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DePaul Rejects Finkelstein PDF Print E-mail
Jun 11, 2007 at 07:19 PM
Inside Higher Education       June 11, 2007

DePaul University on Friday formally denied tenure to Norman G. Finkelstein, who has taught political science there while attracting an international following — of both fans and critics — for his attacks on Israeli policies and the “Holocaust industry.”

Finkelstein’s tenure bid has attracted an unusual degree of outside attention and his research has been much debated by scholars of the Middle East. In evaluating his record, DePaul faculty panels and administrators praised him as a teacher and acknowledged that he has become a prominent public intellectual, with works published by major presses. But first a dean and now the president of DePaul — in rejecting tenure for Finkelstein — have cited the style of his work and intellectual combat. Finkelstein was criticized for violating the Vincentian norms of the Roman Catholic university with writing and statements that were deemed hurtful, that contained ad hominem attacks and that did not show respect for others

Given that line of criticism, the Finkelstein case is emerging as a test of whether a range of qualities grouped together as “collegiality” belong in tenure cases. Many colleges and universities consider collegiality — perhaps not surprising given that a positive tenure vote can make someone a colleague for the duration of a career. But many experts on academic freedom, as well as the American Association of University Professors, view skeptically the practice of treating collegiality as a major, independent factor in the tenure process. They fear that collegiality can provide cover for squelching the views of those who may hold controversial or cutting edge views or who just get on their colleagues’ wrong sides.

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Classroom monitor PDF Print E-mail
Apr 04, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Board orders civics teacher at centre of Mideast dust-up out of the class

By GLENN WHEELER
NOW magazine
March 29-April 4, 2007

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation has recently launched a grievance at the Toronto District School Board on behalf of teacher and Middle East activist Jason Kunin, NOW has learned.

A civics and English teacher at Vaughan Road Academy, Kunin was asked to leave the classroom for 17 days in January while the board investigated an undisclosed complaint.

Kunin was sent home the very Thursday, January 18, that he and other teachers at a District 12 council meeting sought support for a resolution urging a boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel because of its occupation of Palestinian land. The motion failed.

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Plucky reader honoured for book's defence PDF Print E-mail
Feb 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Toronto Star, Feb. 28.
Tess Kalinowski
Education Reporter

A Burlington Grade 5 student has become the first child to receive the Writers' Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award.

Evie Freedman, 10, is being honoured for her spirited defence last year of the controversial book, Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak by Simcoe author Deborah Ellis.

The book was pulled out of circulation in some Ontario school libraries, including those in the Toronto and York public boards, after the Canadian Jewish Congress complained it was an inappropriate selection for the Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch reading awards program.

The Halton public board, where Evie attends Charles R. Beaudoin Public School , did not pull the book.

But children like her are among the most affected by book bans, said Ron Brown, chair of the writers' union.

Because of Evie, "we were able to get the message of freedom to read to students of that age," he said.

An ardent fan of Ellis' books, Evie was widely quoted in the press objecting to the censorship of Three Wishes.

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Theatre scraps play on Mideast 'martyr' PDF Print E-mail
Dec 22, 2006 at 12:00 AM

CanStage boss insists artistic merit, not political pressure, behind decision

December 22, 2006
Martin Knelman, arts columnist Toronto Star

Opting to avoid the dangerous liaisons of Middle East politics, the Canadian Stage Company has called off plans to bring the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie to Toronto, the Star has learned.

Martin Bragg, artistic producer of Canstage, said in a phone interview yesterday that he has changed his mind...

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"Three Wishes" Denied PDF Print E-mail
Mar 31, 2006 at 12:33 AM

Palestinian boy with word ‘censored’ taped across his mouth.Initiatives to censor expressions of “unacceptable” thoughts are an important feature of the work of Canadian advocates of Israeli state policies. This includes efforts to silence even children. 

In 2006 the Canadian Jewish Congress is waging a campaign to prevent Ontario school school children from reading the words of Palestinian and Jewish Israeli children presented in the book Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli children speak, by award-winning Ontario author Deborah Ellis. The Toronto Star reported on this censorship campaign on March 2. Another article March 15 documents the spreading campaign, and a March 16 Toronto Star editorial compares this with other current censorship issues. The book had been recommended by the Ontario Library Association as one of those eligible for their prestigious Silver Birch Award, winners chosen by the votes of school children who read the eligible books.

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ISM’s response to the Rachel Corrie trial verdict
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is deeply concerned by the verdict of Judge Oded Gershon that absolved Israel’s military and state of the 2003 murder of American ISM activist Rachel Corrie. Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the American administration stating that the Israeli military investigation had not been "thorough, credible and transparent" and the Israeli government withholding key video and audio evidence, Judge Gershon found no fault in the investigation or in the conclusion that the military and state were not responsible for Rachel’s death. Judge Gershon ruled  that Rachel was to blame for her own murder and classifies her non-violent attempt to prevent war crimes as proof that Rachel was not a “thinking person".

By disregarding international law and granting Israeli war criminals impunity Judge Gershon’s verdict exemplifies the fact that Israel’s legal system cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards.The ISM calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable by supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and continuing to join the Palestinian struggle in the occupied Palestinian territories.
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