Protest


Carleton University President Roseann O'Reilly Runte (carleton.ca)

Carleton University President Roseann O'Reilly Runte (carleton.ca)

In response to the banning of the 2009 Israeli Apartheid Week posters at Carleton, over 100 students, professors and community members rallied in support of free speech and expression on campus (Feb. 26). The event consisted of a gathering to explain the current repression on campus relating to Palestinian solidarity and a symbolic silent march to the President’s office to publicly read a speech and deliver her a letter addressing their grave concerns dealing with the political repression on campus. While the speech was being read, Runte awkwardly stood by with CBC News cameras capturing the entire event. Runte responded to the speech by reassuring students that they are able to speak and are being listened to. She then went back into her office and locked the door, refusing an interview with the CBC cameraman.

I think your presence here is exactly an evidence that you can speak on campus. And the fact that I listened to you is a fact that you are heard. Thank you for coming here today.

In CBC’s reporting of the poster ban at the University of Ottawa, they made specific mention of Runte’s participation in public relations trips to Israel while President at Old Dominion University. When I asked Feridun Humdullahpur (Provost) about Runte’s public relations trips and mentioned that students were worried about outside pressure affecting university policy, he assured me that the university’s actions are not influenced by outside pressure or lobbying, including B’nai Brith’s recent ads attempting to bully students raising advocacy about Palestinian human rights.

In 2005, Runte filed a daily blog during her trip to Israel as part of the Israel Institute for University Presidents, a joint venture between the United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and a community relations council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. (CBC.ca – Feb. 24, 2009)

Following the protest at Carleton, students traveled to the University of Ottawa to join their fellow students to protest the poster ban on their campus. Unfortunately, protesters were not greeted by President Allan Rock and were instead greeted by police officers behind locked doors. For great coverage of the events click HERE.

Robert Fisk - Middle East Correspondent of The Independent (UK)

Robert Fisk - Middle East Correspondent of The Independent (UK)

Robert Fisk spoke at the University of Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 21. During his talk he made specific mention of the horrible state of Canadian media in covering the Middle East and specifically the Israel – Palestine conflict. Chronicling the Globe and Mail and National Post he wondered how such embarrassing editorials are passed on as journalism. I’m sure this latest gem from the National Post would have been included in his discussion if it had come out earlier.

National Post – February 23, 2009

George Burger: Anti-Semitism and its enablers

Anti-Semitism is a belief. It happens to be the repugnant belief, that Jews are inferior, deserving of hatred. Repugnant beliefs these days typically gain little currency, little purchase because of the general aversion that we civilized folks have for beliefs which discriminate. Like a germ a repugnant belief can only replicate, expand, grow, poison the body, if it has the right environment, is nourished, or is not halted by external forces like medicine, swiftly applied. A germ needs neglect to flourish; to neglect it is to enable its growth. It is critical to deconstruct the interplay between anti-semitism and its enablers, because a failure to do so will let it grow to unmanageable proportions, and poison us all again.

In the immediate context, without going beyond Canada’s borders, there are literal correlatives to the words “anit-semitism or anti-semite” and “enablers”. Here are some examples.

1. Syd Ryan is an anti-Semite. There is no point any longer in attributing benign motives to the positions he has taken. The rigid double standard he imposes on Israel, the passion he brings to his cause, to the exclusion of many other far more violent and egregiously one-sided conflicts, and his willful ignorance of the history of the conflict between Israel and its neighbours, not to mention the immediate circumstances of the targeting of the university in Gaza that so offended him (it was also a rocket manufacturing base, whose professors were dedicated to building more deadly missiles) defines him as an anti-Semite.

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apartheid-week-poster3The controversy of Carleton and UofO banning Israeli Apartheid Week posters has culminated in a protest planned for this Thursday (Feb. 26) including both campuses. Here’s the info courtesy of OPIRG Carleton:

On Thursday February 26th, join OPIRG-Carleton and students at U of O to show your support for SAIA and SPHR. Come to a public discussion and TWO RALLIES (one after the other) to call the Administrations at Carleton and the U of O to account by asking them to clarify why and how these posters were banned. Show these administrations that civil discourse is dependent upon rights to free expression and organizing, especially around contentious issues.

Date: Thursday February 26th 2009

Time: 11:30 – 1:00pm.

The regular shuttle service leaves Carleton at 1:30pm after the Carleton rally will and arrive at the U of O at 1:50pm. People will gather at the shuttle drop-off location (across from Montpetit) to begin the rally at the U of O. The rally at the U of O will begin in front of the shuttle bus-stop at 2:00pm.

Meeting location at Carleton: C264 Loeb Building

Meeting location at U of O: shuttle bus-stop (across from Monpetit)

Event Description: The rally at Carleton will be mostly silent. People are invited to symbolically cover their mouths. The rally at the University of Ottawa will not be silent. If you have letters (from groups, unions, organizations or individuals) you would like to deliver to the university administrations about the banning of the Israeli Apartheid poster please bring them with you. Both rallies will end at the presidents’ offices.

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Roseann O'Reilly Runte - President of Carleton University

Roseann O'Reilly Runte - President of Carleton University (Image: Carleton University)

Reposted below are the two emails that the administration have sent out in response to Israeli Apartheid Week at Carleton. The first one is from the President (Jan. 13/2009) and the second from the Provost (Feb. 12/2009). Israeli Apartheid week is between March 1st and 8th. The official website describes it as such:

First launched in Toronto in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. Last year, more than 25 cities around the world participated in the week’s activities, which also commemorated 60 years since the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and land in 1947-1948. IAW 2008 was launched with a live broadcast from the South African township of Soweto by Palestinian leader and former member of the Israeli Knesset, Azmi Bishara.

This year, IAW occurs in the wake of Israel’s barbaric assault against the people of Gaza. Lectures, films, and actions will make the point that these latest massacres further confirm the true nature of Israeli Apartheid. IAW 2009 will continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level. (more…)

Welcome to the new website for the Canadian Institute for Academic Freedom and Rights. Here you’ll find all sorts of information pertaining to the history and current climate of freedom and rights on Canadian campuses and within the Canadian Academy. The site was started in light of a protracted campaign by groups in Canada to shut down activism, dissent and protest on Canadian campuses. From the firing and police-assisted removal of Denis Rancourt at the University of Ottawa to February 15th’s full-page ad in the National Post by B’nai Brith that demonizes student activism – students and academics in Canada are engaged in an incredibly important struggle for their rights and freedoms.

Academic freedom in Canada is being hijacked.  Posters are being banned, conferences shut down, events cancelled, positions terminated, bodies removed. And one of the most important things about academic freedom is that it levels the playing the field – this is what the B’nai Brith are seizing on – namely the ‘hurt’ that their students/followers are experiencing. But all of this is detracting from the groups that are most powerless and what is at issue is the power to define – whose experience gets legitimized and whose is so easily marginalized?

Here is the text of the B’nai Brith full page ad on the back of the National post, published Feb. 15/09:

STOP THE HATE-FESTS ON CANADIAN UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES

“Presidents of Canadian universities must demonstrate leadership. They must come forward to prevent Israeli Apartheid Week, an event that has become notorious for promoting hatred against the Jewish State and its student supporters here at home. They must stand up to the daily ongoing anti-Jewish agitation that has taken root on campuses across the country.

Boards of governors, professors, alumni and benefactors must also act now.

A poisoned environment is being fostered where Jewish students are increasingly intimidated and targeted for hate. In recent weeks, there have been documented assaults on Jewish students, threats, on-going harassment, and mob scenes. These incidents are being ignored  by university administrations and campus security. Police forces, when called to the scene, all too often turn a blind eye.

The pretense that Canada is well is over. When good people do not act, radicals fill the void.

TAKE A STAND AGAINST ANTISEMITISM ON CAMPUS

**How You Can Make a Difference**

-If you are a graduate of a university that refuses to condemn antisemitic hate fests, it is time to register your protest directly with a copy to bnb@bnaibrith.ca

-If you are a donor to such a university, it is time to withhold any future contributions. Inform B’nai Brith of your actions.

-If you are a Canadian taxpayer and want to stop your dollars from promoting hate, voice your public opposition at every opportunity. Work with B’nai Brith to stop the intolerace.

-If you are a concerned Canadian who opposes the hijacking of campus agendas by those promoting hatred, then you are bliged to speak up.

B’nai Brith Canada pledges its ogoing support to Jewish students. We urge students to call the organisation’s toll free 24-7 hotline – 1-800-892-2624 – to report all antisemitic incidents.

Subscribe to http://www.jewishcanada.ca <http://www.jewishcanada.ca&gt; to keep fully informed about ongoing human rights violations on campuses.”