In the face of peaceful and increasingly effective Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) events on Canadian campuses, the pro-Israel lobby is pulling out the big guns to attack IAW organizers and defenders. Michael Ignatieff, Joe Volpe, John Baird and Jason Kenney have all issued libelous allegations against the 2011 IAW, claiming falsely that it promotes anti-Semitic harassment of Jewish students and faculty. In fact, Israeli Apartheid Week events have respectfully welcomed open discussion. In many cases, Jewish students and faculty take leading roles in organizing IAW events, because they are deeply troubled by the Israeli oppression of Palestinian people, which is done in the name of all Jews.
Independent Jewish Voices, a pan-Canadian Jewish human rights organization, endorses Israeli Apartheid Week because we believe Israeli policy fits the 1973 United Nations' International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid which defines the crime of apartheid as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial/ethnic group of persons over any other racial/ethnic group of persons and systematically oppressing them."
We are very concerned that intimidation and ideological interference on the issue of Israel and Palestine is being used to lower the protections of academic freedom.
We applaud Rector Nick Day's principled courage in challenging Michael Ignatieff's attack on IAW. And we condemn attempts by a small group of pro-Israel Queen's students to impeach him. We also repudiate Principal Woolf's interference and silencing of discussion around Mr. Day's letter and IAW. It is shocking that Principal Woolf has collaborated in a witch-hunt against a student Rector for challenging the position of a political party leader.
We urge Principal Woolfe to apologize to Mr. Day and to stand in support of free speech and respectful dialogue.
For Independent Jewish Voices Canada
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