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“A small group of thugs are holding an entire university community hostage and deciding who is allowed to speak and who is not. All people who value democratic principles such as freedom of expression and speech should share our outrage with this intolerable situation.” – co-Presidents Jason Portnoy and Yacov Fruchter, in a press release.

“That peace that we all felt at Concordia was a Band-Aid. This was not resolved.” – Jason Portnoy, co-President, as reported by CTV news.

“I am truly embarrassed by such failures in a democracy in the 21st century. I am afraid to ask, but if my fellow students are not interested in free speech and inquiry for all of us on campus, regardless of a speaker’s political opinions, than what exactly are we learning at school?” – Tal Elharrar, in an opinion piece in today’s Link

Federation CJA:

“This is a day of great sadness for those who value freedom of expression in our universities and in Canadian society. Concordia University has allowed itself to be taken hostage by a small and violent group within its campus. With this decision, Concordia has demonstrated that the right to free speech is only as strong as the institutional will to protect it.” – Sylvain Abitbol, President, in a statement.

The university administration:

“It is unfortunate, but a reality nonetheless, that the safety of its community members and guests must occupy a central position in planning events at an institution dedicated to free speech.” – Concordia vice-president Michael Di Grappa, in a press release.


“It’s a matter of Canada respecting its own laws. You don’t allow someone into the country who’s an accused war criminal. [ . . . ] Bringing (Barak) to campus would have shown a general disregard for a very large number of people who don’t want him to speak.” – Erik Yingling, SPHR, in today’s Gazette

“He is a war criminal and he shouldn’t be allowed to speak at a public institution like Concordia. Free speech is not unlimited in Canada. I’m glad they learned from their first mistake and came to their senses.” – Chadi Marouf, SPHR, in today’s Globe and Mail.

“I want to make this clear, there would still be people who would not want him to come, he is after all an accused war criminal, but personally I would go to the speech and, if a question and answer period was guaranteed, I would call him out on the crimes he is accused of,” said Yingling. “That being said, I think the university exercised a good degree of common sense when rendering their final decision.” – Eric Yingling, SPHR, in today’s Link.

The Media:

“Freedom of speech is again under assault at Montreal’s Concordia University by administrators who seem to value tranquility on campus more than they do the rights of people to debate controversial ideas.”Toronto Star editorial.

“[The SPHR] is amazed at its own success… they don’t even have to break windows again. Their reputation precedes them. The mere threat of violence was enough to get the university to capitulate.” – Tommy Schnurmacher, on CJAD radio this morning.

At large:

The contention that a speech by a former Head of State of a democracy can be classified as “provocation” is absurd; rather, it should be seen as a welcome beginning to open dialogue. The stigma associated with a “controversial” speaker represents a disturbing delusion. If a controversial viewpoint is defined as one that many people will disagree with, then controversial speakers are the ones who will most likely advance the course of debate on contentious issues. I’d far prefer to listen to a “controversial” speaker than one who attracts no dissenting opinions. – Josh Fisher, Concordia student in a letter to the Link.

“This would no doubt please the anti-Israeli activists who prevented Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking in 2002. With one riot, they’ll have managed to prevent two Israeli statesmen from speaking at a Canadian university.”– Jonathan Kay, posting to the National Post blog.

“Congratulations, my leftie friends. Concordia is yours. You will no longer have to suffer the indignity of viewpoints you don’t like being represented on campus. It may be some time before the dictatorship of the proletariat takes over society as a whole, but dang it, this is a start.”Damian Penny.


Tommy Schnurmacher, as you might expect, has been all over this story.

A few choice quotes (and excuse me for paraphrasing, it’s hard to listen to the radio and type simultaneously):

“Why doesn’t the government say to Concordia, wait a minute, you get government funding and you don’t have the right to decide which political viewpoints can be expressed on campus and which ones can’t”.

“They [SPHR] are not interested in Israelis who make peace, they’re not interested in Israelis who don’t make peace… they don’t want any Israel in the Middle East, period.”

“[The SPHR] is amazed at its own success… they don’t even have to break windows again. Their reputation precedes them. The mere threat of violence was enough to get the university to capitulate.”

Tommy spent his hour-long radio show vocally decrying Concordia’s decision. Judging by the response he got, he’s not alone.


Concordia: the new big story


Concordia’s decision to bar Ehud Barak from speaking has now received press coverage in the Toronto Star, the National Post blog, and Ha’aretz. It’s been blogged by LGF, Damian Penny, and even Instapundit. And, it made the top stories on the 11 o’ clock news. SPHR, of course, is characteristically claiming that freedom of speech […]

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Concordia University: A timeline


Many media outlets, when covering the tensions and flare-ups at Concordia, have tried to construct timelines. Most of them get it wrong, or at least omit many crucial points. Certainly it’s hard to be comprehensive, but here’s a partial look back at some of the key events of the past five years or so: April […]

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Gaza U once again at Concordia


Another semester, another scandal. This time, Hillel submitted a request to bring Ehud Barak to speak at Concordia, but, according to a press release from Hillel, the university has denied their request for anywhere on both campuses – even Loyola. Now, they’re holding a protest: FREEDOM OF SPEECH DENIED AT CONCORDIA First Ehud Barak, WHO’S […]

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SPHR invites Netanyahu’s nephew


SPHR invited Netanyahu . . . ‘s nephew to speak at Concordia, only just over a year after violently rioting against Netanyahu himself to get his speech shut down. Eric Ben-Artzi came to speak on behalf of the Refusenik movement – Israelis who would prefer to go to jail than serve in the IDF. SPHR […]

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Hillel loses court case against CSU


The Link reported that Concordia Hillel lost its court case against the CSU: In an Oct. 10 decision, the Quebec Court of Appeals found against Hillel’s appeal on lifting the suspension of their lawsuit against the CSU. The court also found in favour of the CSU’s cross appeal to force the inclusion of the Union’s […]

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Concordia: One year later


September 9th, 2002: They came to shut down free speech. They violently rioted, as explained in this widely-circulated eyewitness account. They didn’t want Benjamin Netanyahu to give this speech – or, indeed, to speak at all – and so they gathered to riot, cause mayhem, and rough up people trying to attend. The fallout made […]

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Quote of the day


This comes from Mazin Fahmawi, a regular poster on the Link’s board and an SPHR member: SPHR would love to see the link unbiased towards anybody because that will only show the true faces of what SPHR represents, making the public aware of the Palestinian Human Rights abuses, and what Hillel represent, a blind nationalist […]

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Weekend update


I hope everyone had a nice weekend, spending time outside enjoying the beautiful weather. In case you’re looking for some entertainment, check out the Link’s board for more on the story below, and a very indignant Adam Slater initiating a pissing contest. Reading the interaction I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the […]

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