Truth and fiction at Queen’s U in Canada

NATIONAL POST

Nick Day, student Rector at Queen’s University, recently published a letter in his official capacity as a represenative of the Queen’s student body to Michael Ignatieff on rabble.ca, accusing the Liberal leader of supporting Israeli genocide.  An online campaign to begin the process of impeaching Mr. Day has succeeded, a school-wide referendum will be held in two weeks to determine whether or not Mr. Day remains in office. The campaign was driven by outraged students offended that their student leader has chosen to advocate causes they have no interest in, or explicitly do not support. One such student is Kerry Mendelsohn, whose open letter to Mr. Day, with her permission, we reproduce  below. (Please note that letter has been edited for spelling and grammar, but is otherwise true to the original version sent to Mr. Day.)

 

Dear Mr. Day,

I would like to share with you my thoughts on your response to Michael Ignatieff’s condemnation of Israel Apartheid Week. I believe, as my student representative, you owe it to me to read my response in its entirety. What you have to know about me is that both my parents immigrated to Canada, my mother as a refugee and my father under his own free will. My mother was born in Germany, as her parents were displaced from Poland after World War II. Both my maternal grandparents suffered through and survived the Holocaust (you may have heard of it). They faced a true genocide, not like the fictitious one occurring in Israel that you have made up. My grandparents were rounded up like animals, forced onto cattle cars that brought them to concentration camps where their people were gassed. That, Mr. Day, is genocide, the systematic and deliberate murder of a people.

Now I would like to tell you about my father. He was born in South Africa and unlike my mother, left his country by choice. South Africa, as you may know, from 1948 until 1993 was under control of the National Party who implemented the institutionalized separation of blacks from whites, known as Apartheid. From a young age my father felt disdain towards his government, towards the people that instilled such racism and hatred into such a beautiful country. He tells me stories about the separate housing, beaches, parks, buses and much more that troubled him as a young child. This was true Apartheid, separation of people based purely on skin colour. My father, who has actually experienced true Apartheid, knows better than I do that there is no such thing going on in Israel. The Palestinians, unlike the blacks of South Africa, have the power to vote, and as a people voted in leaders that refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist and strive for her destruction.

I have been to Poland and seen the remains of the concentration camps where my grandparents suffered. I have been to South Africa and seen the reverberations of almost 50 years of racism and hate. Finally, I have been to Israel and seen a country that thrives and celebrates its diversity. Have you been to these countries, Mr. Day? If so, you would have seen what I have seen.

I spent six weeks in Israel this past summer volunteering for their national ambulance service, Magen David Adom. I can tell you first hand that we treated every patient with the same consideration and respect regardless of whether they were Jewish, Muslim or any of the other many religions of Israel. Before my volunteering began I was prepped [for the uncommon possibility] of getting an emergency call into a Palestinian settlement. I was told that we would have to switch to a bulletproof ambulance and have soldiers lead us in. This was because when Israeli ambulances enter Palestinian territories, to lend aid to Palestinians, they are usually shot at. Tell me, Mr. Day, how do you consider Israelis risking their own lives to save Palestinians genocide? How do you consider it Apartheid?

You, like everyone else, are entitled to your political opinion and you are also entitled to make your opinion public. However, you have no right to say you represent me, as a Queen’s student, when voicing such opinions. You have not only offended me but you have offended my history. You do not speak for me; you have abused and disgraced your office.

Sincerely,

Kerry Mendelsohn

National Post

March 13, 2011 | 8 Comments »

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8 Comments / 8 Comments

  1. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. Freedom of … you name it.
    A lovely word and sentiment.
    However, there can be no such thing as “absolute” freedom.
    Absolute freedom is anarchy.
    Freedom must be carefully tended and nurtured and tempered and guided by justice and humanity.
    When so called ‘freedom seekers’ descend to lies and false information and their own interpretations of the language and to the propaganda of hatred they are not practicing freedom. They are not seeking justice.
    They are despicable anarchists who are destroying the very freedoms they purport to defend.

  2. JEWS FOR 2000 YEARS HAVE BEEN ALIENS IN EVERY PLACE THEY HAVE BEEN. NOW THAT THEY ARE BACK IN MASS NOBODY WANTS THEM THERE EITHER. IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT JEWS AND THEIR RELIGION YOU KNOW THAT THEY DO NOT ENJOY KILLING, THEY DO NOT KILL THEIR CHILDREN AND THEY ARE NOT TAUGHT TO MURDER ANYBODY AND THEY HAVE RESPECT FOR WOMEN AND,YES, EVEN FOR THEIR ENEMIES. WHY WOULD ANYBODY WANT TO SUPPORT THE MURDERERS AND HATERS?

    WITH ALL THE MURDERING AND MAYHEM GOING ON IN THE WORLD WHY IS ISRAEL THE ONLY ONE SINGLED OUT FOR DESTRUCTION BOTH AS A NATION AND A PEOPLE?

  3. Free speech has limits and those limits are reached when the accuser knows that I know that he knows that he lied. This strange formulation is exquisitely important, because it distinguishes between uninformed opinion, propaganda and truth. Truth has to be the currency of human interchange for society to persist. The easiest way to tell where in the formulation a person’s ideas fall is to ask him what information he would need to change his opinion. If no information would change his mind, then he is an evil propagandist who deserves no consideration for his mouthings.

    If Nick Day’s definition of ‘genocide’ is different for Jews than for others, then he deserves to be called out for it. If he defends different definitions for different people, then he is both wrong and evil and deserves to be called evil in public. If he incites others to take action against Jews based on differential definitions of genocide, then he should be subject to sanctions by the legal authorities. If no action can be taken against him by the legal authorities, then everyone should resort to ‘price tag’ behavior, including public shaming to stop him. He can be as much of a bigot as he likes, but he should not expect that there is no price to pay for it.

  4. Like Bill Narvey, I only support freedom of speech up until the moment I disagree with your views. At that point your views should be banned.

  5. Not sure how the malevolent Day feels about the natural effects of his promotion of the Arab agenda, which is to kill all Jews. Perhaps someone should ask him how he feels about the 1-year-old settler whose throat was cut by his Arab friends.

  6. Genocide and apartheid: arguing with leftists is futile

    Jew-hating leftists dominate the universities and media in Israel and America, and much of the judiciary. They say that, because they are “intelligent, rational, and enlightened”, that what they claim as true must indeed be true. Of course, nazis, communists, and the vatican made the same claim.

    So how much does the truth have to be stretched to equate the Israeli Jews with nazis and white south Africans?
    1. Genocide: as a result of the european christian nazi genocide, the Jewish population in europe was slaughtered and disappeared. But as a result of the Jewish Israeli “genocide” of palestinians, there are more palestinians living now than ever before, and they are richer and healthier than ever before.
    2. Apartheid: Jewish Israel wants to live in its own ancestral homeland separate from the Jew-hating, Jew-killing muslims. According to the leftists, that constitutes the nazi-like crime of “apartheid”, when Jews do it, but is OK when done by arabs, pakistanis, russians, poles, chinese, japanese, koreans, etc.
    3. Refugees: 700,000 palestinians moved twenty miles down the road when Jewish Israel was formed, to escape living with the Jews, in order to live with their fellow muslims. They have all died of old age now, but their descendants, most of whom have never set foot in Israel proper, are considered to be eternal refugees from Israel. In contrast, the 700,000 Jews who were expelled from muslim lands at that time, as well as the germans expelled from eastern europe, and the hindus and muslims exchanged between india and pakistan, are not considered as refugees at all.

    Conclusion: when lefists, both jewish and non-jewish, insist they are “rational”, it is Orwellian doublespeak. They twist the truth (and apply it selectively) every which way, in order to justify their fanatic obsession with destroying Jewish Israel. This focus on demonizing and de-legitimizing Jewish Israel motivates their followers and gives them a “purpose”. They will never let go until they have achieved their objective. (With their ultimate objective being the destruction of the nationalistic, conservative, christian, male-oriented civilizations derived from white europeans.) Since they claim to be rational, but are actually irrational and delusional, when push comes to shove, you may have to physically fight them if you do not want them to destroy you.

  7. Various islamofascist organizations in the USA also want to see the enactment of hate speech laws — for the purpose of shutting
    down all criticism of islam. If a precedent for the establishment of hate speech laws were to be established for anyone/anything, that would give islamofascism an in for their own hate speech legislation.

  8. Mendelsohn, like so many others blithely reduces the American-Canadian university freedom of speech dialectic into the simple statement,’everyone is entitled to their opinion and to publically express it’.

    Those who have crticized universities for enabling Israel Apartheid Week and other events on their campus which has the sole purpose of spreading lies to demonize and de-legitimize Israel, from politicians to ordinary citizens have been met with the universities closing any intelligent and informed discussion of those concerns by raising the mantra, “freedom of speech” as if that freedom is an inherent all encompassing human right to express one’s opinion, whatever it is and a virtually infinite broad defensive shield to any and all such criticism.

    Does, or should “freedom of speech” become a virtual sword in the hands of evil hatemongers and an all encompassing defensive shield to enable and protect those evil hatemongers?

    In the States especially the hate mongers, the universities, the Mendelsohns and many in all levels of American society have come to accept that to be the case, particularly when it comes to disingenuous opinions and outright lies expressed against Israel and in far too many instances against Jews either directly or where such lies are sought to be disguised as anti-Israel opinions.

    Interestingly noted liberals and conservatives in the States have sung the same song in that regard which is that the best way to defeat the hatemongers who use their freedom of speech to disseminate and incite hatred is by aggressively challenging them with superior message and argument to undermine their hate filled rhetoric.

    That strategy seems to work very well whenever the hate speech is directed against visible minorities in society, but it is practically useless when it comes to countering hate speech directed at Israel and Jews where that Jew hatred is expressed in the context of anti-Israel rhetoric.

    In Canada we have hate laws as part of the criminal code, though the limitations on the definition of hate speech and the broad defences afforded to those who engage in it, have resulted in very few hate speech prosecutions in Canada and thus Canada’s hate speech laws, while perhaps having an instructive salutary effect, are of limited practical benefit.

    The question that the Mendelsohns have not even thought of, let alone raised is whether the right of freedom of speech is really an inherent and inalienable human right that is infinite in its exercise, be it for good or be it for evil?

    As noted, since Americans largely self censor themselves when it comes to avoiding and preventing hate speech for visible minorities, to raise this question as to the ambit of the right of “freedom of speech”, becomes a Jewish-Israel issue.

    Though a majority of Americans do appear to support Israel’s existence, notwithstanding there is much diversity of views as to exactly what kind of Israeli existence they support, it is unlikely Americans will be easily moved to discuss and debate the ambit of “freedom of speech”, if the focus is largely in relation to Israel and Jews.

    If that surmise is correct, does it not then behoove Jews and Israel at least to raise this question and force the discussion and debate?