NON –CONFIDENCE VOTE IN OTTAWA; ELECTION CALL EXPECTED SOON
Earlier today the House of Commons passed a non-confidence motion which means a federal election will soon be called. FSWC urges all our donors and supporters to get involved in this election to ensure the voice of our community is heard and that the most important Canadian values of tolerance and human rights remain top of mind with all candidates. As the election campaign heats up FSWC will continue to work to educate the candidates on issues of hatred and anti-semitism, and to ensure that issues such as the most recent anti-Israel “third intifada” Facebook site are raised with and addressed by those running for office.
FSWC PARENTS CONCERNED ABOUT SENDING THEIR CHILDREN TO MCGILL
Further to FastForward’s headline article last week about the death threats against Jewish students at McGill University posted via Twitter, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) supporters wrote numerous letters to the McGill administration outlining their concerns for their children’s safety, and questioning the wisdom of sending their children to the university. The following statement is typical:
“I have a son attending McGill…..I have another son who is now deciding which University to attend next year. Unless I’m mistaken McGill has chosen to allow Israel Apartheid Week to flourish in it’s halls of education and last week, chose not to take action against a McGill student that appears to have been making death threats on his twitter account. Please advise if the foregoing is true and what you would recommend that I tell my youngest son in relation to McGill’s position on these issues.”
This week the university Principal, Heather Munroe-Blum, addressed the issue in The McGill Reporter. In her statement she reiterated the need for tolerance and civil discourse on campus, and commented on the investigation into the student who issued the threats, stating, “Quebec’s privacy law prevents me from describing the University’s actions with an individual student, but the procedures followed by McGill authorities in this circumstance, as they would under any such circumstance, reflected a practiced protocol that involves informing Montreal police the instant a threat is perceived, and assisting police with their investigation in every way possible.”
The student who made the threats, Haaris Khan, also wrote an apology in the McGill Tribune in which he states that he is an “anti-Zionist” and that his actions
“… had little to do with the movie itself and more to do with the negative attitude I had going into the event, my pre-existing ideological differences with those at the event, and the fact that I wasn’t in the right state of mind at the time.”
“The statements by this student, who made some very violent threats against Jewish university students, demonstrates how Israel Apartheid Week activities destroys the culture of civil discourse that should prevail at our universities, and replaces it with hatred and destructive feelings,” said Avi Benlolo, Human Rights activist and President and CEO of FSWC. “If you read Khan’s statement, this link is crystal clear.”
Zach Paikin, one of the students targeted by Khan’s threats, remains unimpressed by his apology. “Khan’s attempt to justify his actions by stating that he is anti-Zionist and not antisemitic is too little too late. The comments that were made are impossible to take back. I still expect the McGill administration to take serious and severe action in order to both protect the safety of McGill students as well as establish a clear policy that antisemitic death threats will not ever be tolerated.”
CLICK HERE to read the full text of Principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s statement in the McGill Reporter
CLICK HERE to read the full text of Haaris Khan’s apology in the McGill Tribune
FSWC CONDEMNS TERRORIST BOMBING AT JERUSALEM BUS STATION
In a Press Release distributed to media across the country, FSWC condemned the terrorist bombing at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, linking the incident to the wider instability in the Arab world.
“As unrest and revolution continues to spread across the Arab world, Hamas terrorists are trying to deflect protests against its leadership in Gaza by launching renewed attacks against Israel with over 50 rockets landing in Israel over recent days,” said Avi Benlolo, human rights activist and President and CEO of FSWC. “These attacks cannot be ignored by Israel, whose very existence is threatened by a terrorist organization supported by Iran and dedicated to its destruction. It is time for world leaders to support Israel and take a firm stand against the terror Israel is faced with every single day,” he added.
The bombing- the first in Jerusalem in six years, killed 55 year old Mary Jean Gardner, a Scottish Bible translator learning Hebrew in order to translate the Old Testament into Ife, a language spoken in Togo, West Africa.
CLICK HERE to read the full release
ONTARIO MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP & CULTURE HIGHLIGHTS COMMON GROUND WITH FSWC
Ontario Minister of Citizenship & Culture, Dr. Eric Hoskins, highlighted the common ground between FSWC and his Ministry when FSWC thanked the MPP for statements he made in the Ontario Legislature against the anti-semitic Peto thesis in December. In a statement to the National Post this past winter Dr. Hoskins said, "I rose in the House to condemn all anti-Semitism, a particularly vile and pernicious form of discrimination… The lessons to be learned from the Holocaust are pivotal, not just for the Jewish community, but for all Ontarians." At a meeting with FSWC earlier this week Dr. Hoskins reaffirmed this stance, noting, “It was a rebuttal that was required. It’s a garbage thesis.”
Further discussion with the Minister centered on the common goals of FSWC and the Ministry, including the promotion of a tolerant and hate-free society. According to Avi Benlolo, “The Minister was familiar with our work and our community, and he expressed strong interest in many of our programs. We look forward to working more closely with Dr. Hoskins on many of our tolerance and education-based initiatives in the future.”
Commenting on the tragic bombing in Jerusalem earlier that day the Minister said, “I’ve got the greatest respect for the work you do… there is a lot of work we have to do to fight hate, racism and anti-semitism and it’s a big responsibility we all bear.”
CLICK HERE to read Dr. Hoskins’ statement on the Jerusalem bombing
FSWC PETITIONS TORONTO CITY COUNCILLORS AS BATTLE OVER GAY PRIDE PARADE RESUMES
As the annual battle to remove hate from the Toronto Gay Pride parade begins in advance of the July 3 event, FSWC has written to all City Councillors asking their support to ensure that the parade is free of anti-semitic and anti-Israeli vitriol.
“It is the position of FSWC and an overwhelming majority of provincial and federal politicians, community groups and members of the general public that this type of politicized, polarizing and discriminatory activity be disallowed. It should certainly not be subsidized by the City of Toronto… Interestingly, despite the ongoing unrest in the Middle East and the desperate attempts by millions of Arabs in countries from Bahrain and Libya to Syria and Tunis to gain the rights and freedoms both Jews and Arabs enjoy in Israel, Quaia persists in demonizing Israel while ignoring the very real terror and brutality faced by Arab citizens on a daily basis; through its support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement it continues to call for the destruction of the only democracy in the Middle East. It is difficult for Jews in Toronto and beyond to see this as anything but pure anti-semitism, and we believe Quaia’s continuing attacks on our community must end.”
The letter commends the Mayor for his strong stand in support of the Jewish community, and looks to City Council to fund the parade only if it is welcoming, inclusive and free of all discrimination.
CLICK HERE to read the full text of the letter to Toronto City Councillors