The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
CUPE: Ban Israeli academics
This is unbelievable, but true.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees' (CUPE) Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee, is attempting to push through a proposal to ban Israeli academics from teaching or lecturing in Ontario universities.
So, for example, if you happen to be born in Israel, and decided to pursue an academic career with a focus on, say, the mating habits of frogs, or modern dance, or children's psychology, you would, should this proposal pass, have to make a political proclamation. Namely, you would have to declare that
you are not now, nor ever have been, a member of the Communist Party of Israel you oppose and condemn the bombing of the Islamic University in Gaza, and the attacks on Gaza in general.
I don't really care what your view on the current conflict happens to be, this proposal by CUPE is so beyond the pale as to warrant requests for Sid Ryan's, and the entire university worker's union executive's, resignation. Whoever is responsible for this proposal needs to be fired. Immediately.
Demonstrating utter disrespect for academic freedom, academic integrity, and for the freedom of conscience of academics while claiming to represent academics at universities. Can you wrap your head around those two things? Because I can't. It seems pretty simple to me: Either you defend academic freedom, or you do not deserve to be called the representatives of those of us who choose to pursue higher education as a profession.
But why limit yourselves to Israeli academics, dear, sweet thought police? Why not demand oaths of allegiance to your preferred viewpoint from Americans, Canadians and, frankly, the world entire? If failing to condemn the attacks on Gaza is so important, why should those of us who happen to be born in Canada or the U.S. not have to recite your pledge of allegiance to official CUPE-approved thoughts and moral attitudes?
According to the article:
The resolution is still being drafted but the union said it will seek to prohibit Israeli academics from speaking, teaching or researching at Ontario universities. The CUPE committee will distribute the resolution to its members at the end of the month.
It will be put to a vote at the committee's annual conference in February.
Janice Folk-Dawson, chairwoman of the university workers committte, said: "Clearly international pressure on Israel must increase to stop the massacre that is going on daily. We are proud to add CUPE voices to others from around the world saying enough is enough."
Ms. Folk-Dawson said the committee felt it was crucial to do something.
Got that? It was "crucial to do something," so they decided that a proposal to have Israeli academics recite some pledge (or whatever) is a good idea.
Meanwhile, irony totally escapes Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario: "Mr. Ryan said the resolution was a reasonable response to Israel's attack on the Islamic University, which he likened to the torching of books by Nazis during the Second World War." Right. What shall we liken your proposal to, Mr. Ryan? Because I'm tempted to run the same argumentum ad Nazium against this proposal...
The short of it is this: Efforts to have academics swear to some or another view is a violation of their academic freedom, and should be resisted.
Just a heads up: I'll be discussing this very story tomorrow at 2 PM (EST) on the Crossroads Television (CTS) program "On the Line" with host Christine Williams. The show is a televised, one-hour, live call-in show so those who will be watching might want to get on the horn the instant that Christine raises the issue of the CUPE motion.
Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-01-07 3:01:33 PM
Thanks for the heads-up, Paul. If you capture the video, and post it to YouTube, I'd be happy to repost the show here on the Shotgun.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-01-07 3:03:07 PM
Isn't this the same union which is currently forbidding Canadian academics the ability to teach at York University?
They're grandstanding, nothing more.
Viva Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East!
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-01-07 3:14:30 PM
CUPE's job is to sweep floors and tidy clasrooms, not dictate what goes on in them. They have no power to pass such a ban. The drafting of policy belongs to the executive.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-07 3:57:04 PM
Here we go again, the so called tolerant going to bat for the intolerant side. Someday while coming, they'll meet themselves going and kiss their own a** goodbye.
Posted by: Sounder | 2009-01-07 4:26:59 PM
CUPE like good little useful idiots are following the requests from the so called "Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees".
Posted by: ChrisinMB | 2009-01-07 5:23:45 PM
Your tongue in cheek use of McCarthyism is appropriate as that era ironically made the West an untouchable safe haven for any and all leftist speech, stifling opposing viewpoints, actually sowing the seeds of the now leftist and PC dominance of Western culture and institutions. Most if not all large unions are the very closest proximity to organized crime and at the same time, in Canada, politically joined at the hip with the NDP or Marxists. The notion of public sector unions shows how we have conceded away the notion of secure civil service jobs to their becoming defacto civil masters in total conflict of interest, being involved in politics all the while direct beneficiaries of largess and or fifth column inside agents against legislators that don't cave. CUPE trying to run universities? why not, they already run most governments and agencies.
Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-01-07 5:48:40 PM
The major issue is CUPE, or any union, not being restricted to its role of negotiating wages and working conditions. It is bad enough in this country that workers are forced to pay union dues (thanks to judicial activists), but when the same union plays politics, often contrary to their members' beliefs and values, it should be stopped.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-01-07 6:42:20 PM
I've already e-mailed my M.P. about this and asked him to bring forward some type of legislation against unions using forced dues to further a political agenda.
However, if this goes forward, it may enable Canadian Universities to ban all muslim academics from campus due to the massive evidence of muslim terrorism worldwide. Of course, with all the Nobel prizes awarded to Israeli academics and the criminal records of muslim academics, it isn't a very fair trade off.
Posted by: Markalta | 2009-01-07 7:13:39 PM
Ban CUPE. Communist Pricks!
Posted by: JC | 2009-01-07 7:46:50 PM
Nurenburg Laws (1935) anyone?
Posted by: DML | 2009-01-07 7:53:24 PM
No member of CUPE is allowed on my property unless they openly condemn Sid Ryan and this proposal. Failing that, they will be removed by security.
Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-01-08 7:38:57 AM
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