I find it deplorable that as the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration you would denigrate the work of a student (as reported in the Toronto Star of December 8) because you don’t agree with her political views.
One would have expected someone in your position to respect the diversity of Ontario and encourage debate on important issues instead of trying to impose conformity and penalizing dissent like your federal counterpart.
Regrettably, you are sending a distorted message to many Ontarians, and specifically newcomers who escaped despotic regimes, by joining hands with opponents of freedom of expression and academic freedom in attacking the thesis of a university student.
Last year the Ontario Legislature condemned Israeli Apartheid Week on Canadian campuses, and now you condemn a Jewish student for criticizing in her thesis some of the leadership in her own community for blindly supporting Israel’s policies and practices.
What can Ontarians expect next from you and the Ontario legislature? Are you going to start burning books and arresting people for their political views as happened under the Spanish Inquisition and Nazi Germany?
Jenny Peto was targeted for proposing in her thesis that Israel’s claims to victimhood are baseless and that the Palestinians have been victimized by European colonists who wiped Palestine off the map, ethnically cleansed most of the people and then stole their land.
Ms. Peto concludes that there are legitimate grounds to accuse Israel of being an apartheid State because of the systemic discrimination faced by the Palestinian citizens of Israel, the brutal military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and the refusal of Israel to allow 6 million Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.
University of Toronto provost Cheryl Nisak expressed the outrage of many Ontarians when she said she has been “a little alarmed at the kinds of things being said about a piece of student work.”
Attempts by opponents of academic freedom and Israeli apologists at intimidation and censorship reflect their inability to challenge academically the conclusions of Ms. Peto: that Israel is neither a victim nor a democracy but a victimizer and an apartheid state.
Instead of maligning Jenny Peto you should be reprimanding those who spend their time monitoring what is done and said on campuses and then resort to bullying tactics with the intention of silencing all dissenting voices.
Canadian Arab Federation