Montreal, November 26, 2021 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) congratulates the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) for standing up for academic freedom on Palestine by opposing the controversial IHRA working definition of antisemitism. A resolution adopted unanimously by delegates at the CAUT’s Council Meeting takes a firm position against the IHRA definition, which conflates criticism and protest of Israel with antisemitism and is therefore widely understood as a threat to academic freedom. CAUT represents more than 70,000 faculty and academic staff in Canada.
“CAUT taking a principled position against IHRA is a huge step forward for protecting academic freedom on Palestine and Israel on university campuses” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “We must commit to fighting against antisemitism everywhere it exists, but without adopting harmful tools like IHRA which delegitimize Palestinian narratives and seek to shut down forms of anti-racist critique and resistance to Israeli oppression.”
CJPME notes that CAUT’s resolution follows similar motions adopted by more than thirty faculty associations and academic unions across Canada, as well as by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Earlier this year, CAUT stood up for academic freedom on Palestine by issuing a rare censure against the University of Toronto for revoking a job offer after a major donor complained about a job candidate’s scholarship on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In that instance, pro-Israel advocacy groups had effectively intervened in a confidential hiring process to block the candidate’s appointment.
CJPME has previously noted how pro-Israel advocates view IHRA as a tool that can be used by universities to restrict campus activism in support of Palestinians or to prevent the hiring of academics whose scholarship is critical of Israel.
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact: Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME: 613-315-7947 or [email protected]
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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