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CUPE’s Latest Gimmick: Just Plain Wrong

Source: Julia Bolotina, CUPE’s Latest Gimmick: Just Plain Wrong, blogUT, January 6, 2009

Today CUPE Ontario announced that it would “CUPE Ontario’s university workers committee will bring a resolution to its annual conference supporting a ban on Israeli academics doing speaking, teaching or research work at Ontario universities…unless they explicitly condemn the university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general,” (CUPE Ontario).

Now, last I checked, Canada’s society was largely based on a little piece of paper called the “Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” And in a section curiously labelled “Fundamental Freedoms” this little piece of paper says

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association. (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms)

I don’t know about you, but I think those are pretty important rights. And these rights, especially clause “b)” are being severely threatened by CUPE’s new resolution. They are essentially forcing academics to not only hold but publicly express a certain opinion, and threatening to take away their livelihood if they refuse. True, as a non-governmental organization CUPE is not legally bound by the charter, but it is morally bound by it, and subsequent legislation also identifies these as illegal grounds of discrimination against employees.

Legal mumbo-jumbo aside, CUPE’s proposed resolution is just plain wrong. It singles certain individuals out based on nothing but their race/place of birth, and puts them in a position where they must either potentially go against their conscience or lose their jobs. Your opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are irrelevant in this case. There are lots of groups that do questionable things, but it is the very basis of our society to not judge the individual on the actions of the group. To single academics out from our campuses because they belong to a certain race or had the mis/fortune to be born in a certain country is bigotry and racism. When a powerful union like CUPE does this and then forces them to hold and publicly defend a certain set of opinions is more than a little terrifying. This is bigotry. This is wrong. And this has no place in our society.

Reproduced at Zionism On The Web with permission of the author.