Monday, June 15, 2009

Gary Goodyear: Master Of All Sciency Stuff

Looks like Federal science minister Gary Goodyear has managed, as it were, to put the fear of God into the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC):

In January, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) gave $17,815 to York University in Toronto and Queen's University in Kingston to host a conference 22–25 June entitled 'Israel/Palestine: Mapping models of statehood and prospects for peace.' On 5 June, Goodyear asked the council to conduct a “second peer review” of the grant on the grounds that “several individuals and organizations have expressed their grave concerns that some of the speakers have, in the past, made comments that have been seen to be anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic.” In March, the minister infamously ducked an inquiry about his belief in evolution by saying: “I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.”

Yesterday the funding council took a small step toward mollifying one of its political masters by announcing that it is “looking into the matter in the context of its policies and procedures.” But SSHRC spokesperson Trevor Lynn noted that, 'to my knowledge,” the council has never conducted a second peer review of an approved grant. SSHRC program guidelines state that minor changes to a conference, such as the addition of a topic or replacement of speakers, do not require the agency's approval, whereas organizers are expected to tell the council of any major alterations in the use of the grant, such as “changing the theme or focus of the event.”

Mr. Goodyear's kibitzing has also managed to drive off two of the conference speakers. More details at Prometheus. Dave Bruggeman notes:

My take is that the pressure on the minister is to shut down the event, denying that it could possibly be about reasoned inquiry.

PS. Here's the conference program. Feel free to examine it for signs of anti-semitism.


Nitangae said...

A rather large and diverse conference. Yes, they are just trying to shut down the conference all together.

Ti-Guy said...

I still can't get beyond anyone not bothering to ask Goodyear who exactly made these charges and what was the substance of them?

According to Science Insider, this is the closest we come:

Conference co-organizer Sharryn Aiken, a law professor at Queen’s, is disappointed that the Jewish community would accuse organizers of promoting “a one-state solution for Israel and Palestine, which will result in obliteration of the Jewish homeland. We’re all academics, with you know, recognized credentials. None of us are ideologues and, speaking for myself, I don’t have any history of activism with the sort of anti-Zionist groups out there.”

Aiken, who is Jewish, said she was "deeply offended by these charges because they go to the core of what I care about. … It’s just over the top.”

Is it just enough now for someone in the "Jewish community" to issue a charge of antisemitism to get entire enterprises to rush around nervously to look for signs of ideological incorrectness?

Repulsive. In nazi Germany, this was known as Gleichschaltung. Fuck 'em. Up the tuchus.

bigcitylib said...

It was Bnai Brith and the JDL made the charges.

Ti-Guy said...

Ah, yes. I see here. According to that press release, the charge consists mostly of Frank Dimant screaming and screeching:

“This sham of a conference, which questions the Jewish State’s very right to exist, promises to be a veritable ‘who’s who’ of anti-Israel propagandists,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s Executive Vice President.

And of course, just examining two-state/one-state solutions questions the Jewish State's right to exist and is, ergo, antisemitic.

How much longer do these people think they can hold Canada's foreign policy and public discourse hostage with this intellectual dishonesty?