Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Protocols Of The Old Guys In Ottawa

Now that Kady has posted the entire document produced by the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, I think the good Dawg's panicking a bit; this kind of Parliament Hill get together is more likely something done in lieu of legislation rather than as a precursor to it.

In any case, the stuff about Israel is copped almost word-for-word (I think) from the EUMC working definition of anti-semitism, and I suppose bringing Canadian hate laws more closely into line with that working definition would be the most problematic course hinted at (but no more than hinted at) in the document. Mind you, when I read the working definition, its reference to "overall context" softens the impact of much that follows. For example, in context, a comparison of Israeli policies to those of Nazi Germany might well be justified (ie not anti-semitic). In addition, countries are routinely compared to Nazi Germany, so I'm not sure how criticizing Israel in like terms would count as dissimilar. Also, you would still get to compare Israel to South Africa (for example: Israel Apartheid Week), and that is the wounding metaphor that folks seem most eager to deploy.

As to actions directed at Canadian campuses, the document commits parliamentarians to:

Working with universities to encourage them to combat antisemitism with the same seriousness with which they confront other forms of hate. Specifically, universities should be invited to define antisemitism clearly, provide specific examples, and enforce conduct codes firmly, while ensuring compliance with freedom of speech and the principle of academic freedom. Universities should use the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism as a basis for education, training and orientation. Indeed, there should be zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind against anyone in the university community on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or political position...

Well, its always nice to get encouragement from your MP, and I personally love invitations, but the document doesn't seem to be demanding much, at least not much that's specific. Which is fine, because I think reports of on-campus anti-semitism have, generally speaking, been overblown in this country.

So, a nothing burger, or no?

PS. Nobody here is talking new legislation, as far as I can tell.


Marky Mark said...

Thanks for posting the link. Having now read the text, I agree totally with your post.

Dr.Dawg said...

Parliamentarians don't sit around for months and conduct extensive hearings just for a lark, BCL. Clearly there will be legislation. Even Marky, at my place, averred that Parliament would adopt an expanded definition of anti-Semitism--after months of denial.

wv="tried" ...and convicted.

bigcitylib said...

Legislation = compulsion. Why then worry about ENCOURAGING universties when you can just make 'em?

We shall see.

Dr.Dawg said...

Here's the other shoe (from Kady):

What Kenney does not do is give any indication that further legislation is in the works. Then again, perhaps he's waiting for the aforementioned CPCAA to release its report, which, at last check, wasn't expected to be completed until next spring at the earliest.