People’s Voice Editorial
The furious attack against free speech in Canada escalated again in early December, with outrageous slanders in the Ontario Legislature against a university student. On Dec. 7, MPPs Steve Clark and Eric Hoskins spoke to condemn Jenny Peto, a University of Toronto student whose 100-page MA thesis examines pro-Zionist Holocaust remembrance programs. Peto is a Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors, but this did not prevent these politicians from making wild statements that her scholarship is “astoundingly anti-Semitic.”
Not surprisingly, Clark and Hoskins, along with corporate media pundits who jumped in to attack Peto, have never read her thesis. They can’t be bothered to check out the facts, such as the reality that the Palestine solidarity movements unite powerful contingents of people from Jewish, Muslim, Arab and many other backgrounds and beliefs. Yes, there are vile expressions of anti-Semitism in Canada, but almost entirely by white supremacist gangs, not human rights activists.
Just before the outbursts against Jenny Peto, pro-Zionist forces tried to disrupt the November speaking tour by George Galloway. Once again, the claim was that Galloway is an “anti-Semite,” a lie which fell flat when thousands heard the former British MP speak about the tragic Israeli occupation of Palestine.
These cases are part of a vicious campaign led by the Harper Tories and other anti-Palestinian forces to criminalize any criticism of Israel’s apartheid-style policies. Sadly, some public figures who should know better cave in whenever this anti-free speech lobby comes knocking. And kudos to those who courageously resisted these pressures, like Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, and U of T administrators who have defended Jenny Seto’s right to engage in scholarly research.