Open Letter to President Lorna Marsden President and Vice Chancellor York University

Published in Excalibur, York University Student News Paper, January 11, 2006

Dear President Marsden

I have been following the goings on at York University for some time with deep concern. There has been an attempt to suppress discussion of Palestinian human rights at your University. This is most disturbing and a violation of free speech, academic freedom and violation of Palestinian human rights.

Dr. David Noble has filed a complaint against your administration for the attempt to suppress discussion of Palestinian human rights on the basis of a false charge of anti-Semitism. Dr. Noble is Jewish and joins a very respected and honoured Jewish tradition of opposition to injustice and human rights violations.

Here is a link for my article "Jewish Criticism of Zionism" which lists more than 160 other Jewish critics of Zionism. This article lists many prominent Jewish intellectuals that largely share Dr. Noble's views on Zionism and his views on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine of Arabs by political Zionists. Many Jews were concerned about the impact of a political ideology based on an exclusionary nationalist movement which called for the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine and a political movement named Zionism. Zionism was opposed by many Jews in the past (in fact historically by the majority of Jews) and is opposed by many Jews today.

Professor Noble is just another Jewish critic in a long line of Jewish critics. This list includes Albert Einstein, I.F. Stone, Rabbi Elmer Berger, Rabbi Reuben Slonim, Isaac Asimov, Noam Chomsky, Hans Kohen, Eric Fromm, Bruno Kreisky, Israel Shahak, Hannah Arendt and many other leading Jewish intellectuals and religious figures. Tens of thousands of religious Jews today are opposed to Zionism including the orthodox Neturei Karta and the Satmar sects. Mordecai Richler, the esteemed Canadian author wrote an article entitled "Israel marks 50th anniversary out of favor with many Jews, Toronto Star, 15/02/1998.

Adam Shatz, the Literary Editor of The Nation Magazine, has recently published a book titled Prophet's Outcast which contains essays written by 24 prominent Jewish scholars and intellectuals which are very critical of Zionism and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. A copy of my review in Middle East Policy can be found at the link below. So Professor Noble joins a very distinguished group of Jews in his criticism of Zionism and its treatment of the Palestinians.

Israel's supporters shamelessly use the argument that to criticize Israel is anti-Semitic no matter what Israel does. This argument is almost entirely false and politically motivated.

Not to tell the truth about what is going on in Palestine is racist and a crime against the Palestinian people and a crime not unlike the one committed against Jews in the Second World War. Please restore freedom of speech, academic freedom and critical inquiry at York and let members of York University decide for themselves based on facts and in formed opinion not on suppression of debate and censorship.

Edward C. Corrigan
Barrister & Solicitor
Associate Editor ImmQuest
Associate Editor Immigration Law Reporter
Certified as a Specialist by the Law Society of Upper Canada
London, Ontario, Canada

"Jewish Criticism of Zionism" By Edward C. Corrigan, Middle East Policy
(Formerly American-Arab Affairs) Winter 1990-91, pp. 94-116.

"Prophets Outcast: A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing about Zionism and Israel," edited by Adam Shatz, Review by Edward C. Corrigan, Middle East Policy, Summer 2005, pp. 139-143.