign now is important.

  8. I got this email

    I share the frustration and concerns you both write about so articulately. Just as a
    point of information – when B’nai Brith complained to U of T 4 years ago when all of this
    apartheid nonsense started and they wanted to put a stop to it they were challenged by
    the University who responded that Hillel told them it was OK with them – they would do
    their own programs to counter it. It is very hard to convince an organization that has
    deep roots in the ‘sha shtill’ idelogy to stand up and speak out. Once again we are our
    own worst enemy. Please understand, too, that B’nai Brith has NO influence over CJC or
    any of the other Federation branches and is often viewed as the alarmist organization or
    the right wing organization – not in keeping with the shared values approach!

  9. What Dr. Epstein encountered are the many sides of the Islamist strategy in his brief visit to the U of T open season on Jews venue:

    1) Lie and propagandize against Israel, Jews and (later on) all non-Muslims.

    2) Hide under the armpits of a system that does not understand their agenda or, worse, a system that is actively acquiescing to their demands and a system which has knowingly become a partner in their deeds.

    3) Use all means available to avoid legitimate debate and details – the slogan is the message and the slogan is the most effective way to implant their message into young minds. After the slogan has been formulated all they have to do is get approval to display it and they have won.

    4) The campaign is about instilling fear and anxiety into the hearts of certain students and community members who, according to the universities, do not have the right to study and learn in peace and in the absence of psychological bullying.

    5) Students are ill-equipped to fight these groups because they have institutional permission and backing – all they have to do is call campus police if anyone has the nerve to want to raise concerns about the Islamist agenda and behavior and to bring an end to these terrorist youth groups.

    6) Jewish groups are so invested in the dialogue process that they have become useless in fighting against this movement. Some have become part of the problem – giving campus officials an easy excuse to say that this is all about freedom of speech when in fact it is about the freedom to step on the freedom of others. Their positive message about Israel is drowned out by hatred and rant and sloganeering and is thus useless and irrelevant.

  10. Dr Norman Epstein also wrote to the U of T.

    Dear Dr. Naylor,

    I am a member of the faculty of community and family medicine. I was at the downtown campus last week ( Feb. 6th )and approached a booth sponsoring Israel Apartheid Week. I engaged in a discussion with those manning the booth. After pointing out the Israel Arab citizens have the same rights as their Jewish citizens and more than any other Arab country including the PA, I was promptly called a “racist” . Instead of engaging in discussion,they hurled ad hominem attacks and said that they would call security.

    We all cherish freedom of speech but certainly there are limits the university recognizes. You can’t yell “fire in a movie theatre” and one should not be allowed to use a big audacious lie that distorts and morphs into a week-long hatefest. Certainly criticism of Israeli policy is valid but not bold-faced lies that attack the existence of Jewish State on fabricated charges. Would you permit Canada Apartheid Week?

    The University of Toronto should protect the diversity of its population and the multi-cultural fabric inherent within it.

    But after this encounter ,I feel very uncomfortable in an environment that foments irrational hate.

    As president ,are you planning to act or look the other way? Does the university plan on allowing the environment to deteriorate? Will I have an opportunity to speak in person to you or any other university officials?

    Thank you in advance for your prompt attention.

  11. why is nobody complaining to the Canadian Human Rights committee about the term “Israel Apartheid”, surely some jewish Canadian citizen finds the term offensive.

    If Syed Soharwardy is entitled to complain then where are the Jewish Organizations? You people should be using the tools that work so well for the likes of Soharwardy against the organizers of Israel Apartheid week