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Week of March 3, 2016

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Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO
Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO

How to fight BDS

Like other university graduates, I get many emails asking for donations. A few weeks ago, I was beginning to think it was about time to give something, but put everything on hold when I learned that the students at McMaster University  had voted in one of those ill-informed boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns that have been sweeping university campuses. I was even more upset when I read that the president did little more than suggest to the press that the students’ union did not represent the university. Is he really unaware that students are the raison d’être for a university?

Not only do I consider a McMaster BDS campaign to be an insult to the credibility of the university, I consider it to be an attack upon my heritage and upon me personally.

Although I consider it chutzpah to want to boycott me and ask for my money at the same time, I did decide to go ahead with a donation, but instead of sending it to the university, I sent it to McMaster Hillel. Until some semblance of sanity returns to academia, I would encourage other Jewish university alumni to do as I did.

Marvin Silbert

Toronto

I am extremely disappointed in NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s decision to vote against condemning the BDS movement.

Doing so and encouraging the caucus to do so is an affront to Canadian values (“Anti-BDS motion supported by Liberal, Tory MPs”).

Mulcair is smart enough to know who the foreign funders of BDS are and about their desire to undermine Canadian values and laws. He should be smart enough to know what fate holds if this anti-democratic, anti-tolerance and anti-human rights movement grows anywhere in Canada or elsewhere.

David Nitkin

Toronto

For the third time in less than a year and a half, a BDS motion was presented at McGill University. However, this time students voted to pass the resolution.

As students at McGill, we will not take this minor setback as a loss, but as a time to unite against discrimination.

We call on all McGill students and the wider community to voice their concerns and push for a campus-wide referendum. While we respect the decision made at the Students’ Society of McGill University, of the 39,000-plus students who attend this institution, only 883 voted, representing a total of 2.2 per cent of the overall student body. In the middle of midterms, this is far too large of a decision to be made by so few students. The brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi at McGill condemn such a divisive and anti-democratic vote.

Alex Sirois, president of Alpha Epsilon Pi, Epsilon Chi Chapter

Montreal

(Note: This letter was sent before the BDS motion at McGill failed to be ratified after an online vote)


In support of Nini

We, a group of Israeli-Canadians, urge the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver to honour the invitation to Achinoam Nini to perform in Vancouver for Yom Ha’atzmaut, despite pressure from JNF and a few, but loud, protesters from the community (“JNF Canada pulls event support over Noa performance”).

Nini is a remarkable artist with an exceptional musical career. However, we suspect that the resistance to inviting her may not be her musical achievements, but rather her personal views on peace and human rights.

The fact that she is known in Israel for her progressive humanistic views and has been attacked as an “Israel hater” is not relevant to the decision whether to invite her to perform. Such views that value all human beings should not be considered extreme. Unfortunately, the current political climate in Israel condemns every person who advocates for peace and human rights, and campaigns, such as the recent one by Im Tirzu, and other similar extremist groups, single out progressive artists.

By cancelling the invitation, we will not only be missing the opportunity to experience a great musician, it will also mean taking a stand against everything Vancouver and Canada is proudly known for – our belief in tolerance, pluralism and human rights, the same values that are reflected in our Jewish heritage.

Tal Jarus-Hakak and 32 others

Vancouver