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LDB Commends Minister Jason Kenney for Hate Week Statement

March 5, 2013

 

WASHINGTON, DC, -- The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, an American civil rights organization, today commended the Honourable Jason Kenney for his forceful statement condemning international Hate Week. The Brandeis Center observed that Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, had once again set an excellent leadership example in his statement against Hate Week, which is also known as “Israel Apartheid Week," and which is observed this week on North American university campuses. International Hate Week has often been associated with anti-Semitism and discrimination against Israeli Americans.

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “Kenney has set a brilliant example, because he simultaneously defends the freedom of speech but also condemns the hateful speech which has become so central to Hate Week, or, as it is sometimes known ‘Israel Apartheid Week.’ We would be delighted to see this sort of leadership from more elected officials and university administrators in the United States. It is critical for senior officials to educate the public about the extent to which Hate Week participants often create hostile environments for Jewish and Israeli students.”

The Brandeis Center especially applauded Kenney's bold but balanced denunciation of Hate Week's "toxic" quality:

“Everyone in this country has the right to freely and publicly express their views. That being said, I share the concerns of other Canadians about the reckless and overheated rhetoric associated with anti-Israel activities on many Canadian university campuses, and the toxic manner in which these activities are often carried out.

“There is no better example than the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW). Its organizers and participants have a regrettable history of promoting and holding events in ways that disregard the security and rights of Jewish faculty and students, censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse."

About the Louis D. Brandeis Center

The Louis D. Brandeis Center, Inc., or LDB, is an independent, nonprofit organization established to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all. The Brandeis Center conducts research, education, and advocacy to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses. It is not affiliated with the Massachusetts University, the Kentucky law school, or any of the other institutions that share the name and honor the memory of the late U.S. Supreme Court justice.

The Kenney Statement

Statement — Minister Kenney issues statement regarding ‘Israel Apartheid Week’

Ottawa, March 4, 2013 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement regarding so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ activities:
“Everyone in this country has the right to freely and publicly express their views. That being said, I share the concerns of other Canadians about the reckless and overheated rhetoric associated with anti-Israel activities on many Canadian university campuses, and the toxic manner in which these activities are often carried out.

“There is no better example than the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW). Its organizers and participants have a regrettable history of promoting and holding events in ways that disregard the security and rights of Jewish faculty and students, censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse.

“The disproportionate vitriol directed against the democratic State of Israel during ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ stands in stark and ironic contrast to the silence of IAW organizers on the ongoing atrocities committed by the Syrian regime against its own citizens, and on the rampant brutalities and denial of rights in non-democratic countries in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world.

“In free societies such as Canada’s and Israel’s, it is absolutely legitimate to debate and criticize government policies and practices. Indeed, Israel supports the right of free expression more than any other country in its part of the world. But with the freedom to criticize comes the responsibility to guard against hateful and intolerant rhetoric.

“Operating under the guise of academic freedom, Israel Apartheid Week is a misleading attempt to delegitimize and demonize the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East. IAW’s organizers choose to promote inflammatory propaganda over civil and enlightening debate. Their approach is at odds with the Canadian values of tolerance and mutual respect, and prevents meaningful dialogue from taking place.

“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I encourage Canadians to speak out against all forms of discrimination, intolerance and anti-Semitism.”
   


 
 
  “Marcus can feel proud of the singular role that he has played in helping to secure civil rights protections for Jews faced with anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination on US campuses.”

 
 
Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor, in SPME Reviews and Recommendations (March 21, 2011)
 
 
 
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Campus Anti-Semitism
Over 40% of Jewish American college students report that they have experienced or are aware of anti-Semitism on their campuses. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that campus anti-Semitism “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.” Campus anti-Semitism can include subjecting Jewish students to different treatment, harassment, violence or a hostile environment. In some cases, campus anti-Semitism is related to anti-Israel sentiment. In other cases, it is not. For most purposes, we define anti-Semitism according to the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, as endorsed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and U.S. Department of State.
 
 
 
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Advisory Board Spotlight
 

Tammi Rossman Benjamin
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin is Lecturer in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is also President and co-founder of the Investigative Taskforce on Campus Antisemitism and a member of the board of directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
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