Did he really say that? And if not. Why not?
Statement on the Recent Controversy at York University
TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2011 /CNW/ – The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs was recently made aware of a lecture given by Professor Cameron Johnston yesterday at York University, which reportedly included an anti-Semitic remark.
In response, Sheldon Goodman, the GTA Co-Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs issued the following statement:
“Upon hearing of this incident, we immediately contacted York University as well as Professor Johnston directly. While York is currently looking into the matter, it appears that a very unfortunate misunderstanding has taken place. We believe Professor Johnston’s use of an abhorrent statement was intended to demonstrate that some opinions are simply not legitimate. This point was, without ill intentions, taken out of context and circulated in the Jewish community.
“Professor Johnston, himself a member of the Jewish community, may regret his wording but should not see his reputation tarnished. This event is an appropriate reminder that great caution must be exercised before concluding a statement or action is anti-Semitic.”
The Canadian Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is now the spokesperson for all issues concerning the organized Canadian Jewish community, including those formerly handled by the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canada-Israel Committee, and the Quebec-Israel Committee.
Statement from Professor Cameron Johnston
September 13, 2011
In lecture, I discussed that the course focuses on the texts and not “opinions”. In fact, I stated that for this course opinions are not relevant and I questioned the common idea that everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I pointed out that everyone is not entitled to their opinion by giving the example of someone having an anti-semitic opinion which is clearly not acceptable. This was an example of the fact that opinions can be dangerous and that none of us really do believe that all opinions are acceptable.
For the record, I am also Jewish which undoubtedly influenced my choice of this example of a reprehensible opinion.
This statement on the matter was issued by the Canadian Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and reflects in part my own opinion that Professor Cameron made the statement “All Jews must be sterilized” solely to illustrate a point. I do believe however that had he substituted Muslims for Jews the uproar would be huge & ongoing and that in fact he wouldn’t have dared done so to begin with as only certain religious groups are designated safe for demonization on York’s campus.
Case in point provided by reader Dr. Tournbulle: “Is it a secret that York University promotes Israel bashing …this picture was taken at York- Would York allow signs posted that said “1400 years of expansionist Islam = terror”?