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Week of April 24

Tags: Letters
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BDS: A prof’s response

I was very impressed by the article written by Marc Newburgh and Raphael Szajnfarber (“Why we must fight BDS on campus,” The CJN, April 10) outlining clear reasons and the rationales for opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)campaigns that are being supported by student groups on many university campuses. As a professor at the University of Toronto (where the Graduate  Student Union has endorsed BDS), I am ashamed that Canadian students would support such tripe without any critical thought or an attempt to gather all pertinent information so that they’d realize that these charges are completely without merit.

Given what is happening, it is time for all right-minded professors who teach in universities where student unions have embraced the BDS movement to begin to withdraw their services, or at least “work to rule.” This might seem to be an overreaction particularly since university administrations have virtually universally repudiated any involvement in BDS campaigns. While I recognize and appreciate this support, I would point out, however, that the students who currently support the BDS movement are our future politicians, leaders in business, academics, professionals, and university administrators. Unless the students who support BDS campaigns mature in later life and realize the error of their ways, and I think that this is unlikely, we will find ourselves in a very hostile environment.

I have decided that until this insanity stops, I plan to work to rule. The time has come for professors (and administrations) to react unequivocally and to reject the actions perpetrated by students or staff who support BDS campaigns against Israel. There has to be consequences attached to the support for the racism underlying BDS campaigns, which is why mere rejection of BDS campaigns by university administrators may no longer constitute an adequate response.

 

Howard Tenenbaum

Thornhill, Ont.

 

What Trudeau said

Instead of working to build broader consensus around support for Israel, Conservative MP Joyce Bateman is using the Jewish state to play politics (“Did Trudeau really say that,” The CJN, April 10).

Bateman attacked Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for comments he made to a Persian newspaper, claiming that he wants to “shift away from support for Israel…undermine Israel’s place in the world by opposing our efforts to defend their right to exist… [and] proclaiming his desire to befriend a radical regime that is determined to destroy the state of Israel.”

The problem? Not a word of it is true.

An unedited video of the interview proves that Trudeau never said anything of the sort. He is a steadfast supporter and friend of Israel who has long stood against threats to its security and prosperity, including the dangerous potential posed by a nuclear-armed Iran.

So what did Trudeau actually say?

That “whether it’s positioning around Israel or working closely with the United States, [Stephen Harper is] very, very focused on what is going to play well at the ballot box.”

He was talking about the Conservative’s “megaphone diplomacy” of talking a lot, but doing little. It makes headlines at home, but does not make real progress. This approach has damaged Canada’s reputation around the world, undermining our ability to work with others on pressing global challenges like climate change, arms control and refugee settlement.

Trudeau also said that “there are very, very real concerns about the government in Iran that need to be addressed, but one has to make sure that you think about the citizens of Iran and the Iranian government differently. I worry that this is a nuance that this government doesn’t actually appreciate or understand.”

Indeed, the only way to secure a lasting peace is for Canada to engage with the people of Iran, to let them know that we stand in solidarity with their democratic aspirations.

Marc Garneau

MP, Liberal Party Foreign Affairs Critic

Ottawa

 

Yasher koach

Congratulations! Yasher koach – your new look is terrific. I am so glad you are now including Atlantic Canada in your articles and distribution.

Merle Kastner

Montreal

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