Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Stop Canadian Apartheid Now!

I think I'm going to start a campaign against Canadian apartheid. After all, in Canada's reserves (native villages) you have to be a native to live there. Isn't that a form of apartheid? The Inuit people, part of Canada's First Nations, live in territories rather than provinces. Why the unequal status? Why are these natives treated differently? Isn't this apartheid?

Accusing Canada of apartheid is patently ridiculous, of course. It's every bit as ridiculous as accusing Israel of apartheid. Either example shows a profound ignorance of the country in question (Canada or Israel) and is an insult to those in South Africa who truly suffered under the apartheid regime.

Despite this every year the University of Toronto hosts Israel Apartheid Week, filled with all sorts of propaganda that goes beyond anti-Israel into outright anti-Semitism. From the description in the Jerusalem Post article:
In 2006, Toronto's IAW featured, among others, Ward Churchill, who has argued that the murder of European Jews was not at all a "fixed policy objective of the Nazis"; As'ad Abu Khalil, who has said that "Israel will have to submit to the will of the Palestinians"; and Ilan Pappe, an Israeli professor who supports Hamas and has called for the dissolution of Israel.

There is some good news in the article: 125 faculty members ran a full page ad in the National Post calling on the University to stop hosting the annual event. They noted:
"...the university would not tolerate homophobia, racism and Islamophobia on campus, and questioned why the school continued to host IAW."

Kudos to these conscientious faculty members and all the other Canadians who have spoken out against this. Perhaps, if the effort to end Israel Apartheid Week fails we can organize Canadian Apartheid Week to point out how ludicrous this is. I can see the banners: "Stop Canadian Apartheid Now!" Hopefully the University of Toronto will come to its senses and no such campaign will be needed.

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heather said...

I would like you to know that despite my being a University of Toronto graduate student, i in no way support the University's condoning student fee money to support anti-Israeli apartheid week. To make matters worse, that sham of a political event (there is no dialogue between groups or even a discussion of what apartheid actually means) is the ONLY use of the considerable funding allocated to the Arab Students' Association. Clearly, all Arabs feel that the Palestinians are in an Apartheid state and there is NOTHING that could be done for Arab students at U of T with that money that would be more useful.
And yes, i went right over to the students protesting the protest and congratulated them on not only having gumption, but also scruples.

Sarah said...

As a fellow U of T grad student, I am ashamed that in a progressive space like our university, there are students like you who continue to engage in right wing, neo-con and Islamaphobic politics. Luckily, there seem to be fewer and fewer of you around, as we move towards a more equitable world. Take stock of your investments in your racism, Heather... the world is a wonderfully diverse place and justice will prevail. People like you will be left behind.

Caitlyn said...

Sarah, I don't see any racism or intolerance or right wing politics in Heather's post. Diversity? Since when does diversity include anti-Semitism and hatred of people just because they are Jewish and Israeli. It seems to me that you are like the pot calling the kettle black. What's truly sad is that you don't see that you are the one being intolerant and opposing diversity of opinions.

ToshaD said...

In response to:
"Accusing Canada of apartheid is patently ridiculous, of course"...
I would implore you to revisit this comment since South African officials travelled to Canada in the late 1930s and early 1940s to model their version of apartheid after our very own system already in place against our First Nation's people. This has truly been Canada's dirty little secret for over 100 years and counting.
-University of Western Student, London, Ontario