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.

Türkkaya Ataöv - Genocide denial?

Türkkaya Ataöv - Genocide denial?

McGill University in Montreal has apparently allowed an Armenian Genocide denier a platform from which to speak. No debate was organized, and Türkkaya Ataöv was not challenged on his views of history, including—according to witness accounts below—his take on the Nazis not getting a “fair trial.” When Armenian students asked questions in the face of Mr Ataöv’s revisionist telling of Turkey’s 1915 genocide of 1.5 million Armenians, they were shouted down by Turkish audience members, according to witnesses. This event raises important questions about academic freedom and freedom of speech – should the campus and academia be a place where someone is given platform to rewrite history in the face of international opposition, especially when that rewriting is denying the loss of so many lives? If this is part of academic freedom, should we as students, teachers and academics, demand a platform that instills debate over one-sided speech? Food for thought…

From the Armen Karo Student Association

397 Boul. des Prairies
Laval, Quebec
H7N 2W6
Tel: 450-505-1032
E-mail: armen.karo@gmail.com
Contact: Kevork Kazanjian

There is No Room in Canada for Genocide Deniers

Feb 26, 2009

Montreal – On Friday the 20th of  February 2009, McGill University decided that its campus was an appropriate stage, from which the known Turkish denialist Türkkaya Ataöv could spread the fabrications, omissions and factoids of official Ankara, that aim to question the veracity of the  Armenian Genocide of 1915, during which 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the premeditated measures of the Turkish Ittihadist Government. Thus was set the precedent of any other history revisionist and Genocide denialist to find a podium in academia, in the name of “freedom of speech”. Apparently, this principle outweighed the lost lives of millions of innocent victims and their unspeakable suffering in the minds of the decision-makers of McGill.


 Avi Benlolo  President & Chief Executive Officer Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Avi Benlolo President & Chief Executive Officer Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

From the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, another communiqué equating Israeli Apartheid Week with racism and hate (sent in January, 2009):

Campus Affairs Committee

As some already know, there is a climate of hate permeating Canadian universities and now more than ever, it is targeting Jewish students, especially in Toronto.  Yearly events such as Week Against the Wall and Israeli Apartheid Week not only threaten Jewish students but spread intolerable propaganda throughout university communities.

The newly formed FSWC Campus Affairs Committee has decided to act in defence
of these students and in defence of truth.

The Committee will work proactively towards the following three objectives:
1.      Expose the culture of hate and intolerance on university campuses;
2.      Initiate direct campaigns of protest to university administrations;
3.      End Week Against the Wall and Israeli Apartheid Week

We would like to thank our co-chairs for the Committee, Alan Lechem and Oded
Orgil for their commitment to this project, we look very forward to working
with them on this initiative! If you are interested in getting involved with the Campus Affairs Committee,
or if you would like to participate in the first meeting, please RSVP to Bailey at bkoplowitz@fswc.ca

Copyright (c) Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

You can watch a video version of the position of the FSWC on what B’nai Brith has called “hate-fests” (Israeli Apartheid Week events) on Canadian campuses. The video is quite inflammatory and inacurate, and is on the front page of the FSWC site.