Let’s go to McMaster

This Friday, McMaster University will be the scene of a Toronto-organized protest in favour of useless rhetoric.

McMaster University denied the Palestinian “solidarity movement” the ability to hang banners screaming “Israeli Apartheid.”

This attack on inflammatory and inaccurate words cannot be tolerated. How dare the university require truth in advertising!

Not to worry, the York Federation of Students (Canadian Federation of Students Local 68) and the Ryerson Students Union (Canadian Federation of Students Local 24) will not tolerate this action.

They are paying for buses to ship protesters from Toronto to McMaster University on Friday to let the administration of McMaster know what they think.

Great, just what McMaster needs, outsiders coming in and spreading their intolerant rhetoric.

This year has been different from past years in terms of the actions of the “Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights” group. In previous years, they stuck to spreading their literature, hosting nights condemning Israel, but always maintained a level of decorum.

This year, the leadership is more radical and in your face. It’s a shame, I used to be able to respectfully disagree with them. I used to be able to accept them spreading their propaganda as they were careful to not make other students uncomfortable. This year, that seems to be their goal.

In terms of the decision by the university Provost to not allow the display of the phrase “Israeli Apartheid,” I believe it was the right decision. Israel is not an apartheid state. We all know that. There must be some standard of truth on a campus.

What effect did the decision have on the “solidarity movement” – none. They were still able to hold their event, they were still able to rant and rave, their funds were not cut. In short, beyond having a requirement for some level of honesty, the university did not stop this group from holding their event.

The group appealed to the campus human rights office. The campus human rights office stated of the university decision: “The university has taken the position that literature which refers to “Israeli apartheid” and activities promoted under the banner, “Israeli Apartheid Week” are unacceptable. The university takes the position that this phrase is in violation of the university’s efforts to ensure that all people will be treated with dignity and tolerance.”

In short, the human rights office agreed that they were not being discriminated against. The McMaster office is extremely independent of the administration. This should have told the “solidarity movement” that this time they were in the wrong.

Instead, they have gone out and requested that other “solidarity” groups come to McMaster to help them. (The radical element on campus is small and most students at McMaster prefer respectful tolerate debate.) So, this Friday, they will ship in protestors by the bus load. Rant and rave about how horrible everyone else is. Demand the privilege of being intolerant and call all kinds of people names. Should be an interesting show to watch.

All of this will be made possible using student fees paid by students at Ryerson and York. It’s nice to know that Locals 24 and 68 are looking after their students.