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Friday, December 31, 2010

Eye on a Crazy 2010

As 2010 draws to a conclusion, I want to thank all of you who have stopped by to read Eye on a Crazy Planet and have helped to make it a success.

To everyone who reads this blog, contributed comments, and most importantly, has discussed and spoken out about some of the issues that have come up here, we should all be proud of our contribution to public discourse.  This blog and your support have helped to frame some national discussions and in some cases we've made a real difference!

Eye on a Crazy Planet is only 6 and a half months old. It started at a time when, during the course of some research I was doing on a screenplay, I came across information that proved that conflict tourist Kevin Neish lied to Carol MacNeil in a CBC News interview about the knife-wielding "activists'' treatment of Israeli soldiers during the Mavi Marmara take-down in May. That information became the basis of a National Post story.

We also played a significant role in exposing Libby Davies, the deputy leader of the NDP, and the most outspoken anti-Israel parliamentarian, as someone who either denied Israel's very legitimacy OR was unfamiliar with basic facts about an issue which she had adopted an extremist position. Which of those positions you believe depends on whether you believe she was sincere in what she said in her video performance or in her subsequent "apology."

It was the Davies story that was a large inspiration for the creating of this blog following my alerting the mainstream media to the existence of the notorious Davies video and its significance.

There have been a lot of other issues that we've explored together, including the strange malfeasance of the leadership of some of Canada's public employees' unions, waste of public funds, the Rob Ford campaign and the slimy behaviour of some of his opponents, and the insinuation of communism and some other malevolent ideologies into Canada's university system. Recently, we helped expose what became an international story about the extent to which bigoted anti-Zionist ideology has become so rabid in the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education that scholarship has become subservient to bias there.

And we've had quite a few laughs along the way!

2010 has, in many ways, been an encouraging year for Canada. As one of the best educated, and freest countries, Canadians have shown continued support for the two mainstream political parties whose policies are really nearly identical on substantive matters, while the socialist NDP is mired in near single-digit support nationally.  There are some people who take a cynical view of the Canadian Conservative and Liberal parties having more similarities than differences. I would suggest this is something we can be optimistic about.

When reasonable, intelligent people look at an issue, they will usually arrive at similar conclusions. That is the case with our two most popular parties. Another thing in which Canadians can take a measure of comfort is the continued marginalization of radical elements which have continued to show their totalitarian leanings.

But vigilance is the price of freedom. Public service unions, that use members' dues to pay for junkets to dictatorships like Cuba, still want to surreptitiously influence the political sphere. Their allies in post-secondary educational institutions hope to do the same in that arena with as little public scrutiny as possible. There are still non-governmental agencies which draw funds from the public purse while they support foreign terrorists and act as apologists for domestic ones. Things may be going well in Canada, but those who think democracy is a failure because it hasn't placed them in power remain a threat to our freedoms.

There are a few acknowledgments I would like to make. I want to thank my fellow bloggers who have contributed their support, including our friends at Jay Currie, Moose and Squirrel, Dodo can spell, Skippy Stalin, Five Feet of Fury, Dvar Dea, Backseat BloggerSassywire and many others - please forgive me if I don't mention you all. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't, but I always respect your commitment to democracy and the democratic values of free expression and public exchange of ideas.

However a very special thank you needs to be made to Blazing Cat Fur. BCF, along with Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant, is one of Canada's foremost advocates for and defenders of free speech. BCF is also responsible for alerting the public and the mainstream media to some of the goings-on and relationships between malevolent groups that are a threat to the freedoms which we enjoy and rather foolishly take for granted. He does this in most instances without taking any credit for himself.  BCF is on my list of Canadian heroes.

Additional thanks go to our friends at The Michael Coren Show and at The National Post for their support.

But mostly, my thanks go to you, for reading this blog, and particularly for those who read Eye on a Crazy Planet and look into what you've read here in order to find out more. Being informed makes us better citizens and better defenders of democracy.

I don't ask you to take my word for anything. I do ask that you find out as much information as you can about matters of public interest that mean something to you and to speak out and act on what you learn. We owe that much to ourselves.

Happy New Year !!!!

Can 2011 be the year we finally get out of the hypocritical joke that is the UN?

Mary Katherine Ham of the Daily Caller presents Top 10 UN-believable Moments of 2010.


h/t Sassywire

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tequila and Taqiyya!

Pee Wee Herman - Tequila
Uploaded by goldrausch. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad bitch-slapped by Revolutionary Guard commander

Iranian President and Holocaust-denier Mahmood Ahmedinejad may be crazy, but a Wiki-leak cable shows that among the cadre of theocrats in the Iranian Mullah-ocracy, there is some evidence he may be a relative moderate compared to his fanatical colleagues. The same cable also gives further evidence that the Iranian president is a figurehead who is far from being the guy who calls the shots in Iran.

This report makes Ahmedinejad seem like the casino "owner" played by Kevin Pollack in Marty Scorsese's movie, who does what he's told and signs what he's told.

According to source, President Ahmedinejad surprised other SNSC members by taking a surprisingly liberal posture during a mid January post-Ashura meeting of the SNSC called to discuss next steps on dealing with opposition protests.
Source said that Ahmedinejad claimed that "people feel suffocated," and mused that to defuse the situation it may be necessary to allow more personal and social freedoms, including more freedom of the press.
According to source, Ahmedinejad's statements infuriated Revolutionary Guard Chief of Staff Mohammed Ali Jafari, who exclaimed "You are wrong! (In fact) it is YOU who created this mess! And now you say give more freedom to the press?!" Source said that Jafarli then slapped Ahmedinejad in the face, causing an uproar and an immediate call for a break in the meeting, which was never resumed.

Did Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guard Commander eventually kiss and make up?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Israeli firms building Palestinian city angers extremists on both sides

About 20 Israeli suppliers are helping to build the first modern Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank, but only after agreeing not to use products or services from Israeli settlements.  

The announcement of involvement by Israeli firms has angered Jewish settlers, who accused the suppliers of caving in to an international boycott of settlement goods and businesses...

The West Bank city of Rawabi, being built 30km north of Jerusalem, is a key part of a plan by Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, to lay the groundwork for a future Palestinian state, regardless of progress in peace talks.  

Masri said that he tries to use Palestinian suppliers if possible, but when necessary turns to Israeli firms on condition that products and services from territories Israel occupied after the 1967 war - the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights - are not used...

Dani Dayan, a settler leader, said that Israeli companies agreeing to the Palestinian conditions are "a capitulation to the boycott." 

Palestinian activists and their supporters have launched a global boycott campaign to persuade investors to divest Israeli holdings and boycott Israeli companies over the illegal occupation.

The economic impact has been negligible, but for Israel the negative publicity has been unwelcome.

Israel accuses boycott advocates of trying to delegitimise it and argues that many foreign companies with ties to authoritarian regimes are not similarly targeted.

Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad has publicly advocated the boycott of settlement goods in the West Bank and, earlier this year, his government passed a law imposing heavy penalties and jail time on Palestinians who work in settlements.

But there have been few alternative sources of employment for the estimated 21,000 Palestinians who work in settlement construction, agriculture or industry. As a consequence, the law is reportedly not being enforced..

Ahmed Moor, a Palestinian-American freelance journalist, said that when he first heard about the Rawabi plan, he was "repulsed".  

In an article for the Mondoweiss website, he described it as "something so clearly alien, something so obviously conceived in an alien mind, masquerading as Palestinian". 

Moor also took exception to the fact that the Jewish National Fund (JNF), established by the Zionist Congress in 1901 to acquire land for Jewish settlement, had donated thousands of trees to be planted in Rawabi...

Alon Badihi, an executive director of JNF, was subsequently quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying: "The JNF was mandated by the Israeli government as the national forest service for the Land of Israel. This project was carried out under that mandate."

Financed with money from the Qatari government, Rawabi is eventually intended to house 40,000 people and to create 5,000 permanent jobs.

The entire article is at al-Jazeera

Monday, December 27, 2010

Canadians no longer to have "money to burn" in 2011, it'll be "money to melt"

QMI News Agency reports that in late 2011, The Bank of Canada will be switching from cotton/paper to plastic-based money.

Read more here

Sunday, December 26, 2010

University of Toronto professor acknowledges variance in academic standards at that institution

One of the major issues to emerge from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)  'Hate Thesis' scandal is the question of academic standards at OISE.

The University of Toronto, of which OISE is a faculty, has defended the thesis on the basis of academic freedom. That is a valid point about contentious ideas, which should be aired in universities. But the main issue regarding the hate thesis is the question of whether that particular thesis, which was riddled with factual errors and substandard scholarship, being accepted as the basis of an awarded Masters degree, indicates an fanatical institutional bias at OISE's Sociology and Equity Studies in Education program that places anti-Zionist ideology above scholarship.

In the Jewish Chronicle Online, British academic Geoffrey Alderman wrote a scathing critique of the Hate Thesis, discussing how it fails to achieve the minimum academic standards that should be required of something forming the basis of a post-graduate degree.

In reply, Professor Paul Franks, at the University of Toronto's Centre for Jewish Studies, wrote a letter in which he states how the significance of a University of Toronto MA degree "varies widely. In many instances it serves as a minimal introduction to the world of post-graduate study."

He further states that "Ms Peto's thesis is a glorified term paper, judged adequate by two faculty members."

Professor Franks' defense of the University of Toronto's behaviour in this matter raises more questions than it answers.

His letter implies that the academic standards at OISE fall well below that of the other faculties at U of T.

However to have that variance and low standards in some programs denigrates the university as a whole and seems to imply that an OISE degree isn't worth much.

How does the University of Toronto feel about the fact that prospective employers and other institutions have to evaluate a University of Toronto degree based on the individual faculty? Will they even bother? And how do graduates of U of T feel about this attitude towards their achievement, or in the case of OISE, potential lack thereof?

These are questions that the University of Toronto has still failed to adequately address.

Oy vey! This is a philanthropic organization?!

Actually, it is! And a good one.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Magic Shadows intro

A bit of nostalgia from TV Ontario:

30 years ago, Elwy Yost hosted a daily show that serialized old movies. The intro music and animated imagery was one of the wonderful, haunting memories from my youth

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The doppelgänger of fascism being promoted in our universities

No one would tolerate Nazism being taught as an acceptable approach to view social sciences in universities. Even fascism, which lacks the odious racially-based persecution of Nazism but is a political philosophy which sanctions state control over most aspects of citizens lives using brutal methods is roundly discredited and rejected outright.

Yet a totalitarian philosophy that has been categorically discredited, and has been responsible for scores of millions of deaths in the last century still has its vocal proponents in our university system.

Wherever Marxism/Communism has been employed as a governing ideology, be it in Cuba, Albania, the USSR, or Mao's China, the result has been totalitarianism, repression of basic rights and freedoms and state murder, often on a massive scale.

Yet we still have "the Marxist perspective" being taught in western universities as if it were a credible approach.

It isn't. It's a foul cult that promotes class wars and denial of free expression while dissembling about equality.

George Orwell observed about the Marxist pigs that while they claim they are fighting for equality, they want some animals to be more equal than others.

Marxism isn't just another political philosophy; it's the doppelgänger of fascism. It's an active promotion of brutal, power crazed totalitarianism. Its advocates should be exposed for promoting an ideology that is responsible for more deaths than the Third Reich.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Battle of the Flash Mobs

Anti-Israel ding-dongs vs Israeli beach babes:

If ugly were a crime, these people would be doing life sentences
Gee, tough call picking your preference here, huh?

Tony Blair on Making Muslim Integration Work

We have to nail down the definition of the problem. There is no general failure to integrate. In the U.K., for example, we are not talking about Chinese or Indians. We are not talking about blacks and Asians. This is a particular problem. It is about the failure of one part of the Muslim community to resolve and create an identity that is both British and Muslim. And I stress part of it. Most Muslims are as much at ease with their citizenship in the U.K. as I am. I dare say that is true in other European nations too. 

However, some don't integrate. But when we talk about this in general terms, without precision, for fear of "stigmatizing" Muslims, we alienate public opinion and isolate the majority of Muslims who are integrating and want to be as much part of our society as any other group. Then, because we won't identify the problem as it is, a subterranean debate takes the place of an open one, and that debate lumps all Muslims together. So in the interest of "defending" the Muslim community, we actually segregate it by refusing to have an honest debate about what is happening.

Full piece here

Mao's Little Helpers

When Mao Tse-Tung launched the Cultural Revolution in May 1966, one of the principal targets of attack were intellectuals. Thousands were silenced, beaten to death, imprisoned, tortured or sent out to the countryside to be re-educated and purified through manual labour. Many of their persecutors were university students and schoolchildren. But theirs was also a death warrant signed by fellow-travelling intellectuals in the West.   
Richard Wolin advances no one theory to explain this act of betrayal. The Maoist temptation was part radical chic, part revolutionary tourism, part orientalism. It drew upon a deep-seated discontent with the corruption of Western society as well as the illusion of a radiant utopian future. It was also heavily infused with bourgeois self-hatred.
Full article at Standpoint

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Barbara Kay invents the word for dimwitted Israel bashers: Peto-philes

"To understand birthright-bashing Jews such as Peto and company, you have to understand the leftist contribution to modern anti-Semitism, a contribution that would be anathema to the grandparents of any living Jew, including Peto’s. That is the bogus notion that Zionism produces anti-Semitism; rather than the truth, which is that Zionism is a response to anti-Semitism.

The Left is a conduit for the self-pitying Arabist narrative, and that is what the credulous Peto has internalized. If you have been brainwashed to believe that Zionism causes anti-Semitism and Zionism is oppressive, then you may even believe anti-Semitism is justified if it hastens Israel’s redemption (read: dissolution).

I disagree with other commentators on one score: Peto is not a self-hating Jew. She is full of admiration for herself. She is unaware that her thoughts are unoriginal, that she speaks in predictable clichés, and that she is lending herself to anti-Semitism laundering on a grand scale. You’ll find ample evidence of her intellectual vacuity in a YouTube Israel-bashing address to her small audience of Peto-philes. It’s particularly sad to witness her excitement that al-Jazeera gave her thesis its stamp of approval. (Bubbie! You didn’t fight the Nazis in vain! They love me in Saudi Arabia!).
Of course, Peto herself is a sideshow in the educational scheme of things. The larger issue surrounding Peto’s unworthy thesis is the obvious flight from integrity in her degree-bestowing institution. An embarrassed OISE administration is spinning Peto’s rant as “academic freedom.” But academic freedom is only credible when bounded by academic standards, here demonstrably absent."
The entire column is in The National Post

UPDATE: An analysis that details the failure of the University of Toronto to maintain academic standards by accepting Peto's opinion piece as a "thesis."

Showdown on the Korean Peninsula shows the value of not appeasing dictators

Just hours before it took place North Korea threatened to launch an attack on South Korea if the military exercise Yeonpyeong Island went ahead as scheduled yesterday.

The exercise was a response to the unprovoked shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by North Korea in November, in which  four people were killed.

The belligerent dictatorship of Kim Jong-Il has been distinguished by threats and provocations, including the torpedoing of a South Korean ship in April that caused the deaths of 46 South Korean sailors.

The mad little dictator and nuclear proliferate seemed to think that he could bully the West into easing sanctions with threats. He might even have succeeded, since there are many in the West who haven't learned the lessons about the appeasement of dictators from fascist era of the 1930s.

Dictators and fanatics only see appeasement as a sign of weakness and are emboldened by such behavior.

But like most bullies, when confronted, they usually back down and that was precisely what Korea's Little Kim did yesterday when South Korea went ahead with its scheduled maneuvers.

Now, if only Obama would grow a backbone and take the same stand with the maniacs who rule in Iran.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Doofus blogger appears on Michael Coren Show

Many Thanks to SdaMatt2 and Blazing Cat Fur:

Israel and the Surrender of the West by Shelby Steele

"..the entire Western world has suffered from a deficit of moral authority for decades now. Today we in the West are reluctant to use our full military might in war lest we seem imperialistic; we hesitate to enforce our borders lest we seem racist; we are reluctant to ask for assimilation from new immigrants lest we seem xenophobic; and we are pained to give Western Civilization primacy in our educational curricula lest we seem supremacist. Today the West lives on the defensive, the very legitimacy of our modern societies requiring constant dissociation from the sins of the Western past—racism, economic exploitation, imperialism and so on."

An important article that you can read in its entirety here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Finally! The US Senate does the right thing about "Don't ask, don't tell"

Gays in the US military are willing to put their lives on the line in defense of their country.

This decision was long overdue:

Quebec legislator Amir Khadir joins communists in anti-Semitic event and harasses store owner

Khadir: Just add an "i" to a name known best for jihad and terror..

The Montrteal Gazette reports:
Quebec solidaire leader Amir Khadir made no apology yesterday for asking people to boycott a family-owned shoe store in his riding because it sells shoes made in Israel. 

"Just because a business is in my riding, I am not going to abandon my principles," Khadir, the National Assembly member for Mercier, said in a phone interview yesterday. 

Khadir took part in a demonstration last Saturday in frontof Le Marcheur on St. Denis St., handing out flyers and asking customers to boycott the shop until it stops selling Israeli-made shoes.

The demonstration was organized by Palestinian and Jewish Unity, a Montreal based human rights group that advocates for the right of Palestinians to live in safety. 
Khadir said he was asked to join the demonstration by PAJU, and that he has participated in other PAJU demonstrations.
PAJU has held regular pickets outside Le Marcheur since October, because the store sells Beautifeel shoes, a brand made in Israel.
The store's owner Yves Archambault said he was "sickened" to learn his own MNA was picketing his store. "I was sickened to see him distributing flyers and stopping people who were coming into the store to tell them they shouldn't support a business that sells Israeli products. In Quebec we have free enterprise, and as long as it is legal, nobody has the right to tell me what I can and cannot sell in my store," he said.

Le Journal de Quebec reported (translation by Google translate):

Embarrassed by its active presence in a demonstration urging a boycott of a shopkeeper in his constituency, Mr. Amir Khadir tried to explain yesterday, citing a "terrible misunderstanding" between him and the shoe salesman Yves Archambault.  
Last Saturday, the member of Québec solidaire visited the shop the Walker Street Saint-Denis for distributing leaflets calling for a boycott of the family business of Mr. Archambault, on the pretext that it contained a few models Israeli brand of shoes.   
In the Journal interview, the dealer said he was "horrified" at being thus harassed and intimidated by his own deputy.

Below is a first hand account of attempting to buy a pair of shoes at Le Marcheur in Montreal:

My mother just came back from purchasing Israeli-made shoes from the store in down town Montreal that is being subjected to a boycott because it sells Israeli-made shoes. Twenty people showed up to buy shoes after Eric Duhaime called on Montrealers to show solidarity with the embattled store owner. She, with others, was greeted by about a hundred threatening Arabs with Hezbollah flags shouting anti-Semitic slogans and blocking the street completely. She says that several intimidating Arabs took her picture as she was going inside and one was even filming. One young Arab called her a Jewish sow. The store owner is getting death threats and is seriously depressed. He said that he won’t give in to these terrorists’ demands. But how long can he keep it up before going out of business? Montreal in 2010.

In le Journal de Quebec, journalist Eric Duhaime lets us know the following about Khadir (google translation from French):

Surprise Saturday: Amir Khadir joined the demonstrators, along with his comrades Jafar Khadir, a former member of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Quebec, and William Sloan, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada.  
A member, paid by your taxes, tries to harm a single trader who sells his riding legally products from a country with which Canada has an agreement of free trade and cooperation agreements Quebec. 
For his activism group "Islamo-Marxist terrorist scored his public support for George Galloway, propagandist paid by Iranian state television, Khadir is not at its first controversy with his extreme views on issues of Middle East. 
Non-practicing Muslim, Khadir does not support certain causes by Islamist religious belief, but rather contributes to the alliance "anti-imperialist struggle" between the far left and Islamists who forges throughout the West. 
Following the September 11 attacks claimed by al-Qaeda, Khadir raised the possibility of a conspiracy by the CIA. 
In 2006, amid armed conflict initiated by Hizballah, Khadir was not the only politician to condemn Israel without saying a word against Hezbollah. 
Last March, Khadir receives the National Assembly Jamal Zahalka, the Arab-Israeli political leader advocating the dissolution of Israel. 
Last September, Khadir participates in the commemoration of the martyrs of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance. [ed- - a group designated as a terror organization by the Canadian government]

h/t BlazingCatFur

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Conspiracy Theorist Love-in

It looks like conspiracy theorists love each other regardless of the conspiracy.

Jenny Peto, who produced the anti-Jewish thesis titled  “The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education.”  as part of a post graduate degree program at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) proposed an unusual conspiracy theory. She alleges a Jewish/Zionist conspiracy  in Holocaust education programs that teaches Jews " that their whiteness can only be maintained through racism, both in supporting Israel and also perpetuating or, at minimum, benefiting from racism and imperialism in their home countries" and of the Jewish community in general being racists who benefit from "white privilege."

And now, to rushing to her support, we see none other than 9-11 conspiracy theorists Joshua Blakeney and Michael Keefer!

Because, as we all know, opposition to Peto's bigoted conspiracy screed must be part of the evil government conspiracy to suppress the truth!

Two things that Keefer thinks you should not believe are: "the story that George W. Bush actually won the 2004 presidential election, and hence has some right to the office he continues to occupy. The other is the no less fraudulent story that the terrorist crimes of September 11, 2001 were perpetrated by a gang of Islamist fanatics led by a bearded Saudi in an Afghan cave—rather than being organized (and subsequently covered up) by civilian and military officials at the highest levels of the Bush regime. "

In a letter to Dalton McGuinty,  the first two paragraphs of which are Michael Keefer trying to establish the credibility of Michael Keefer, or as he puts it, a "recitation of ‘street-creds,’  he launches into his own screed about how Israel really, really is an "apartheid" state.

If Premier McGuinty wants to get a real indication of Keefer's "street cred," all he need do is google "Michael Keefer 9-11"

"Street Cred" Keefer missed the point that the main objection to Peto's thesis had very little to her mendacious use of "apartheid" towards Israel and was an objection to her preposterous, bigoted conspiracy theory about Holocaust education. But an even greater objection was the bias exhibited in the Sociology and Equity Studies in Education program at OISE in accepting an error-riddled thesis absent of scholarship as the basis of a post-graduate degree simply because it conformed to their radical ideological outlook.

But Keefer is not the only 9-11 conspiracy oddball to support Peto. She also has the endorsement of the 9-11 conspiracy theorist Anthony Hall's apprentice Joshua Blakeney.

Talk about a bowl of mixed nuts!

For a bit of fun, watch Blakeney "confront" a CBC reporter about the "9-11 cover-up" and at one point say how filmmaker Michael Moore is complicit in the conspiracy. Wowza!

UPDATE: More weird support for Peto, in a manner of speaking, comes from Doctor Bonnie Burstow. Doctor Burstow is one of those PhDs who evidently likes to be called "doctor" and teaches at (surprise!) OISE. She wrote the following letter to The Toronto Star:

I would not deny that there are problems with this thesis. It is based on little research, minimizes/distorts anti-Semitism, is circular, holds Jews to a unique standard, and there is anti-Semitism in this. 
Nonetheless, this young scholar is hardly a bigot and she asks compelling questions. Given that less scholarly theses pass, why was thesis singled out as unworthy? I can only answer because it critiques Israel. I make the following observations:
Currently there are two Jewish voices on Israel: a) dominating the scene, right-wing Jewish organizations that attempt to silence critiques of Israel by calling them anti-Semitic; b) Jews whose white guilt overwhelms their analysis. 
We need another voice respecting that: anti-Semitism is pervasive; Israel is oppressive; academic freedom is precious; and the media are part of the problem.

Dr. Bonnie Burstow, Toronto

You might be surprised at Doctor Burstow's contention that "there is anti-Semitism in this. Nonetheless, this young scholar is hardly a bigot." Well, that's OISE for you. Not a place to expect reason or logic.

It might also come as a surprise to people who are actually familiar with the debate about Israeli policy and the Israel/Palestine/Arab conflict to learn there are only  "two Jewish voices on Israel: a) dominating the scene, right-wing Jewish organizations that attempt to silence critiques of Israel by calling them anti-Semitic; b) Jews whose white guilt overwhelms their analysis."

The major part of the problem that Doctor Bustow fails to acknowledge is that idiocy is masquerading as scholarship in some OISE programs.

To put some of this in perspective, it might help to understand that Doctor Burstow is a member of OISE's anti-psychiatry movement : OISE/UT, COALITION AGAINST PSYCHIATRIC ASSAULT
Doctor Burstow was a keynote speaker at the notoriously silly OISE PsychOUT conference

Perhaps Doctor Burstow should reconsider her stance on the benefits of psychiatry, a science practiced by real doctors.

Want results in Toronto? Call Ford. Want sarcasm? Call a regressive councilor

Readers of this blog know I won't use the term "progressive" to describe the socialist-leaning political wing. Their policies show that they are mired in decades-old, discredited, regressive ideologies that would take us away from what most intelligent people would consider progress.

One of the six Toronto city councilors who voted against the repeal of Toronto's unpopular Vehicle Registration Tax was Janet Davis who is often euphemistically referred to "progressive."

Rob Ford, who won the mayoralty in a landslide, campaigned on repealing the tax as one of his main campaign platforms. Janet Davis won in her ward, so she is completely within her rights to vote however her conscience dictates.

But it is interesting to note that Ford's campaign slogan was "Respect for Taxpayers," and putting that slogan into practice was a hallmark of his 10-year career as a city councilor. As a councilor, Ford was famous for being the "go-to guy" for constituents all over the city who couldn't get help from their local representative. Rob Ford's brother, Doug is the new councilor in Rob's old Etobicoke ward and made the same commitment to returning constituents' calls and getting action at city hall.

In today's Toronto Star, columnist Joe Fiorito reported a story of a 77 year old woman who wanted security cameras in her city-owned apartment building after a frightening incident.

Fiorito wrote:

She has been pushing to have security cameras in the parking garage for the past two years. She was told that the money was in the budget. But every time there was a meeting, and every time she asked, she was put off.  
This time? 
“I called TCHC security. They said I should have called the police.” Duh. “I called TCHC. I couldn’t get them on the phone. Then I called Doug Ford’s office.” 
Doug Ford is not her councillor. Janet Davis is her councillor. But Maxine called Ford because the Fords have promised to return all calls and get action. 
She got action. 
Very shortly thereafter, TCHC called Maxine and made mealy-mouthed and apologetic noises about emergencies and delays. 
And then a staffer from Janet Davis’ office called Maxine and said the cameras would be installed shortly. The Davis staffer said, with a tinge of sarcasm, “If they’re not installed, I guess you know what to do.” 
Yeah, I guess she does. And maybe that’s why you-know-who got elected.

The whole article is here at The Toronto Star

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rob Ford: doing more for the public in one week than his predecessor did in two terms

Today, at the urging of newly elected Toronto mayor Rob Ford, city council abolished the much despised annual Vehicle Registration Tax.

Elimination of the tax was one of Ford's main campaign promises.

Another was to reduce city councilor's budgets from the current rate of over $50,000 per year to $30,000. The new council also passed that measure.

During the election campaign, Ford also promised to work towards the elimination of the city's "Fair Wage" policy. The policy compels outside contracts to the city to pay employees at the same rate as municipal unionized workers, thus eliminating much of the financial benefit of using outside contracts at a cost of millions to the taxpayers of Toronto.

According to the Globe and Mail: City council voted 39-6 to eliminate the vehicle fee as of Jan. 1, 2011. Councillors voted 40-5 to reduce office budgets by about 40 per cent, to $30,000 from $50,445.

The Councilors who voted to keep the tax were: Janet Davis, Sarah Doucette, Pam McConnell, Joe Mihevc, Gord Perks, Adam Vaughan 

Those who voted not to reduce their budgets were: Frank Di Giorgio, John Filion, Pam McConnell, Ron Moeser, and the aptly named Gord Perks 

Wikileaks is a Zionist plot!

It was only a matter of time before some mental case accused wikileaks of being an Israeli plot. After all, if those sneaky Zionists can train sharks to eat Egyptians while ignoring Israelis, then setting up a bogus information site that leaks government secrets poses little challenge.

According to Haaretz, Gordon Duff, an editor of the looney tune conspiracy theorist website Veterans Today, wrote "a secret deal struck between WikiLeaks' ... Assange ... with Israeli officials, which ensured that all such documents were 'removed' before the rest were made public." He then added in an interview that "it sticks out like a sore thumb that WikiLeaks is obviously concocted by an intelligence agency. It's a ham-handed action by Israel to do its public relations."

A few more nut jobs chimed in on this theme as reported by Haaretz.

Hamas puppet says he speaks in the name of Allah

h/t BlazingCatFur

You don't have to be Sigmund Freud to connect these dots..

"The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education," is Jenny Peto's infamous thesis in which she claims to "show how Jewish victimhood is instrumentalized in ways that obscure Jewish privilege, deny Jewish racism and promote the interests of the Israeli nation-state."

What's really behind it?

On the very first page, she wrote, "In the first grade, after having been told that I could not play the lead in our school play because I was a girl, I decided that god was either sexist or nonexistent. Either way, I wanted to have nothing to do with him."

If only little Grade 1 Jenny had known people in show business, they could have told her that rejection is part of the trade. You have to learn how to deal with it, get over it, and move on the the next audition. One of the reasons so many actors turn to Scientology is that it teaches confidence and how to overcome rejection.

Imagine how much happier a person she would be if Jenny's influences had been Scientologists such as John Travolta and not a Maoist fanatic like Norman Finkelstein.  Say what you will about Scientology, they haven't been responsible for a single suicide bomber, let alone the 10 million murders of the Cultural Revolution.

Would having been cast as a male in a school play been enough to have turned Jenny from the path she chose? It doesn't look like it.

Because being a girl didn't keep Jenny from playing male roles for long. As this picture shows, by Grade 5  Jenny is taking what appears to be a male role in a play. It was in 1992 and was put on by Associated Hebrew Schools, one of "the sexist, gender-normative and heterosexist educational institutions [she] was forced to attend."

Guess who the cute little thespian, 2nd from the left, is
But sadly, during those four years since Grade 1, it seems irreparable damage had been done.

Or maybe not!

Jenny wrote: "Despite all of my rebellion against the oppressive beliefs of my parents, teachers and religious leaders, the one aspect of my upbringing and education that I never questioned was Zionism – loyalty to the Israeli nation-state. In fact, Zionism fit within my childhood understanding of anti-oppression politics.."

Coily oppressing Q*bert with its racist,
hegemonic purple snake privilege
What a coincidence! Zionism fit within my childhood understanding of anti-oppression politics too! Wait. No it didn't. My mistake. I have to confess that as a child, I didn't spend much time considering anti-oppression politics. But I did manage to get the high score on a Q*bert machine once, if that counts. (Q*bert was frequently oppressed by Coily, a springy snake.) On the other side, I didn't give a lot of thought to Zionism either, unless watching The Ten Commandments on TV is an act of imperialist, colonialist, repressive Zionism.

But the hegemonic influence of Zionism was able to stay within Jenny Peto's psyche until a watershed event occurred, which she describes as follows:

Ancient oppressor with early Zionist propaganda

"I was having dinner with a friend who I thought was Lebanese – I later learned that his family were Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. His brother, who had just arrived in Toronto from the United Arab Emirates joined us. He was wearing a necklace with Handala on it. I recognized it as Naj Al-Ali’s famous cartoon of a Palestinian child holding a rock behind his back and immediately demanded to know why he had a terrorist on his necklace. We then got into an argument about Israel and Palestine that lasted several hours. I pride myself on being able to win most arguments, but in this case I could not beat him – he had facts and history, but all I had was rhetoric and sound-bites."

All she had "was rhetoric and sound bites."  

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Intriguing, and leaving aside the narcissism of "I pride myself on being able to win most arguments," the most interesting and revealing part of the journey into Jenny Peto's rebirth as a Jew who wants to see the end of modern Israel comes from two of her statements:
"It is also significant that I had long seen the organized Jewish community as extremely oppressive. As someone who had experienced violence and oppression within my own Jewish community, it was not very difficult for me to accept that Jews could be oppressors and by extension, that the so-called ‘Jewish state’ could itself be oppressive and violent."
"I was already an outcast in the Jewish community, and estranged from my family for being atheist, queer, gender-queer, feminist and generally outspoken in a highly normative, Orthodox setting. I had less to lose in terms of family and community than many anti-Zionist Jews."
If what Jenny Peto says about her childhood experiences are true,  then it is sad and she deserves pity.
But it was hardly the fault of the "mainstream" or "organized Jewish community" nor is it the fault of Israel for trying to survive as a democratic state among totalitarian countries bent on its destruction.
Peto's "thesis" reads like a cry of anguish and revenge against personal circumstances that caused her to suffer in her youth. She comes across as someone trying to strike back at the values and beliefs of those who caused her pain.
That's a tragedy. The greater tragedy is that the Sociology and Equity Studies in Education Department at OISE appears to consider an unsubstantiated cry of anguish to be something that should be awarded a post-graduate degree.

UPDATE: The National Post published the following letter from Jenny Peto's brother, David, which sheds even more light on the unfortunate situation:

It is not my desire to get involved with the details of my sister Jenny Peto's thesis, which has recently generated tremendous controversy. There are people far more qualified than I to debate the merits of the thesis, or lack thereof. There is, however, one point that I would like to contest. My sister dedicated her thesis to our late grandmother, Jolan Peto. She asserted that if our grandmother "were alive today, she would be right there with me protesting against Israeli apartheid."   
Our grandmother was the youngest teacher at the Jewish orphanage in Budapest during the Second World War. She, along with my grandfather, saved countless children from death at the hands of the Nazis. After the war, she saw firsthand the brutality and baseness of the communist regime that came into power. She, along with our grandfather and father escaped to Canada, and celebrated the day of their arrival each and every year. Freedom was not an abstract idea to her; it was alive and tangible for her.   
Our grandmother was a soft-spoken woman, but she had an iron will. She taught us to abhor hatred, and to strive for excellence in everything we did. She was a woman of endless patience and generosity, and boundless love. She was uncompromising in her dedication to truth and honesty, and was also an ardent supporter of the state of Israel. My sister is simply wrong; our grandmother would have been entirely opposed to her anti-Israel protests.   
Our grandmother had a tremendous impact on my life, and her memory continues to be a source of strength and inspiration to my family. My daughter is named after her, and we pray that she will emulate her namesake. I cannot in good conscience allow my sister to misappropriate publicly our grandmother's memory to suit her political ideology.

David Peto, Houston.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is the NDP's Joe Comartin getting his talking points from British demagogue George Galloway?

George Galloway spent a good deal of the introduction to his speech at the York Region Islamic Society on November 20 praising NDP MP Joe Comartin.

Comartin applauded proudly beside the defeated British ex-parliamentarian,  then took his rightful place behind the demagogue on the stage as Galloway launched into his familiar narcissistic diatribe about being persecuted by the Canadian government and Jason Kenney and a lot of other unoriginal babble that he has been giving in just about every speech he's delivered for the last 5 years.

But one of the rare new twists he provided was his extended extolment of Joe Comartin, Galloway's favorite man in Ottawa. Is it a surprise that Comartin is now calling for the Federal government to restore funding for the discredited anti-Israel group KAIROS?

And who else is Comartin consorting with? None other than "brother" Zafar Bangash.

Bangesh is an Islamic movement journalist and commentator notable for his desire to exclude school children from learning anything about homosexuality, his admiration for Iranian pedophile Ayatollah Khomenei, and shares his idol's belief that America is "The Great Satan." Bangash is also known as "the Helen Thomas of York Region" who said Israeli Jews should "go back where they came from:the US, Canada Europe, Russia, or whoever is willing to take them in."

A question for the voters of Windsor - Tecumseh is whether they want their parliamentary representative to be someone so closely associated with a bigot and a supplier of funds to a terror group.

New insight into The Beatles break-up.

Conventional understanding/speculation has been that Yoko Ono was the cause of The Beatles' break-up. Her inclusion in their creative process and her unwanted participation was supposed to have led to a rift between John Lennon and the rest of the group.

A newly released Letters of Note seems to show that the rift, at the end of the group's collaboration, was between Paul McCartney and the other band members.

Letters of Note describes them as "two letters that perfectly illustrate the rift that ultimately tore The Beatles apart following the death of manager Brian Epstein and Apple Corps' subsequent failings. First, the draft of an undated letter in Lennon's hand that essentially bars Paul McCartney and his new manager, Lee Eastman, from accessing The Beatles' recordings without authorisation; followed by a 1969 letter to Eastman specifically, signed by Lennon, Harrison and Starr, in which he is reminded in no uncertain terms that, despite his managing of McCartney, he has no control over the affairs of the band."

You can see the actual letters and transcipts here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CUPE, CUPW, NDP Socialist Caucus co-sponsor rally calling for violent revolution in Canada

It isn't just the Islamists you have to worry about.

Believe it or not, Canada still has communist and radical socialist organizations advocating violent revolution. And they may be involved in places you wouldn't expect.

The Trotskyite International Bolshevik Tendency (what the hell does that mean - they aren't always Bolshevik, but they tend to be??) as well as the NDP's Socialist Caucus, CUPE, The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (of course) and Independent Jewish Voices, a virulent anti-Israel group that is a sponsor of The Sea Hitler, (holds events at OISE) and is led by 9-11 conspiracy theorist Diana Ralph, along with Khaled Mouammar's Canadian Arab Federation, were just some of the groups behind a protest last month outside the US Consulate in Toronto.

The rally was to support convicted American cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamar (nee Wesley Cook).

The rally managed to attract about two dozen people, as you'll be able to see in the video below. That's a rather remarkable achievement, given that it was endorsed by exactly 33 organizations.

(This is further proof of the assertion that there are only a few radical crazies in Toronto who have created a large number of groups to which these same few people have cross-memberships in order to create the impression of greater numbers.)

One of the speakers was an organizer from the Communist newsletter BASICS. Following a rambling speech about conspiracies and praising violent revolutionaries, at about the 9:22 point of the video, he says "we haven't had any threat of insurrection or any, you know, revolutionary uprisings in Canada quite for, for quite some time, right?  But that that doesn't mean that operation is not still in play."

His speech contains what appears to be both advocacy of a violent revolution designed to overthrow our democratic, constitutionally-based government and the suggestion that it is being planned right now.

It's interesting to see CUPE, CUPW and a faction of the NDP associated with that. I haven't heard of them issuing a statement repudiating what was said at that rally. But then, is that really such a surprise?

Is OISE failing the test of academic standards and free speech?

“There’s hypocrisy at the University of Toronto bureaucracy that says it defends freedom of speech. There is no freedom of speech for dissenters. It’s a political cult without dissenters, and they’ve found a way for the public to finance it.”

More here from the Canadian Jewish News

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is pushing only one point of view academic freedom?

The situation at the Sociology and Equity Studies in Education Department at OISE seems to have only one political agenda, to the exclusion of all others.

Today, Werner Cohn offers the following analysis of the state of affairs there:
..at the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto), we have a fairly modern and fashionable version: social science held captive by ultra-left dogmatists. There are two interesting features of this new dogmatism: 1) it is not freely agreed to by its constituency, as is the case with the Evangelical Christians, nor 2) is it enforced by state power. Instead it has come about and is enforced by stealth: the new dogmatists have been able to seize control of a publicly-financed institution, and they seem to perpetuate their control through their power over recruitment procedures.
.. Faculty attitudes toward Jews and Israel are not shown in the listings of "teaching emphasis." But seven out of the thirty-two are publicly on record as condemning Israel, as shown by their signatures on petitions dated Jan. 12, Feb. 27, and Feb. 28 of 2009. At about the same time other academics signed petitions favoring Israel, but I was not able find SESE names on that kind of statement. Now obviously, a faculty member can have a private life, and in that private life can express political views of any and all sorts. But as we have seen in the current discussion on the Peto and Epstein theses -- the only recent SESE theses dealing with Jews -- all of the SESE scholarship on that topic suggests, not to put too fine a point on it, that the vast majority of Jews are Fascist pigs. Surely more can be said on the subject ? Apparently not, apparently not at SESE.
Read the entire post at Werner Cohn's blog, Fringe Groups

An interesting Noam Chomsky interview

Noam Chomsky is an interesting fellow. He is a moral relativist, which of itself suggests hypocrisy and lack of insight, so he becomes an easy target for mockery.  But nonetheless, he is, by several orders of magnitude, more intelligent and nuanced than his acolytes, such as Naomi Klein and Norman Finkelstein.

He has done some very positive things, such has his campaign for East Timor, that helped draw attention to the situation there, and he was about as wrong as a person could have been regarding the Cold War and the approach to the former Soviet Union, which would still exist if Chomsky's counsel had been followed.

Here is an interesting interview where he discusses his take on aspects of the Israel/Palestine issue, boycotts and the legitimacy of states in general. I disagree with much of what he says, but this provides a good window into his mind:

A Conversation with Noam Chomsky on Palestine/Israel from Frank Barat on Vimeo.

h/t TVO's Agenda blog

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Angelo Persichilli has some interesting observations about Justin Trudeau's political hara-kiri

From The Toronto Star
..he should understand that there are basic rules of engagement.
First, you don’t risk your life if you know that the person you want to save is “seriously dead.”
Second, stick to creating a career for yourself based not on your last name but on personal merit.

Jonathan Kay: The Jenny Peto scandal shows that it’s time to clean house at OISE

Read the rest at The National Post
"Peto is a small fish. The bigger problem here is OISE — the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, AKA UToronto’s teacher’s college — itself. For years, I’ve been hearing tales of political correctness gone amok at OISE, including radical anti-Israeli events. But it took the Peto case to really get me probing around to see what else is going on at OISE."
UPDATE: here's an interesting blog post describing why the Peto thesis isn't really a thesis.

A visitor calls

Sunday morning yuks courtesy of Mel Brooks and very funny performances by Gene Hackman and Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Obama's Moral Universe

From The American Spectator:
"In the midst of Obama’s rift with his core supporters, it’s illuminating to remember his primary against Hillary Clinton. With very few policy disagreements, their battle came down to Hillary portraying herself as experienced enough to know how the real world worked, and Obama inspiring his fans to imagine a better one. Yet in his press conference, Obama had morphed into the role of Hillary, scolding his base for having unrealistic expectations.
One can imagine candidate Obama charging that President Obama was too small-minded -- that with the right attitude and proper approach, Democrats could have had a public option and that they could have ended tax cuts for the rich."
Read it all here.

Syrian support for terror reaches dangerous level

A newly released wiki leak of a US State Department cable generated earlier this year shows that Syria plans to provide SCUD missiles to the Iranian-sponsored Lebanese terror group Hezbollah:
(S/NF) On February 22, 2010, BG Yossi Baidatz, Israel Defense Intelligence (IDI) Chief of Production and Analysis, advised Embassy Tel Aviv officers that IDI had information suggesting Syria intended to imminently transfer SCUD-D missiles to Hizballah in Lebanon.

Three days later, in a cable that had this summary below, the wording of the US communication to the Syrian Vice Minister is outlined  (click here to see)

More here about the deep concern on the part of the US about this matter and of Syria's deceit.
Per reftel and other information, the Government of Israel (GOI) is concerned that Syria intends to imminently transfer SCUD-D missiles to Hizballah in Lebanon. We share this concern. The transfer of such weapons would constitute a significant escalation of a potentially volatile situation that could threaten regional stability. Embassy is requested to demarche SARG officials at the highest possible level to communicate the points below and report responses via front channel cable. NEA will deliver the same points to the Syrian Ambassador upon his return to Washington. End summary.

From Macleans.ca: Academic Freedom is not freedom from standards

Artwork stolen from BlazingCatFur

Loosely translated, Peto’s thesis amounts to something in the realm of: “I’m onto you, you rich Jews. You’re using the Holocaust to deny your privileged status and pursue your Zionist exploits!” Actually, that language isn’t far from what Peto uses in her paper. But if Peto wants to spend her time typing foolishness at her laptop, that’s her choice. Academic freedom shouldn’t deny even the most nonsensical of pursuits. But academic freedom does not mean freedom from academic standards, and unfortunately, Peto’s paper seems to blur the line. After trudging through more than 100 pages of political hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims, it seems questions should be raised about the conception of academic standards at U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) where Peto was awarded her master’s degree.

read the whole column here at Macleans.ca

UPDATE: Hey, it's a conspiracy convention!

Look who has rushed to defend the thesis alleging Jewish racism and conspiratorial exploitation of Holocaust guilt for nefarious racist and Zionist purposes - none other than 9-11 conspiracy theorist Joshua Blakeney! Blakeney is the sometime Canadian Charger correspondent who gloated about Christopher Hitchens getting cancer and who said that Michael Moore, yes, that Michael Moore, is complicit in the "9-11 cover-up."   Why does this all make sense?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Psychotic threats against "Zionist Garage"

She's nuts and she's vicious, but at least she can spell.

No..I guess she can't do that either.

Blazing Cat Fur: I Am A Zionist Garage....

Now we know why he hated Paul the Octopus - Ahmadinejad the Soccer Jinx

A wikileaks document reveals the following:
Summary: As emotions run high following a week of adversarial debates between Iran's four presidential candidates, the outcome of the national soccer team's World Cup qualifying match against the UAE could add to voters' dissatisfaction with Ahmadinejad just 36 hours before they head to the polls. President Ahmadinejad has worked hard to associate himself with Iran's beloved national team - Team Melli❠- a tactic that backfired in March when he was accused of "jinxing" the team, which suffered a last-minute defeat to Saudi Arabia just after Ahmadinejad entered the stadium. That event, coupled with an unexpected loss by the national wrestling team with Ahmadinejad in attendance earlier in the year, set off a firestorm of SMS messages and internet jokes holding the President personally responsible for the team's defeats, and has led numerous IRPO contacts to predict - only partially in jest - that a loss to the UAE team in Tehran on June 10 could further weaken Ahmadinejad's standing among soccer-crazed Iranians.
No wonder Paul, the successful World Cup-predicting octopus, made Ahmadinejad's list of top ten evils - jealousy by the Iranian madman.

OISE's Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education - scholarship subservient to radical ideology

University of British Colombia Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Werner Cohn, has done an analysis of the abstracts of 18 theses produced by the Ontario Studies in Education's Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education.  The results are in an open report submitted to David Naylor, the President of the University of Toronto.

From Werner Cohn's report:
Not only do these eighteen theses propound political agendas rather than detached scholarship, but the politics of all eighteen are of one sort and one sort only: radical leftism. I found no thesis that, for instance, urged a conservative viewpoint, or a Christian one, or, Heaven forbid, Zionism. This political uniformity of the theses contradicts the recent statements by U of T officials to the effect that OISE promotes freedom of speech and diversity of opinion. OISE, or at least SESE, does not seem to be a place where deviation from the left-wing orthodoxy is at all tolerated.
You can read Professor Cohn's entire report here.

This interview provides some interesting perspective:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

University of Toronto's insufficient response to hate thesis inquiry

One of the central questions about the controversial thesis, "The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education,” written by a Jewish anti-Israel activist named Jenny Peto, is whether proper procedure had been followed at OISE (the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), which is part of the University of Toronto.

The thesis has not only been accused of being hateful and anti-Semtic, but scholars like UBC Professor Emeritus of Sociology Werner Cohn and York University Jewish History Professor Irving Abella, have referred to it in terns such as "devoid of scholarship" and "totally ahistorical .. full of untruths and distortions and held together by fatuous and very flabby analysis. It borders on anti-Semitism.

The issue of academic freedom is not at the heart of this matter. Ms Peto, or anyone else has the right to propose contentious ideas as the basis for an academic thesis. But when Ms Peto proposes ideas which, on the face are absurd, such as that the Jewish community as a whole is racist and that Holocaust education programs are designed to perpetuate that racism, then one would expect that some level of rigorous scrutiny should be applied.

So the question remaining is, were proper procedures followed at OISE regarding Ms. Peto's Master's thesis?

Earlier this week, I exchanged emails with the office of OISE's new dean, Julia O'Sullivan, to ask whether she would be prepared to respond to some questions. They agreed to look at them and the questions were:

Was the thesis approved by the Department and a Thesis Committee and/or Director of Graduate Studies?

Was there a second or other readers beside thesis advisor Sheryl Nestel? If so were they members of the Graduate Faculty?

Is Ms Nestel a member of the Graduate Faculty?

Do you have concerns about the politicization in general and the politicization from a single perspective in certain OISE Departments and if so, what do you see as ways of addressing that?

The response, received today, was not from Dean O'Sullivan at OISE, but from Cheryl Misak, Vice President and Provost at U of T.

The response was:
"Due to our privacy obligations to students, I cannot discuss an individual student’s academic work or his or her performance. What I can, say, however, is that freedom of expression issues are ever-present in our society, especially on a university campus. The University of Toronto's Statement on Freedom of Speech makes it clear that freedom of inquiry lies at the very heart of our institution: “all members of the University must have as a prerequisite freedom of speech and expression, which means the right to examine, question, investigate, speculate, and comment on any issue without reference to prescribed doctrine, as well as the right to criticize the University and society at large."
"Of the thousands of MA theses written at the University of Toronto, in partial fulfillment of degree requirements, it is inevitable that some will have elements that offend various individuals and groups. In such cases, the University is committed to allowing and encouraging a full range of debate. For the best way for controversy to unfold is for members of our community to engage with the perspectives and arguments they dispute. It is intelligent argument, not censorship, that lies at the heart of our democratic society and its institutions."

“OISE is a very diverse place, with no one point of view dominating others.”
The first two paragraphs have been Provost Misak's standard media response to this controversy, and while she is correct in everything she says, she evades responding to the actual questions, in particular, the germane issue of whether proper procedure was followed.

The last part of her response is one that is certainly open to question. There does indeed seem to be the appearance, at least in the department that spawned Ms Peto's thesis, that indeed one view does dominate others.
Professor Cohn wrote an analysis which suggests that Ms Peto's essay was indicative of a systematic problem at OISE's Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (SESE).

There are concerns that SESE program is so overtly politicized, with anti-Israel, anti-capitalist biases, that scholarship has become secondary to ideology.

Saying "SESE often resembles a political cult more than an institution of higher learning," Cohn looked at the abstracts of the thirty-six SESE theses. He reports that he "found eighteen of these to be so full of leftist position-taking that it would appear, prima facie, that there is no attempt at scholarly detachment in these works."

The University of Toronto is publicly going to circle the wagons, but I have had private conversations with professors who teach there who have described some programs and some professors at OISE as "an embarrassment."

The question now is, will U of T act behind the scenes to address the problems that are embarrassing that institution?

Michael Coren took a look at this issue last night:

UPDATE: OISE reportedly hosted secret anti-Israel meetings directed at high school students. More here.