Letter to the Editor: ‘Average Canadian Fears Israeli Criticism’

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Dear Lambda Editors,

I applaud you and your reporter Gabriel Rodrigues for publishing the story “Group marks Israeli Apartheid Week at LU” in the March 18, 2014 edition of the Lambda.

Thanks to the concentrated corporate ownership of the western press, the human rights plight of the Palestinian people is a news story that does not often see the light of day in the mainstream media.

What’s more, there has been a concerted effort to prevent campus groups in Canadian universities from discussing violations of international law by the Israeli state, and the ‘Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)’ campaign that attempts to counter those violations.

As a faculty member who’s Jewish, I find this attempted restriction of free speech very upsetting.

The upshot is that the average Canadian fears any criticism of Israeli policy – no matter how justified it is – because it might somehow be construed as anti-Semitic. This has kept most Canadians in ignorance of the ‘Palestinian Issue’ for the past 66 years.

So, thanks to Lambda for publishing this educational story and asserting the right to both academic and press freedoms. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brandeis once said, if you hear or read someone’s view, and find that it’s disagreeable to you, the answer isn’t to restrict that viewpoint – the answer is to rebut with more (and varied) viewpoints. Here’s how Brandeis put it:

“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

In the spirit of this famous quote, I urge Lambda to act as a source of varied and informed speech.

Yours Sincerely,

Reuben Roth, Ph.D. Laurentian University