‘Israel Apartheid,’ Oberlin College & pro-gay Carly Rae

What students are talking about today (March 5th)

by Josh Dehaas

Jepsen (Dance Photographer - Brendan Lally/Flickr)

1. Carly Rae Jepsen, the 27-year-old Canadian singer, has cancelled a performance at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in July because the Scouts still ban gay members. In a series of Tweets she wrote: “As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer. I always have and will continue to support the LGBT community on a global level and stay informed on the ever changing landscape in the ongoing battle for gay rights in this country and across the globe.” This seems like a smart move.

2. It’s Israel Apartheid Week again and both Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the annual hate-fest on Monday. So did at least one student op-ed, in Trent University’s Arthur, whose author argues the term apartheid is inaccurate. There was also a review of a film that compares Israel and apartheid South Africa in The Concordian. Here’s part of Kenney’s statement, which one might call overheated, even though he makes a valid point:

“I share the concerns of other Canadians about the reckless and overheated rhetoric associated with anti-Israel activities on many Canadian university campuses, and the toxic manner in which these activities are often carried out. There is no better example than the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW). Its organizers and participants have a regrettable history of promoting and holding events in ways that disregard the security and rights of Jewish faculty and students, censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse. The disproportionate vitriol directed against the democratic State of Israel during ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ stands in stark and ironic contrast to the silence of IAW organizers on the ongoing atrocities committed by the Syrian regime against its own citizens, and on the rampant brutalities and denial of rights in non-democratic countries in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world…. Operating under the guise of academic freedom, Israel Apartheid Week is a misleading attempt to delegitimize and demonize the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East.”

3. Gregory Todaro, writing in The Concordian, makes the case for better safety precautions in hockey. “There’s no question that safety precautions at young ages need to get revamped; when a team of 11-year-olds at the minor peewee AA levels sees seven concussions, obviously something is lacking,” he writes.  He’s in favour of increasing the age when students can check to 13, while noting the American Academy of Pediatrics advises hockey leagues ban it up to age 16. “Most young players will never make it to the NHL, and the last thing we need is for our next generation to be permanently injured in ways that could have easily been prevented,” he concludes.

4. Brandon van Zyl, an associate professor of physics at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, has lost his license for six months, but has had charges of impaired driving dropped due to problems with evidence, reports CBC News. The professor’s $130,000 Maserati Quattroporte hit a truck driven by a man who was later taken to hospital and is now pursing van Zyl in civil court.

5. Oberlin College in Ohio canceled classes on Monday and declared “a day of solidarity” after a person wearing what looked like a Ku Klux Klan outfit was seen near the Afrikan Heritage House on campus. “This event, in addition to the series of other hate-related incidents on campus, has precipitated our decision to suspend formal classes and all non-essential activities for today,” Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov wrote in a statement. A number of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay messages have been left around campus in recent months, reports The Oberlin Review.

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