Monday, June 15, 2009

b'nai brith at it again...

i just received this in my inbox...

*QUICK ACTION ITEMS below ... Please distribute widely*
Dear colleagues,
You may have heard by now that both B'nai Brith and CIJA have launched a very public campaign denouncing the upcoming "Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace" to be held on Glendon campus(YorkU) from June 22-24, 2009.

Most recently, B'Nai Brith has asked Minister Gary Goodyear to review the SSHRC funding of the conference (see B'Nai Brith statement at the end of this e-mail). The Minister has responded by asking SSHRC to consider conducting a second peer review of the conference funding application!

For other examples of how this attack on the conference is being waged, see the CIJA site (Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy):
... and an article in yesterday's National Post:

CALL FOR ACTION: Support academic freedom! Challenge these attacks on academic conference!

1) Write to York University President Shoukri.
Congratulate him on his strong stand in support of the conference and academic
freedom (though he also denounces the academic boycott of Israeli universities more generally). Tell him that you do not agree with CIJA.
E-mail: PRESIDNT@YORKU.CA (NOTE: There is no second "e" in this e-mail address; it is not a typo)

2) Write a letter to Minister Goodyear. Tell him that you object to a second peer review, and ask him to account for his actions.

You may also wish to say that you support CAUT's call for his resignation (
He can be reached at GOODYG@PARL.GC.CA

3) Attend the conference. Program and registration information can be found at:

4) Write a letter to the Globe and Mail, responding to today's article (200 words or less). E-mail LETTERS@GLOBEANDMAIL.CA
Here is the link to the article:

5) Sign Faculty4Palestine Open Letter to defend academic freedom and freedom of speech on Palestine in Canadian universities and
colleges. Go to (click on red icon to view petition). To sign, send an e-mail to

NOTE: For all letters, please add BCC: to (to make conference organizers aware of your support)

B’nai Brith Canada has brought to urgent attention of the Government the sponsorship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of an upcoming June 22nd-23rd conference at York University titled, “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace”. As many of you know, this conference being held under the guise of academia is in fact a blatant exercise in anti-Zionist propaganda. Its entire thrust calls into question the Jewish State’s very right to exist, and promises to be a veritable ‘who’s who’ of anti-Israel propagandists.

We were disturbed to learn that the SSHRC, a federal agency that is answerable to Parliament and which reports directly to the Minster of Industry, was listed as a lead sponsor on the conference’s website, contributing both moral and financial support.

Subsequent to our appeal to the Government on this matter, the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, released a statement on the conference that is reproduced below. While the statement stops short of announcing a funding withdrawal, it does bring into question the SSHRC’s continued support for the conference.

Statement from the Hon. Gary Goodyear

OTTAWA, June 5, 2009 – The following is a statement from the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, on the conference at York University entitled, “Israel/Palestine: mapping models of statehood and prospects for peace”.

“Our government is committed to the principle academic independence and the independent, arms-length, peer review process for assessing applications for research grants.

“It has come to my attention that following a recommendation of a peer review board earlier this year, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council provided $19,750 under its Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences Program to a conference at York University entitled “Israel/Palestine: mapping models of statehood and prospects for peace”.

“Approval of this funding was based on an initial proposal that did not include detailed information on the speakers at the conference. Since funding was provided, the organizers of the conference have added a number of speakers to their agenda.

“Several individuals and organizations have expressed their grave concerns that some of the speakers have, in the past, made comments that have been seen to be anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic. Some have also expressed concerns that the event is no longer an academic research-focussed event.

“Therefore, I have spoken to the president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to bring these concerns to his immediate attention and asked that Council give them full consideration. In particular, I asked that the Council, once they have seen this information, to consider conducting a second peer review of the application to determine whether or not the conference still meets SSHRC’s criteria for funding of an academic conference.”


Convey your thanks and appreciation to the Minster for his request to the SSHRC that it reconsider its support for this conference in light of the serious concerns that have been brought to light.

Urge the Minister to direct the SSHRC to immediately withdraw its funding from this sham of a conference that seeks to delegitimize the Jewish State and its supporters here at home.

Please send a blind carbon copy of your letter to B’nai Brith Canada at

Office of the Hon. Gary Goodyear
117 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
T: (613) 996.1307
F: (613) 996.8340

B'nai Brith Canada has been active in Canada since 1875 as the foremost Jewish human rights organization. To learn more about its advocacy work and diverse community and social programs, please visit


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