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CAEF Letter to President, University of Manitoba requesting reinstatement of SSI chapter as a student club

Dear Dr. Michael Benarroch,


I am writing to express our deep concern and strong objection to the recent decision of the University of Manitoba's Student Union to revoke the registration of the Students Supporting Israel (SSI) chapter as a student group on campus.


As a decades old registered charitable organization defending freedom of religion, freedom of expression and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms while combating the rising tide of hatred and antisemitism in Canada, which is especially pronounced at universities, the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation finds it appalling that the Students Supporting Israel club has been denied status by the U of M student government.

 

This decision is a grave injustice and a clear violation of the principles of free speech, diversity, and inclusivity that are not only U of M's institution values, but also the principles held by all Canadians. SSI co-hosted a Palestinian Peace Speaker and Journalist, Bassem Eid, during an event pre-approved by the student union. Student agitators affiliated with the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) filed a formal complaint against this event due to "discomfort," after blasting negative comments and rhetoric on their social media against SSI at the University of Manitoba. Their discomfort is firstly, not justification for cancelling a student club and secondly, rather a bitter expression of their disagreement with an Arab who supports Israel's rights, has lived his whole life seeking peace not conflict with his Jewish neighbors, and has the truth and intellectual integrity to speak up when Israel and the Jewish people are being threatened by a genocidal extremist Islamist terrorist entity. 

It is unfortunate that SJP stands with the inciters of hatred and the attackers of October 7th, 2023 and that surely does not give them any credibility when it comes to determining the rights of Jews to have a club on campus.


By revoking SSI's registration, the Student Union is not only silencing a minority voice but also creating a chilling effect on free speech and open discourse on campus. This decision sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the very fabric of your academic community. 


We urge you, as President of the University of Manitoba, to exercise your leadership and veto this decision. You must demonstrate that you uphold the principles of academic freedom, diversity, and inclusivity by ensuring that SSI is allowed to continue operating as a registered student group on campus, fostering a necessary perspective that encourages both sides of a very critical situation to have a platform - not just that of SJP. You must take decisive action to remove antisemitic rhetoric and behaviour from your campus.


Thank you for your attention to this matter.  We look forward to your response and immediate action on to remedy this situation.


Sincerely,




Andria Spindel,

Executive Director

Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation

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