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Ryan rebuked by national CUPE head

By Kenyon Wallace, Toranto Star, January 14, 2009

Source: The Star

Union leader softens stance on boycott of Israeli academics

CUPE's national president has rebuked the union's Ontario leader over his call for a boycott of Israeli academics.

On Jan. 2, Sid Ryan, head of the provincial office of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said in a news release "... we are ready to say Israeli academics should not be on our campuses unless they explicitly condemn the (Islamic) university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general."

Jewish groups condemned the proposal and, yesterday, they were joined by Paul Moist, president of CUPE's national office.

"I believe such a resolution is wrong and would violate the anti-discrimination standards set out in the CUPE Constitution," Moist said in a release.

"I will be using my influence in any debates on such a resolution to oppose its adoption."

In an interview, he added: "We don't discriminate against people based on their nationality."

Yesterday, Ryan, whose union is autonomous from the national office, insisted he and Moist are "on the same page" and that he changed his proposal more than a week ago to focus on Israeli institutions, not individuals.

"In the process of examining academic boycott initiatives by other organizations around the world ... it has become clear that the position is not banning individuals," Ryan said in a CUPE statement yesterday.

"Rather, an academic boycott should focus on issues of investment, partnership, fundraising and joint projects."

Ryan told the Star such a boycott could include asking pension plans to stop investing in Israel's post-secondary education system, and ending partnerships between Canadian and Israeli universities.

"If we're saying that we're not going to be funding universities in Israel, that's not impinging on anybody's academic freedom," Ryan said.

Ryan had initially defended his original proposal, saying "Academic freedom goes both ways."

He did apologize last week for comparing the bombing of Islamic University in Gaza to the actions of the Nazis.


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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