At the University of Toronto, at York University, at McMaster University and at the University of Western Ontario, there has been a flagrant exercise of anti-Semitic propaganda in the guise of free speech rights (“Students, faculty mobilize on campus,” CJN, April 17). Specifically, it takes the form of “Israeli Apartheid Week” or “Students against Israeli Apartheid.” The use of the “apartheid” term is patently false. It is contrived and knowingly intended to delegitimize the Jewish state. I would remind all that it was the votes of five Arab members of the Knesset that gave former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin the necessary 61 votes to pass those Oslo accords that rescued former Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat, who was in disgrace over his support of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
We must act now, in order to make the universities pay attention to our concerns, or more accurately, our revulsion. Here’s what I intend to do.
• U of T is in its annual charity campaign. I am telling the caller that I will not donate any amount.
• I make it clear that the reason I reject their request for donation is because I cannot support an institution that permits the blatant practise of anti-Semitism, which undoubtedly is what the “apartheid” campaign signifies.
• I will donate the money that would have gone to U of T to an Israeli charity.
• When I am approached by any of the other universities for money, I will repeat this practice.
• I intend to use the Internet to spread this message, and I invite others to do the same.
If enough small donors act in this way, it is bound to have an impact. I invite all donors, big and small, to protest this unconscionable proliferation of anti-Semitism on university campuses by withdrawing their financial support from these institutions.
Germany’s motives for friendship
Deservedly, in my opinion, Yoni Goldstein’s cynical view of Germany’s motives for its expressions of friendship and support of Israel appears on the penultimate page of your April 3 Toronto issue (“Israel’s ‘special’ friend”). At a time when there is no shortage of international animosity toward the country, do we really need to slap our friends in the face? As an 83-year-old former German Jew who had the fortune to escape from Germany in 1937 but who lost a number of family members and friends in the Shoah, I think it is time to accept that the majority of Germans and their government sincerely believe in the justice of Israel’s existence (as well as in that of a Palestinian state) and and have the guts to voice their support. Yes, there are anti-Semites in Germany, as elsewhere, but I also know of a number of continuing efforts by individual Germans to ensure that the crimes of 1933 to 1945 perpetrated by the forebears are not forgotten. They do not do this in order to “bolster Germany’s place in the world.”
B’nai Brith expulsion
I recently learned of Lou Ronson’s expulsion from B’nai Brith Canada (“B’nai Brith expels members for ‘conduct unbecoming,’” CJN, March 6). When an organization expels one of its oldest and most distinguished members, what remains of the organization? It was ironic that he was prohibited from entering the B’nai Brith building when he would have been an honoured guest at other Jewish and social justice institutions. Someone should have had the courage to sign Ronson’s expulsion letter, but then again, who would want to tarnish their name by signing such a document – certainly no one at B’nai Brith Canada headquarters.