Hasbara Fellowships Canada, the country’s largest pro-Israel campus advocacy organization, received complaints from students about Dr. June Larkin, professor at the Women & Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, who exploited her academic position by promoting Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) which takes place at U of T professor during the week of March 9, 2017.
In an the email circulated to faculty and students, a copy of which was obtained by CIJnews, Larkin urged recipients to endorse IAW which she described as an event that “aims to raise awareness about Israel’s ongoing practices of apartheid, occupation, and dispossession against the Palestinian people” and to support the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement.
“This year’s IAW will reflect on 100 years of resistance to settler colonialism across historic Palestine since the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. The Week will also link the history of Palestinian resistance to the struggles of the Indigenous peoples on whose territories we live, work, and study, and who are resisting settler colonial violence and dispossession”, Larking wrote.
In response, Hasbara Fellowships Canada lodged a complaint with the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, and requested that he conduct an immediate investigation into this matter.
“Universities are meant for challenging opinions and open discourse, but when a professor uses their position to promote this hateful and dangerous cause, they are not acting in the best interests of the campus community”, Robert Walker, National Director of Hasbara Fellowships Canada wrote in a statement.
A student, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “As a Jewish, pro-Israel student, I am intimidated and fearful of expressing my political opinions and support for the Jewish State when my professor openly advocates against my homeland. This conduct further reminds me that the promise of an inclusive campus does not extend to supporters of Israel.”
The BDS movement Larkin is promoting by using her university email address was long ago exposed as a racist and anti-Semitic hate movement, and was recognized as such by the Canadian Parliament and Ontario Legislature, which unanimously passed motions rejecting BDS in all its forms.
According to NGO Monitor, an internationally renowned watchdog of non-governmental organizations, the objective of BDS is the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state by using the strategy of exploiting the rhetoric of human rights and false “apartheid” analogies to demonize and isolate Israel.
Ilana Shneider is the co-editor of CIJnews and the founding executive director of Canada-Israel Friendship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mutually beneficial, long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Israel. She can be reached at [email protected]