About


OPIRG Windsor’s mandate is to promote education, research and action on environmental and social justice issues to create a better world. The ShakeUp is a project of OPIRG Windsor.

Each week host Paul Chislett examines relevant social justice and environmental issues.

2 Comments on “About”

  1. Don Janzen March 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    I love to see people getting active and passionate about global causes, but you’re way off on this Israeli Apartheid Week thing. I’d like to hear your response to the points raised in this article….

    (BTW your email address publish on CJAM doesn’t work)

    A festival of bigotry
    Israeli Apartheid Week is a disgrace that our leaders are correct to denounce

    Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which began on Monday on dozens of university campuses, is an odious and bigoted annual ritual. While organizers bill it as an exercise in “Palestine solidarity,” it typically features rabid expressions of hatred against Israel and its Jewish inhabitants. As a general principle, it goes without saying that criticism of Israel is not automatically tantamount to anti-Semitism. But the atmosphere at some IAW events blurs the line — with extremist speakers whipping crowds into the sort of frenzy one more usually sees in newsreel footage from the streets of Cairo or Gaza City. As a result, many Jewish students often report feeling intimidated on their own campuses.

    In its very conception, IAW is offensive for two related reasons. First, it directs participants to vilify a single country, an inherently bigoted exercise. Unlike, say, “anti-racism week” or “diversity awareness week,” IAW does not champion a concept — rather, it targets a particular group of people defined by religion and citizenship. Second, it does so with a false and poisonous analogy between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa.

    Taken together, the combined message is more or less the same one communicated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas — that Israel is a uniquely evil and fundamentally illegitimate nation. While IAW speakers generally are careful not to call for Israel’s destruction explicitly, they don’t need to: That message follows naturally from the claim that the nation is fundamentally illegitimate.

    Defenders of IAW will protest this description and insist they are merely human rights advocates looking to protect Palestinians from Israeli predation. (They will even trot out a few self-hating Israelis and left-wing Jewish rabbis to prove their point.) But if that is so, then why do these same advocates ignore the dozens of other nations whose human rights records are far worse than Israel’s? Where is, say, North Korean Gulag Week or Zimbabwean Idi Amin Week?

    Nowhere, because IAW types don’t care about human rights. They care about smearing the Jewish state.

    In recent years, some Jewish leaders have urged university administrators to ban IAW. That’s a bad idea. Obviously, the powers that be must ensure that everyone on Canadian campuses feels safe, and that truly criminal hatemongers from overseas are kept out of the country. But otherwise, in a free society, the antidote to toxic speech isn’t censorship; it’s intelligent speech.

    That’s why we applaud Ontario MPP Peter Shurman, who has successfully tabled a motion to denounce IAW. The motion received unanimous support from all 30 of the MPPs who were present when it was introduced — including, to our surprise and delight, those from the NDP. “What we need to build peace … are not inflammatory words like ‘apartheid,’ particularly used inappropriately in the case of Israel,” NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo told the Toronto Star. “What we like to speak about is the occupation [of Palestinian territory], the [security] wall, other issues that face us.”

    We suspect that this newspaper doesn’t have a lot of common ground with Ms. DiNovo when it comes to the “occupation” of the West Bank. But whatever our differences, we’re glad to see that she is responsible about recognizing proper rhetorical boundaries on this issue– something left-wing Canadian politicians have not always done.

    Mr. Shurman’s motion is part of a larger move toward support of Israel among Canadian politicians. In May, Dalton McGuinty will take part in a trade mission to Israel — an unprecedented move for an Ontario premier since the 2000 Intifada broke out.

    Last week, Conservative MP Tim Uppal announced that he would soon introduce a motion declaring “that this House considers itself to be a friend of the State of Israel; that this House is concerned about expressions of anti-Semitism under the guise of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week'; and that this House explicitly condemns any action in Canada as well as internationally that would equate the State of Israel with the rejected and racist policy of apartheid.” On Monday, Michael Ignatieff declared that Israeli Apartheid Week “should be condemned unequivocally and absolutely.” Even Jack Layton has kept a tight lid on the anti-Zionists in his party. As a result, anti-Israel activists –including not only the IAW crowd, but also those who campaigned against last year’s Israeli-themed Toronto Film Festival– have been shunned, or even denounced, by politicians.

    This is the proper response to hatemongers in general, and the IAW crowd in particular. Campus revolutionaries can rail against Israel as much as they like–it’s a free country. But our elected officials must send the message that their campaign is an affront to Canadian values.

  2. GET Free iPhone November 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    Last week, Conservative MP Tim Uppal announced that he would soon introduce a motion declaring “that this House considers itself to be a friend of the State of Israel; that this House is concerned about expressions of anti-Semitism under the guise of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’; and that this House explicitly condemns any action in Canada as well as internationally that would equate the State of Israel with the rejected and racist policy of apartheid.” On Monday, Michael Ignatieff declared that Israeli Apartheid Week “should be condemned unequivocally and absolutely.” Even Jack Layton has kept a tight lid on the anti-Zionists in his party. As a result, anti-Israel activists –including not only the IAW crowd, but also those who campaigned against last year’s Israeli-themed Toronto Film Festival– have been shunned, or even denounced, by politicians.
    +1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,566 other followers

%d bloggers like this: