Monday, December 6, 2010

this plot's so thick it's practically stew.

i wrote a bit ago about george galloway speaking at york university and the kerfuffle it caused:
"maybe yorku should sue the excalibur."

that event was protested by some, attended by many, and was a focus point for groups on both sides of the israel/palestine debate.

rabbi aaron hoch wrote in an email to his community that in allowing galloway's lecture to proceed president shoukri was showing "his amazing tolerance for anti semitism and lack of vigilance regarding the feeling of safety for jewish students on campus."

as i wrote, president shoukri took exception to being called an anti-semite and sent hoch an email through his counsel, harriet lewis. she warned hoch to stop spreading "defamatory remarks about the...president and stop encouraging non-students to protest the george galloway speech on campus." (you can read the full letter here).

lewis demanded that hoch apologize to shoukri and in return, shoukri's office received a letter from the "friends of simon wiesenthal centre" demanding HIS apology to hoch and the jewish community.

the letter states that shoukri warned hoch "and the jewish community", that it was essentially saying "galloway in-jews out", and that a speaker like galloway does not "constitute legitimate activity at york university."

the letter also declares that george galloway is anti-semitic and that the university is also guilty of anti semitism based on the "working definition of antisemitism and nathan sharanksy's 3D test of antisemitism: demonization, double standard and delegitimization(of israel)."

by making antisemitism the focus of their accusations, the letter from the 'friends of simon wiesenthal are conflating the jewish faith and culture with support for the state of israel. their letter ends strongly, assuring president shoukri that their "25'000 members in canada and 400,000 members worldwide would react strongly to any legal action which may be undertaken."

ooooh. scary.

here's an interesting fact about the 'friends of simon wiesenthal', or rather, an interesting fact about A friend of simon wiesenthal.

meet honey sherman:
honey sherman is on the board of governors for york university(community affairs committee) and she is also part of the york university foundation.

she is also the wife of barry sherman (apotex, of nancy olivieri fame).

so honey sherman is listed on the letter to shoukri from the 'friends of simon wiesenthal'. actually, she's on the board of directors of the foundation.

isn't it kind of weird for someone so intimately involved with the operations of a university to be attacking its president though an external organization? isn't it kind of a conflict of interest? or perhaps it just makes her position on the B.O.G and the foundation that much more transparent.

here comes the best twist in the story though: the independent jewish voices sent this letter of support to president shoukri-- combating the idea that the entire jewish community supports israel and views shoukri's actions as anti semitic. in fact, the IJV views the letter sent by the 'friends of simon wiesenthal' as a "vicious attack" and describes it as part of the campaign to "criminalize legitimate criticism of the state of israel."

the IJV is offering its support to shoukri--i wonder how he'll respond. it's obvious from the involvement of honey sherman that this is sticky territory for the president to be treading in and the allies he chooses could be verrryyy significant in the years to come at york university.


harriet lewis to rabbi aaron hoch
friends of simon wiesenthal to president shoukri
independent jewish voices to president shoukri

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