A recent conference in Toronto called "When Middle East Politics Invade Campus" featured five student leaders from York University. They represented Christian, Jewish, and non-aligned student groups from York as well as Iranian Muslim students opposed to the totalitarian rule of the Mullahs. A consensus was voiced of an ugly atmosphere at York, where intimidation and even violence is a regular threat against those who speak out against the radical politics of the Marxist left and supporters of terror like Hamas, Hezbollah or the Iranian regime. The students told of their frustrating experience in dealing with York's administration which offered meaningless promises of fairness and balance, yet did absolutely nothing to curtail the hate that reeks in the air of the suburban north Toronto campus.
Another example, in a seemingly endless list, of the insincerity of York's commitment to fairness came from last May's: "9th Annual Graduate Conference in Education 2010: Education & Communities." These conferences, under the auspices of York's Faculty of Education, are designed to help graduate students learn how to approach teaching. Seminars are presented by former York graduates and in many cases, the participants are themselves teachers and will be influenced by, and spread what they experience at them.
One of the seminars at York's education conference included a panel about how to discuss the Israel/Palestine issue in classrooms. The stated goal of "Difficult Knowledge: The Politics of Israel Palestine in the Classroom" as it relates to that subject was, in their words, how to "bring political debate into the classroom as it relates to artist work, creative decision making, and creative teaching methodology."
So, who did York have as the entire panel about debate and creative decision-making as it relates to Israel/Palestine?
Three fanatical anti-Israel zealots: Elle Flanders, Jason Kunin, and B.H. Yael.
Flanders is the best known of the trio, being the notorious grupenfuhrer of the anti-Israel hate group "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid," which singlehandedly has managed to throw Pride Toronto into disarray and virtually guarantee the end of civic funding for that event.
Jason Kunin often acts as spokesman for a small fringe group of anti-Israel Jews headed by 9-11 conspiracy theorist Diana Ralph called "Independent Jewish Voices." He's a teacher at Toronto's Vaughan Road Academy where he's known best for being removed from classroom duties for 17 days in 2007 amid allegations of his pushing "Israel is an apartheid country" propaganda to students in his high school classroom.
Kunin, the author of a little tome called "Jews are not an equity seeking group" wrote a new screed recently for The Canadian Charger, which was founded by Mohammed Elmasry. Elmasry was the former president of the discredited Canadian Islamic Congress who once announced on the Michael Coren Show that he thought all Israelis over the age of eighteen were legitimate targets for terror attacks.
Kunin's piece for Elmo's Charger, titled "Can the Egyptians come to Canada to liberate us?" is a lengthy and very weird diatribe against Stephen Harper, Israel and a few other things. To give some indication of his insight, this high school teacher's article signals, among other deficits, that a) he doesn't understand the Canadian Supreme Court ruling on Omar Khadr ("The Harper government also ignores Supreme Court rulings when they don’t suit their political interests, as it did with a 2009 ruling instructing the Harper government to seek the repatriation of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay") and b) he doesn't understand the difference between a Parliamentary Resolution and a Bill. ("A resolution allowing U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada has been passed twice in parliament – one in 2008, and again in 2009 – yet the Canada Border Services Agency continues to deport war resisters.")
Don't you wish you had a teacher like that to explain the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to your child in school?
Rounding out the triplets of rage was B.H. Yael, one of the original drafters of the despicable attempt by anti-Israel activists to malign the Toronto International Film Festival for its Tel Aviv spotlight in 2009.
These are the people York's Eduction Faculty believes should be guiding teachers on how to address the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
It would be one thing if they advertised the panel as an "Israeli Apartheid Week" hatefest event. That way the bias would be clear. But by trying to mask anti-Israel hate under the pretense of "how to educate students about Israel and Palestine without descending into an either/or debate," York has consented to the hijacking of classroom education about this complex Mideast conflict by bigoted partisans.
For this year, York's 2011 Graduate Students in Education Conference hasn't published details of the agenda online. Given that this year it's timed to coincide with the anti-Israel bigot-fest IAW (Idiots' Apartheid Week) in March, one can expect the worst. York's behavior in this matter is a disgrace to academic honesty and integrity.
UPDATE: Just another recent example of how York seems to have one set of loaded requirements for events supporting a fair approach to Mideast politics and another for the ones who want to see Israel's end.
LAST UPDATED: March 1