March 10, 2011 | Toronto, Canada
Canadian Friends of Peace Now today condemned the anti-Israel diatribe authored by the student rector of Queen’s University on the occasion of Israeli Apartheid Week, which is taking place on Canadian and international campuses this week.
Nick Day, who was elected to his position to represent the interests of Queen’s students regarding social and financial affairs, seems to confuse rector with hector. He used the Remembrance Day observance last November to hector Israel about its treatment of the Palestinians, adding a note of divisiveness to what should have been a unifying event. But Mr. Day saved his most intemperate anti-Israel salvo for Israel Apartheid Week.
Following a statement by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff that condemned the hatefest that is Israeli Apartheid Week, Mr. Day attacked Mr. Ignatieff’s statement as “deeply unethical” in a message posted on his Facebook page and sent to the activist website Rabble.ca. He contended that Israel is the perpetrator of “perhaps the biggest human rights tragedy of my generation.”
He then blasted Mr. Ignatieff’s original statement, warning the Liberal Party Leader that if he continues to condemn the “critique of the genocide happening in Palestine, you and the party you lead are complicit in that genocide.”
CFPN has never hesitated to criticize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, its reluctance (at times) to wage peace with the same vigour that it wages (at times) excessive war. But if not all criticism of Israel should be dismissed as anti-Semitism, neither should all criticism be accepted as legitimate.
We ask Mr. Day: Are Israeli actions against the Palestinians so minor that he feels those actions can only arouse indignation by being inflated to the level of genocide? If Palestine is the “biggest human rights tragedy” of his generation, what does that make the Rwandan massacres?
The point is not to argue for a hierarchy of human rights tragedies, but to have the honest discussion of the Palestinian issue that Mr. Day feels is missing. This week, it certainly is missing on Canada’s campuses, and Mr. Day deserves some of the blame.
Canadian Friends of Peace Now is a Zionist organization and a member of the Canadian Jewish Congress. It is dedicated to enhancing Israel’s security through peace with its neighbours and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement. For further information, please call:416-322-5559