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Western rejects CUPE call for boycott

Kate Dubinski, Western rejects CUPE call for boycott, The London Free Press, January 8, 2009

Source: The London Free Press

The University of Western Ontario will not participate in a boycott of Israeli academics called for by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the school's president says.

"I'm very dismayed at the suggestion by CUPE that universities should boycott faculty from Israel," said Western president Paul Davenport.

"We believe in academic freedom . . . it is simply very unwise to try to eliminate interactions between academics."

The Ontario wing of the union sparked outrage this week after calling for a ban on Israeli academics who speak, teach or do research at Ontario universities.

The ban is to protest the Dec. 29 bombing of the Islamic University in Gaza.

"We are ready to say Israeli academics should not be on our campuses unless they explicitly condemn the university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general," said Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario.

But Western's view is that universities should be places of discussion and debate that lead to "academic and world benefit," Davenport said.

Meanwhile, members of London's Jewish community joined national organizations such as B'nai Brith Canada in condemning the call for a ban.

"This blatant and openly discriminatory resolution by CUPE-Ontario against Israeli nationals is in contravention of Canadian Human Rights Law," said Frank Dimant, the national organization's vice- president.

"Public unions should not be used as breeding grounds for negatively singling out one group of people and denying them their basic rights and freedoms."

People on several social networking groups echoed that sentiment, as did Londoner Alan Perlmutter, one of several people organizing a gathering tonight in support of Israel.

"Why does Sid Ryan pick on Israel?" Perlmutter asked.

"Israel is a democracy, and the professors of Israel span all sorts of views and opinions. Some agree with the government and some do not."

Michael Brandt, a London doctor, said yesterday the proposal is "ridiculous" and that Ryan should resign.

"Proposing a ban against a particular group based on their country of origin is discriminatory," Brandt said in an e-mail to The Free Press. "Sid Ryan and CUPE have not made any comments on other areas of conflict, including the genocide in Darfour . . ."


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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