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Friday, November 19, 2010

York University threatens rabbi for wanting to protest Galloway

From Richard Cravatts in Pajamas Media:

York University in Toronto, which has gained for itself the dubious distinction of being Canada’s epicenter of campus anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, is displaying once again the moral inversion that seems to have infected its student body and administration when the issues of the Middle East are discussed.

The issue at hand is a November 16th visit to the York campus by British MP George Galloway, as the invited guest of the York Federation of Students. In 2009, Mr. Galloway had been barred from entering Canada due to his public support of and donations to Hamas, a group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department, Canada, and the EU, but a court has since overturned that decision and given Galloway access to Canada once again.

Not everyone was thrilled with the prospect of having Galloway, who, according to wry commentator Christopher Hitchens is “100 percent consistent in support for thugs and criminals,” arriving on the York campus to spew forth his rabid fulminations against Zionism, Israel, and the West. In particular, Toronto-based Rabbi Ahron Hoch took it upon himself to post an announcement on his Aish web site in which he urged readers to proactively protest Galloway’s appearance, and to take specific steps to inform the greater community about the noxious speaker, including emailing York’s president, calling the dean’s office to lodge a formal complaint, and participating in a rally to be held on the York campus.

Feeling that the Galloway visit was one more contribution to the cesspool of anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian activism that has punctuated the York campus for years now, Rabbi Hoch took York’s president, Mamdouh Shoukri, to task for allowing Galloway to speak “under the pretext of freedom of speech,” even though it “was never meant to be used as a vehicle to spread support for terror, murder and genocide.”

And more relevant to Rabbi Hoch was that York’s president had again failed to take a strong stand to rid his campus of anti-Israelism that frequently has morphed into anti-Semitism. “Mr. Shoukri has again showed his amazing tolerance for anti-Semitism and lack of vigilance regarding the feeling of safety for Jewish students on campus,” Hoch wrote.

Rabbi Hoch did receive a response from the university, but not the one he had probably hoped for. In fact, what he received was a formal letter from Harriet Lewis, York’s general counsel, who ordered the rabbi, in no uncertain terms, to remove the announcement “from [his] web site and to direct [his] supporters to cease and desist” any further distribution of the online poster. Why was the university demanding these steps? Because it believed that Hoch’s comment about President Shoukri was “untrue, harmful to [him] and his reputation, and to that of the university.” More ominously, the university considered the rabbi’s words “actionable,”( read: criminal), and expected “a retraction and apology forthwith.”

The letter also warned Hoch that his request for individuals to come to the York campus to protest Galloway’s appearance “might disturb and provoke others to disturb the peace” and “that this too is actionable and may constitute criminal behavior.”
The article goes on to detail specific, abhorrent incidents at York where misozionistic speech is allowed and pro-Israel speakers are protested and stopped from speaking by the Israel-hating mob.

I managed to find a cached copy of the entire message posted by Rabbi Hoch. See if you think it is beyond the pale, compared to the vitriol and protests that York allows against pro-Israel speakers:

Urgent Message! George Galloway at York University
It has been brought to my attention that the York Federation of Students is presenting George Galloway at York University, Tuesday, November 16 • 7:00pm - 9:00pm.

George Galloway is a known supporter of Hamas and an activist for terrorist organizations.

Using the language of a humanitarian and an anti-war activist, he openly supports Hamas and Hezbollah, who are utterly committed to the destruction of Israel. They are movements who target civilians, have no compunction to commit atrocities for the sake of their cause, and to whom life is cheap!

Mamdouh Shoukri, President of York, defends the decision to allow him to speak under the pretext of Freedom of Speech. The concept of Freedom of Speech was never meant to be used as a vehicle to spread support for terror, murder and genocide.

Mr. Shoukri has again showed his amazing tolerance for anti-Semitism and lack of vigilance regarding the feeling of safety for Jewish students on campus. This needs to be strongly protested.

Here are some things we can do:

1) Write to the Mamdouh Shoukri, office of the President and Vice-Chancellor, York University Research Tower, Room 1050, 74 York Blvd, ON, M3J 1P3 or email mshoukri@yorku.ca.

2) Call the Dean’s office and make an official complaint - 416 736 5200.

3) Attend the rally against the event. This will take place on the York campus

Tuesday Nov 16 6:30-9:00pm
Outside the Price Family Cinema, Accolade East 102

4) Get 10 of your friends to do one of the above.
It is important that not only students but members of the general public take part in protesting this outrage.

In the words of Prime Minister Stephen Harper "we are morally obligated to take a stand [against anti-Semitism and the forces that want to see Israel destroyed]. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization [of Israel], the 3 D’s, it is a responsibility, to stand up to them."

Rabbi Ahron Hoch
York University is a cesspool.

Here is a radio interview with Rabbi Hoch.