[If this is upheld in law will the precedent prevent people from telling the truth about Islam thereby denigrating Islams and Muslims? T. Belman]
by Rhonda Spivak, L.L.B, Editor, Winnepeg Jewish Review April 14, 2014
The University of Manitoba Students Union (UMSU) has become the first in North America to vote to ban Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) on campus and strip the group Students Against Israel Apartheid (SAIA) of official student group status.
The motion bars SAIA from receiving student union funding or using activity space in student-union controlled buildings and is a stunning setback for proponents of Israel Apartheid Week. The motion passed by secret ballot 19 to 15.
The motion is the brain child of Josh Morry, a student with savvy debating skills who is graduating this year form the Asper School of Business, which relies on UMSU Policy 2009 states that “UMSU does not condone behaviour that is likely to underminethe dignity [or] self-esteem … of any of its members.” It further states that “ UMSU is committed to an inclusive and respectful work and learning environment free from discrimination or harassment as prohibited in the Manitoba Human Rights Code (the “Code).”
Morry argued that by referring to Israel as an apartheid and racist state, SAIA essentially labels Jews, (the vast majority of whom identify with the state as Zionists), as well as students who are Israeli on campus as “racists,” which is likely to undermine their dignity.
“It’s like saying that Jews and Zionists are “Nazis,” Morry said in an interview, such that it is likely to make the average student on campus want to hate Jews, and make them objects of contempt. He says IAW discriminates against Zionists by brandishing them as automatically being “rascists,” which is a form of discrimination and harassment.
“According to the UMSU policy, I didn’t have to prove that IAW has actually incited hatred, but that it is likely to undermine the dignity or self- esteem of students on campus who are zionists.” He noted that even though not every Jew is a Zionist, Jews as a group overwhelmingly are Zionists, and thus SAIA targets Jews as being racist, which automatically lowers them in the estimation of other students on campus, thereby infringing on their dignity and self-respect.
“When a group is perceived as “racist” then it becomes socially acceptable to fight against them” or dehumanize them since they are racist,” Morry added. Since the IAW website defines Zionism as a “rascist “ doctrine, then supporters of Zionism are “being labelled racist”, which is likely to hold them up to contempt among their peers. [The complete wording of the motion will appear at the end of this article].
Maria Gluskin, an 24 Israeli who moved to Winnipeg a number of years ago after living in Israel for 16 years, who supported Morry’s motion is also studying at the Asper School of Business. She told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that when she first encountered IAW on campus, “I felt …read more