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Ryan’s rage

Ryan’s rage, Editorial, Canadian Jewish News, January 15, 2009

Source: Canadian Jewish Congress

It is the intention of the Ontario wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to pass a resolution at a union meeting next month that will urge universities across the country to ban “Israeli academics” who have not explicitly condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza from “doing speaking, teaching or research work at Ontario universities.” The proposal is being promoted by CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan. It was his outraged response last week to the Israel Defence Forces’ destruction of a weapons lab in a university building in Gaza. Israel was shooting back at Hamas and their army of fighters.

“Attacking an institution of learning is just beyond the pale,” Ryan said. “They deliberately targeted an institution of learning. That’s what the Nazis did.” Ryan’s comparison of Israel and the Israel Defence Forces to the Nazis was vile and odious, but it was also quite revealing of the man. He apologized for the analogy, but the apology was justifiably suspected to be hollow and insincere.

Ryan is correctly upset at the violence and carnage in Gaza. So are we all. So, too, are we all moved and saddened by the terrible toll on the non-combatants in the area. But his accusatory, twitching finger of condemnation is pointed only at Israel. It points not at all, or ever, at the Hamas commanders and fighters who use “civilian” premises and places of worship as military redoubts, weapon laboratories and ordnance storage depots; who hide behind children and who fight mostly without uniform from the neighborhoods, houses and bedrooms of non-combatants.

Nor does Ryan seem bothered, nor has he ever seem bothered, by the fact that since it took control of Gaza, Hamas has deliberately targeted institutions of learning in southern Israel, such as schools, daycare centres and nurseries, as well as the homes, workplaces and play areas of all the ordinary citizens who live there. Such Hamas targeting is simply part of its national master plan, which includes, among other pithy sections, this rather jaunty justification for genocide: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.”

No doubt Ryan is a man of soft heart and tender conscience, easily moved to rage and anger at the sight of injustice. But has he publicly expressed rage at, to take but three obvious and alas, ongoing examples, the government of Zimbabwe for the monstrous oppression of its own people, or the government of Sudan for the rape and slaughter in Darfur, or the government of Iran for the vicious victimization of its Baha’i and Kurdish population and – dare we say, too – for incessantly urging Israel be wiped off the map?

Ryan’s selective expression of rage has knocked away the mask of outraged, angry social activist. What we see underneath is a more telling visage. By singling out Israeli academics for boycott, he joins forces with others who strive to demonize and delegitimize Israel, who do their best to separate the Jewish state from the family of nations.

Ryan’s outrageous suggestion must be spurned even as he should be upbraided.

Press Releases

The CUPE proposals and clarification, (Jan 5, Jan 13, Jan 14)
CUPE 3902 (local branch), Executive Statement, (rejecting boycott proposal)
Canadian Graduate Students, Petition Against the Proposed CUPE Ontario Boycott of Israeli Academics and Institutions
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), petition
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), press release
B'nai Brith Canada, CUPE-National must address blatant discrimination by its Ontario affiliate, Press Release, January 6, 2009
B'nai Brith Canada, Why is CUPE National still silent on Hamas terrorism, Press Release, January 13 2009

News Reports

Union at Ontario Universities Proposes Boycott of Israeli Professors, The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 6, 2009
Sid Ryan's bigotry, National Post, 6 January 2009
Bob Dale, Ottawa needs to proscribe CUPE's anti-Israel agenda, The National Post, January 06, 2009
Sid Ryan keeps digging, National Post, 7 January 2009
Tamas Virag, Local Jews slam union ban idea, The Edmonton Sun, January 7, 2008
Kate Dubinski, Western rejects CUPE call for boycott, The London Free Press, January 8, 2009
CUPE should stay out of politics, Calgary Herald, January 08, 2009
Vanessa Kortekaas, CUPE Ontario leader apologizes for 'Nazi' reference, The Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 2009
Jessica Ireland, Ryan's Israel stance creates rift in CUPE, The Windsor Star, January 09, 2009
Susan Martinuk, Racism is behind push to ban Israeli scholars, The Calgary Herald, January 09, 2009
James Cowan, Right to fight?, National Post, January 10, 2009
Michael Coren, Lecture for a union, Toronto Sun, 10th January 2009
Oren Gross, CUPE Ontario's proposed boycott of Israeli academics is just plain anti-Semitic, The Globe and Mail, January 13, 2009
Kenyon Wallace, Ryan rebuked by national CUPE head, Toronto Star, 14 January 2009
Howard Levitt, Political lobbying doesn't help CUPE member interests, Financial Post, January 14, 2009
Joe Howell, CUPE Ontario proposes to ban Israeli academics from campuses, The Strand, 15 January 2009
Ryan’s rage, Editorial, Canadian Jewish News, January 15, 2009
Murray Teitel, A waste of CUPE's money, Toronto Sun, 15 January 2009
Sid Ryan must go, National Post, 16 January 2009

Responces, Blogs, Newsletters

CUPE Shows Their Colours, Pelalusa Blog, January 05, 2009
CUPE Wants HM Government to Condemn Israel, Dr Roy's Thoughts, January 05, 2009
Israel Academic Boycott Urged by Canada Labor Leader, ZWord Blog, January 06, 2009
CUPE’s Latest Gimmick: Just Plain Wrong, BlogUT (A blog by University of Toronto Students), January 6, 2009
Scratch A Leftist Labour Union, Small Dead Animals, January 06, 2009
CUPE asks that Israeli professors be blacklisted, Keyes, January 06, 2009
CUPE: Ban Israeli academics, The Shotgun Blog, January 07, 2009

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