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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.

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

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