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Local Jews slam union ban idea

Tamas Virag, Local Jews slam union ban idea, The Edmonton Sun, January 7, 2008

Source: The Edmonton Sun

Members of the local Israeli and Jewish communities are outraged by a proposed resolution by a major Ontario union to ban Israeli academics from that province's universities.

"I think it's sad and it's frustrating that this is what (the Canadian Union of Public Employees) is coming out with," said Israel-born U of A professor Yonatan Reshef, in reaction to CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan's announcement that his organization is proposing "a ban on Israeli academics doing speaking, teaching or research work at Ontario universities," who do not explicitly condemn Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip.

The announcement came in reaction to a Dec. 29 attack on an Islamic university in Gaza, which Israel claimed was affiliated with the ruling Hamas party.

"Israel is fighting, as sad as it is ... for its right to live a normal life," Reshef said. "I never heard anything from CUPE in the past eight years when Israelis have been under continuous missile attacks from the Gaza Strip. I never heard anything from them when Israelis were killed."

Reshef said it is "very possible" that CUPE's proposal pushes the boundaries of basic human rights.

Steve Shafir, spokesman for the Edmonton Jewish Federation, agrees.

"What they're trying to do is a breach of the fundamental rights guaranteed to all citizens and all peoples of Canada in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," he said.

"We're talking about institutions of higher learning where people should be entitled to express what they want. They should be entitled to freedom of thought, freedom of expression."

Both men are upset that, under the proposed resolution, Israeli academics would have to make their views public before a possible ban from universities.

"I don't think it's fair at all. Have they asked, for instance, academics of Saudi descent to explicitly denounce the Sept. 11 (2001) attacks?" Shafir asked.

"There might be some cases, if the professor spread hatred, for example, (or) if he believes in racism, then I think there might be a basis for such an action, but this is a political issue," Reshef said. "This is a case where, I think, a country is doing what it should have done perhaps years ago and I can't see any justification for such action by CUPE."


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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