CAEF Statement of Support to UofT Faculty of Law

CAEF COMMENDS THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO FACULTY OF LAW FOR RECINDING HIRE OFFER TO ANTIZIONIST ACADEMIC—IHRA MUST BE ADOPTED AT ALL UNIVERSITIES TO FIGHT ANTISEMITIC LIES


We have been watching an event unfold in Toronto that is becoming a typical university travesty: recruitment of antisemites to key posts and increased antisemitism/antiZionism on campus. Recently there has been controversy at the University of Toronto Law Faculty regarding the position of Director of International Human Rights Program (IHRP) and Dr. Valentina Azarova, an avowed antiZionist whose work showers venom and lies about Israel. That Dr. Azarova would be the top candidate is very disturbing. Due to some suggested intervention, the Dean did not follow through with an offer. We believe that all people of good conscience should be concerned about this matter. It is time to be loud and proud and stand up for Israel, against antiZionism and against Jew-hatred.

We are issuing the attached rebuttal to be posted on our website and sent to mainstream media and others, along with the link to the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel statement that prompted this response. The intent of the pro-Palestinian statement is to have the university offer the appointment to Dr. Azarova. We are concerned that the Dean or others might come under fire for negating a committee decision, if such an offer has indeed been rescinded. We think it is time the University of Toronto and all its departments and divisions adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and implement it.

THE CANADIAN ANTISEMITISM EDUCATION FOUNDATION


Supports the University of Toronto’s Decision to Not Appoint an AntiZionist to the Faculty of Law and Urges Adoption of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism


It is deeply troubling that any academic institution in Canada would intentionally support the appointment of any scholar or educator, especially for a Faculty of Law at a Canadian university department, who does not recognize truth and uphold justice as the sine qua non of good practice and ethical teaching. The fact that an offer of employment was ever considered for Dr. Valentina Azarova by the University of Toronto was a serious error, and suggests as well a serious bias and lack of good judgment by the Hiring Committee for the position of Director of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP).


Until the recent decision to cancel or not act on a U of T hiring committee’s decision to offer an employment contract (CAEF has not confirmed the offer was formally made or just recommended), the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law might have been run by Dr. Valentina Azarova. Dr. Azarov might have been found guilty of antisemitism using several of the criteria determined by the working definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) of which Canada is a signatory, and this would have hurt the Jewish students, faculty, administration and our community, as well as misinformed and potentially alienated hundreds of students from a positive informed view of Israel and Jews.

Since the cancellation of this offer (CAEF has not confirmed that the offer was officially made or just recommended), a petition has been circulating complaining about the suppression of free speech at the U of T and across Canada. The author of this petition, Azeezah Kanji, writes very misleading statements, distorts or ignores history and truth, and repeats false claims about the IHRA. The fact is well-documented that across North American campuses, including those in Canada, a leftist bias has all but eliminated the truth about relations between Israeli Jews and Arabs, and those Arabs living under the domination of two terror regimes -- Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria (referred to as the ‘West Bank’ by those who seek to wipe out Jewish history). There is no country called Palestine and never has been, so the very title of the “Statement on Palestine Speech Suppression..” circulated by Azeezah Kanji and supported by her preferred candidate, Valentina Azarova, and the many signatories to her petition, indicates clearly the political bias and anti-Israel bigotry inherent in the entire commotion she is creating.


That lies have no bounds and are enhanced with every telling, or to quote the old adage, lies travel faster than truths is very concerning in this era of rapid communication and increasing antisemitism.


CAEF is concerned with the misstatements published by Ms. Kanji (See below) and which are refuted below (in blue italics) by CAEF.


“… pervasive repression of speech and scholarship on Palestine.”


THERE IS NO REPRESSION OF SPEECH, NOR IS THERE VALID SCHOLARSHIP RELATED TO A PLACE THAT SOME CALL PALESTINE. HOW CAN THERE BE SOMETHING AKIN TO SCHOLARSHIP WHEN IT IS BASED ON FABRICATIONS—A FABRICATED HISTORY, A FABRICATED COUNTRY, A FABRICATED PEOPLE?


“Lawyers, academics, journalists, teachers, artists, students, activists and trade unions in Canada have been subjected to smear campaigns, event cancellations, physical violence, professional disciplinary measures and condemnation… for opposing Israel’s gross violations of international law and expressing solidarity with Palestinians.”


THE TRUTH IS QUITE DIFFERENT AS THE MAJORITY OF EVENT CANCELLATIONS, VIOLATIONS, THREATS AND INTIMIDATIONS ON ALL COLLEGE AND UNIVESITY CAMPUSES IN CANADA, THE US AND EUROPE ARE AGAINST JEWS, CONSERVATIVE VOICES, AND AGAINST THOSE OPPOSED TO THE LIES AND BIGOTRIES OF THE “PRO-PALESTINIAN ANTI-ISRAEL CAMPAIGNERS.


THE BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS PROPONENTS CARE NOT AT ALL ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS OR JUSTICE OR THEY WOULD CAMPAIGN FOR HAMAS AND THE PA TO STOP JAILING AND KILLING ARABS WHO EXPRESS AN INTEREST IN PEACE.


“The clamp down threatens to be further exacerbated by the institutionalization of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.”


INDEED, AS WAS LEARNED FROM THE NAZIS, WHO WERE SUPPORTED ENTIRELY BY THE ARAB MUSLIM GRAND MUFTI OF JERUSALEM, THE FIRST LINE OF DESTRUCTION OF JEWS IS THROUGH LANGUAGE, LIES, DESPICABLE IMAGES AND FALSE CLAIMS, SO IN 2020 THE JEWS ARE NOT GOING TO STAND FOR IT.


JEWS AND THEIR ALLIES, PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL ON ALL SIDES OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM ARE DENYING THE BIGOTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEFAME THE JEWISH NATIONAL HOMELAND USING THE SAME LIES AND TROPES USED FOR CENTURIES AGAINST JEWS.


IT STOPS NOW WITH ADOPTION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE INTERNATIOAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ALLIANCE (IHRA) DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM, WITH COUNTERING THE HOSTILE, ANTIZIONIST PROPAGANDA, AND TEACHING TRUTH. ARABS WHO LIVE IN ISRAEL AND MAKE UP 20% OF THE POPULATION HAVE THE BEST LIFE OF ALL MUSLIMS IN THE MIDDLE EAST- FULL EQUALITY- THE ARAB POPULATION HAS GROWN SUBSTANTIALLY IN NUMBER PROVING THERE IS NO GENOCIDE.


THE LIES AGAINST THE JEWISH STATE ABOUND BUT WITH IHRA THIS MUST STOP!


“…the danger of legally conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism.”


THE REAL DANGER IS IN IGNORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ANTI-ZIONISM AND ANTISEMITISM. WELL RESEARCHED STUDIES BY AMCHA INITIATIVE AND OTHERS HAVE SHOWN THAT AS ANTI-ISRAEL BDS CAMPAIGNS INCREASE ON CAMPUS SO DOES HATE AND THREATS TO THE SAFETY OF JEWISH STUDENTS.

THE DEPICTIONS OF ISRAEL ARE FAMILIAR FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN JEW HATRED. ZIONISM IS THE OLDEST CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND IS THE THIRD PILLAR OF JUDIASM-- THE BELIEF IN GOD, THE TORAH AND ISRAEL ARE KEY ELEMENTS OF THE FAITH.


DENYING ZIONISM OR PORTRAYING IT AS SOMETHING IT IS NOT, IS PART OF THE EVIL CABAL AGAINST JEWS.


WHERE IS THE ANTI-ARAB CAMPAIGN DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF MINORITIES -- RIGHTS WHICH DO NOT EXIST IN MOST ARAB COUNTRIES? WHERE IS THE ANTI-CHINA CAMPAIGN FOR ITS TREATMENT OF TIBETANS, OF MUSLIMS AND OTHER MINORITIES? IT APPEARS TO BE ONLY ISRAEL THAT THE SO-CALLED SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS CHOOSE TO VILIFY. THAT PRETTY MUCH SUMS UP ANTISEMITISM.


“…The intensification of Palestinian oppression and dispossession, with Israel’s planned formal annexation of Palestinian territory—“


THE BASELESS CLAIMS BY VALENTINA AZAROVA AND AZEEZAH KANJI AND MANY OF THE ANTI-ISRAEL, JEW-HATING SIGNATORIES TO KANJI’S STATEMENT, ARE EVIDENCE to SUPPORT THE REASONING THAT LED TO THE WITHDRAWAL OF AN OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT TO A SO-CALLED ACADEMIC WHOSE WORK MASQUERADES AS ANTIZIONISM BUT IS TRULY ANTISEMITIC. CONSIDERING ANTI-ZIONISM IS HER DISCIPLINE, IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE U OF T TO IDENTIFY THE DANGER OF PUTTING AZAROVA IN FRONT OF A CLASSROOM.


WHY WOULD A CANADIAN UNIVERSITY PROVIDE AN AMPHITHEATRE TO LIES ABOUT ARAB OPPRESSION WHEN THE OPPERSSOR HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PALESTINIAN-ARABS?


WHY ALLOW LIES ABOUT DISPOSSESSION WHEN UNDER OTTOMAN LAW, WHICH GOVERNS THE JEWS IN JUDEA AND SAMARIA, THE LAND THAT WAS VACANT CAN BE CLAIMED BY ANY WHO SETTLE THERE? HOW IS IT THAT AZAROVA IS NOT CONCERNED WITH LAND THAT THE ARABS HAVE ILLEGALLY GRABBED IN AREA C WHICH WAS DESIGNATED FOR JEWS UNDER THE OSLO ACCORDS?


WHY WOULD ANY HONEST FACULTY DEPARTMENT OR ADMINISTRATION ALLOW THE TEACHING OF LIES AND FOMENTING OF ANTISEMITISM IN THE CLASSROOM?


THERE WAS NEVER ANY NOTION OF ANNEXATION, AND LEGAL EXPERTS OUGHT TO KNOW HOW TO USE CORRECT TERMINOLOGY. ISRAEL HAS BEEN CONSIDERING EXTENDING ISRAELI SOVEREIGNTY OVER AREAS THAT ARE INHABTIED BY JEWS NOW AND WILL REMAIN SO INHABITED AS PART OF THE AREA AGREED TO BY THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY IN THE OSLO ACCORDS AS ISRAELI TERRITORY.


CURRENTLY ISRAELI JEWS IN JUDEA AND SAMARIA LIVE UNDER OTTOMAN LAW AND THE ARABS IN AREA A, DESIGNATED FOR THEIR FUTURE COUNTRY, LIVE UNDER JORDANIAN LAW. YET, ALL ARE PROVIDED SECURITY BY ISRAELI MILITARY LAW. THE JEWS WANT TO NORMALIZE THEIR LIVES BY HAVING EVERYTHING IN THEIR AREA COME UNDER ISRAELI CIVIL LAW. THIS IS NOT ANNEXATION! THE WORD IS USED BY THOSE WHO LIE ABOUT ISRAEL, AND MAKE IT A POINT TO ALWAYS HIDE THE TRUTH.


“..activists have been criminally convicted for their support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign pressuring Israel…”


ABSOLUTELY PEOPLE SHOULD BE CONVICTED FOR SUPPORT OF THE BDS MOVEMENT FOR AT LEAST TWO REASONS—DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE ONLY JEWISH STATE WHICH IS ANTISEMITIC AND AGAINST CANADIAN COMMERCIAL LAW—AND SUPPORTS A TERRORIST AGENDA.


THE FOUNDER OF BDS MAKES NO APOLOGIES AND STATES CLEARLY THAT THE GOAL OF BDS IS THE TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL. THAT IS A CALL TO GENOCIDE AND INCITEMENT IS AGAINST THE LAW, HERE AND IN FRANCE, ENGLAND, THE US AND MOST WESTERN NATIONS.


THERE IS NO CALL TO BOYCOTT THE WORLD’S WORST NATIONS WHICH AFFORD FEW OR NO HUMAN RIGHTS, SUCH AS TURKEY, QATAR, CHINA, OR RUSSIA WHICH OUTLAWED LGBTQ FOLKS, OR EGYPT WHICH HAS SEEN A HUGE RISE IN ANTI-CHRISTIAN INCITEMENT, OR NIGERIA WHERE CHRISTIANS ARE MURDERED WITH SEEMING REGULARITY.


BDS IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS OR HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN BUT A MAJOR SMEAR CAMPAIGN BY IGNORANT PEOPLE STIRRED UP BY ACADEMICS, FALSE NEWS STORIES, AND OTHER JEW-HATERS. YES, THERE ARE JEWS SIGNING ON TO THESE LIES, BURYING THEIR HEADS TO THE TRUTH BECAUSE THEY WANT TO ALIGN WITH THOSE THEY HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED TO CONSIDER OPPRESSED.


JEWS WILL NOT STAND ON THE SIDELINES OF HISTORY, WILL NOT SUCCUMB TO HATE-FILLED PROPAGANDA, AND WILL NOT BE SILENT IN THE FACE OF BIGOTRY.

THERE CAN BE NO EFFECTIVE IHRP WITHOUT THE IHRA—THE CRITICAL TOOL FOR FIGHTING ANTISEMITIC HATRED!! ALL CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES ARE URGED TO IMMEDIATELY ADOPT IHRA AND THEN MONITOR STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND FACULTY MEMBERS TO ENSURE THAT ANTISEMITISM IS STAMPED OUT ON CAMPUS!

September 25, 2020

Statement on Palestine Speech Suppression and Univeristy of Toronto Faculty of Law

STATEMENT TEXT: As lawyers and academics, we are deeply troubled and exasperated by the pervasive repression of speech and scholarship on Palestine. This includes recent reports that University of Toronto’s Faculty of law rescinded an employment offer to noted international human rights scholar Dr Valentina Azarova, following a complaint by a sitting judge regarding her research on Israel’s occupation policies. The reported treatment of Dr Azarova is consistent with a broader and intensifying climate of suppression. Lawyers, academics, journalists, teachers, artists, students, activists, and trade unions in Canada have been subjected to smear campaigns, event cancellations, physical violence, professional disciplinary measures, and condemnation by the Prime Minister and other political leaders, for opposing Israel’s gross violations of international law and expressing solidarity with Palestinians. (for examples see [2]) In August, Indigenous CBC journalist Duncan McCue was required to apologize simply for using the word “Palestine” on-air. The situation in Canada mirrors that in other countries. In the United States, for example, 1,494 incidents targeting free speech were reported to NGO Palestine Legal from 2014 to 2019; 74% were directed at students and academics at universities. In France, rights activists have been criminally convicted for their support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign pressuring Israel to comply with international law. This criminalization was recently condemned by the European Court of Human Rights as a violation of freedom of expression. The clamp-down threatens to be further exacerbated by the institutionalization of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. As a 2018 letter from more than 40 Jewish organizations around the world warns: “The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which is increasingly being adopted or considered by western governments, is worded in such a way as to be easily adopted or considered by western governments to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.” A statement signed by more than 400 academics opposes the implementation of this definition in Canada for this reason. Even the original drafter of the IHRA definition, Kenneth Stern, has cautioned against “enshrin[ing] this definition into law” due to the danger of legally conflating anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Yet Ontario’s Bill 168 proposes to do precisely that, by mandating use of the IHRA definition to interpret anti-discrimination and anti-hate laws. Motions to adopt this problematic definition have also been tabled in municipal councils across the country. The intensification of speech repression coincides with the intensification of Palestinian oppression and dispossession, with Israel’s planned formal annexation of Palestinian territory - denounced by 48 UN human rights experts as the "crystallisation of an already unjust reality." In the face of these gross and flagrant transgressions, it is vital that the space for scholarship, speech, and activism in defence of the most basic rights of Palestinians be preserved. This includes the work of scholars like Dr Azarova. It is highly perturbing when academic institutions and law faculties – instead of protecting free speech and fundamental rights – are participants in the suppression. We call on the University of Toronto Faculty of Law to restore Dr Azarova’s employment offer and issue an apology. We also call on the Canadian Judicial Council to investigate the conduct of the judge who complained about Dr Azarova’s appointment. And we call on all academic and government institutions to cease subjecting those defending justice for Palestinians to censorship and penalization.

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