IsraPundit

WE'VE MOVED! IsraPundit has relocated to www.israpundit.com. Click here to go there now.
News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 07, 2003

RESPONSE FROM CANADIAN GOVERNMENT TO MY CRITICISM OF HIZBOLLAH NOT BEING A PROSCRIBED ORGANISATION


Dear Dr Bornstein,
Thank you for your e-mail of December 8, 2002. Please accept our apologies
for the delay in the response.
On December 10, 2002, the Canadian Government listed Hezbollah in its
entirety under the Canadian Criminal Code and the UN Suppression of
Terrorism Regulations. New information concerning Hezbollah, such as Sheikh
Nasrallah's November 29 speech, was a key factor in deciding to list
Hezbollah in its entirety.
Canada condemns in the strongest terms the horrific suicide bombings which
occurred in Tel Aviv on January 5. We offer our sincere condolences to the
victims and their families. After more than two years of bloodshed, the time
has come to regain the road to peace. We call on all parties to pursue
actions consistent with that goal.
In relation to your concerns regarding some Canadian campuses, they may
relate to a decision made by the Concordia University Student Union. We
suggest that you raise your concerns directly with the institution
concerned, keeping in mind that the decision by the Concordia Student Union
may now be before the courts. You may also find of interest the following
announcement by Concordia University about the decision
A . As well, we attach a
media clipping from the Globe and Mail which describes the events which lie
behind the decision (see below).
Mailing address:
Concordia University
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8
Canada
Phone: 514.848.2424
a
ANNEX
Banned group taking campus union to court
By OLIVER MOORE
Globe and Mail Update
A Jewish student group banned from Concordia University is going to court to
have its status on campus reinstated and its funding restored.
Legal counsel for Concordia Hillel on Wednesday announced the details of
their case, which they say represents the first banning of a Jewish student
organization "since Austria in the '30s."
The group was banned by the Concordia Student Union (CSU) after a complaint
that pamphlets they were distributed included appeals for students to join
the Israel Defence Forces.
Canada's Foreign Enlistment Act makes it illegal for anyone in the country
to recruit or induce someone "to enlist or to accept any commission or
engagement in the armed forces of any foreign state or other armed forces
operating in that state." After voting 8-1 to ban Hillel, the CSU justified
the action by noting that it is legally liable for the actions of its
student clubs.
The CSU argues that the group broke federal law because it was recruiting
Canadians to join a foreign army, but Concordia Hillel co-president Noah
Joseph says that the pamphlets were just an excuse to crack down.
"It's very clear that that's a thinly veiled excuse," he told
globeandmail.com from Montreal. "We're basically their only political
opposition on campus, we're the only ones who oppose them in any of their
practices or policies and they've been looking for a way to get us out of
the way."
Concordia Hillel's lawyer said that the CSU had ignored a Monday deadline to
reinstate Hillel and that court documents are being prepared. A preliminary
hearing could be set as early as next, lawyer Michael Bergman told
globeandmail.com.
"The resolution banning the Hillel from Concordia is illegal, it is contrary
to the Charter of Human Rights, it is contrary to the Concordia Student
Union constitution and bylaws, it was adopted using an irregular and
improper procedure," he said.
"It is essentially a ban on the rights of Jewish students at Concordia to
the four fundamental freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech,
freedom of association and freedom of assembly.
Representatives of the Concordia Student Union were not immediately
available for comment.
Mr. Joseph said that "only the courts" can solve the impasse, arguing that
"the CSU has continuously misbehaved and misused the power that it's granted
by the Ministry of Education."
Mr. Bergman said that only a public apology from the CSU could head off the
brewing legal battle.
"My client will not accept that, for the first time since World War Two, a
Jewish organization has been proscribed," he said. "The only possible way to
resolve this is through the unconditional withdrawal of the ban and an
appropriate apology, a recognition that what they did was wrong"
Concordia has been the site of several violent incidents between
pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli factions. Chaos broke out Sept. 9 when
former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to appear and
campus security officials were forced to stop his speech from going ahead.
The university responded by imposing a moratorium on Middle East debate that
was only recently lifted.
Sincerely,
Inge Rumble
Public Affairs Officer/Agent, Relations Publiques
Canadian High Commission/Haut-commissariat du Canada
Commonwealth Ave
Canberra ACT 2600 Australia
Tel + 61 (0)2 6270 4022
Fax+ 61 (0)2 6270 4083
Mobile 0417 212 634
inge.rumble@dfait-maeci.gc.ca
www.canada.org.au