The University of Manitoba Student Union has voted to ban Israeli Apartheid Week on campus and to strip its organizer, Students against Israeli Apartheid, of official club status. As a result of this motion, Students against Israeli Apartheid is deprived of university funding and the right to utilize student union buildings for their activities. The University of Manitoba Student Union, which represents around 28,000 students in Canada, cited civil and human rights violations committed against Jewish students as their main reason for taking this stance, asserting that during Israel Apartheid Week Jewish students are routinely discriminated and harassed. The University of Manitoba is the only university to take such a courageous stance on this issue.
The Canadian Jewish leadership has noted the devastating effect that Israel Apartheid Week has on Canadian campuses. “IAW has transformed the entire year on campus into a hate-fest,” said Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “Its notoriety should not be measured by the number of events or violent altercations that occur during a three-week period in March but rather by the ways in which campus life has been influenced, both in the public square and the classroom, by the steady drone of their propaganda machine.”
As the Honorable Jason Kenney, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism proclaimed, “I share the concerns of other Canadians about the reckless and overheated rhetoric associated with anti-Israel activities on many Canadian university campuses, and the toxic manner in which these activities are often carried out. There is no better example than the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW). Its organizers and participants have a regrettable history of promoting and holding events in ways that disregard the security and rights of Jewish faculty and students, censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse.”
He continued, “The disproportionate vitriol directed against the democratic State of Israel during ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ stands in stark and ironic contrast to the silence of IAW organizers on the ongoing atrocities committed by the Syrian regime against its own citizens, and on the rampant brutalities and denial of rights in non-democratic countries in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world. In free societies such as Canada’s and Israel’s, it is absolutely legitimate to debate and criticize government policies and practices. Indeed, Israel supports the right of free expression more than any other country in its part of the world.”
Kenney concluded, “But with the freedom to criticize comes the responsibility to guard against hateful and intolerant rhetoric. Operating under the guise of academic freedom, Israel Apartheid Week is a misleading attempt to delegitimize and demonize the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East. IAW’s organizers choose to promote inflammatory propaganda over civil and enlightening debate. Their approach is at odds with the Canadian values of tolerance and mutual respect, and prevents meaningful dialogue from taking place.”
Joshua Morry, the commerce students’ representative at the University of Manitoba Student Union, claimed that Students against Israeli Apartheid is a national organization in Canada that “promotes hatred of Jews. The language the group uses is quite concerning. It gives people the ammunition to hate Jewish students, it encourages people. During the Israeli Apartheid Week, a lot of Jewish students feel uncomfortable; a lot of Zionist students feel uncomfortable. As Jewish students, we feel uncomfortable on this campus during Israeli Apartheid Week.” For these reasons, he supported the motion the motion to ban Israel Apartheid Week and the Students against Israeli Apartheid from the University of Manitoba campus.
This is a great opportunity to send a ‘thank you’ email to the University of Manitoba for their efforts to protect their students from the intimidation and scare tactics of groups like Students Against Israeli Apartheid and for focusing on creating a healthy academic environment. Use this link to write a personal ‘thank you’ email: http://www.umsu.ca/contact-us