Minister ‘disgusted’ over U of T thesis

Grad student calls Holocaust education `racist`


 

Ontario immigration minister, Eric Hoskins is “disgusted” by a master’s thesis accepted by the University of Toronto that calls Holocaust education “racist.”

The thesis, submitted by graduate Jennifer Peto argues that the March of the Living and the March of Remembrance and Hope, both Holocaust education programs, perpetuate “Jewish victimhood” while obscuring “Jewish privilege,” denying “Jewish racism,” and promoting the “interests of the Israeli nation-state.” Her thesis is titled, “The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education.”

After the story was reported by the Toronto Star, it was debated in the Ontario legislature. Hoskin’s remarks, where he said he was “greatly disturbed and in fact disgusted” by the thesis followed comments by Progressive Conservative MPP, Peter Shurman who called Peto’s work a “piece of garbage.”

U of T provost Cheryl Misak was quoted in the Star urging a reminder that it was a student who wrote the paper. “I don’t know this student, but I certainly wouldn’t want to see this kind of scrutiny and unhappy attention on students in general,” she said.


 
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Minister ‘disgusted’ over U of T thesis

  1. it’s interesting that members of parliament would have so much time on their hands as to come out criticising the work of a student. clearly, there are no other issues that need to be addressed in the province…

    i would like to highlight one thing, though, that is rather important. the statement of institutional purpose of the university of toronto includes this:

    “Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.”

    it is our responsibility as students, as academics, as those interested in the pursuit of knowledge (and not just for industry or profit), to be critical of our own world. sometimes the questions that we ask and the conclusions that we draw are indeed deeply disturbing and reflect behaviours or perspectives that must be addressed if we are to consider ourselves decent human beings, by any account.

    it is the place of no government official to spend time in the legislature criticising a perspective for the reason of finding it difficult to process or that it causes them personal discomfort. i would challenge minister hoskins to actually read the paper (which he likely hasn’t) and to engage with the ideas put forth in it before drawing a conclusion. and to also focus on some of the more pressing issues affecting the people of this province, like poverty and access to public services.

  2. Adam, keep in mind that this is the Ontario legislature – the same gaggle of clowns who voted to condemn discussion of Israeli apartheid on campus

  3. The right of free speech does not cover this topic.

  4. I would have liked to hear the provost defend it under the university’s policy of Academic Freedom as stated on U of T’s website:
    academic freedom is the freedom to examine, question, teach, and learn, and it involves the right to investigate, speculate, and comment without reference to prescribed doctrine, as well as the right to criticize the University and society at large. Specifically, and without limiting the above, academic freedom entitles faculty and librarians to:

    (a) freedom in carrying out their activities:

    (b) freedom in pursuing research and scholarship and in publishing or making public the results thereof; and

    (c) freedom from institutional censorship. Academic freedom does not require neutrality on the part of the individual nor does it preclude commitment on the part of the individual. Rather academic freedom makes such commitment possible.

    Mr. Doucette: It is illegal in Canada to deny the Holocaust, not to be critical of ideologies that use it.

  5. Sounds like typical Liberal bigotry.
    Free speech is fine if you want to denigrate jews, university is all about free speech that attacks anything jewish.

    But watch out if your name is Christy Blatchford or heaven forbid
    Ann Coultere, that kind of free speech is outlawed.
    You will be labeled a racist, unruly bullies will intimidate you right off the stage.
    They will threaten your audiance.
    Try to hold an anti-abortion rally and you will quickly find out how much the university thinks about YOUR free speech.

    Liberals in Jackboots whod a thunk it.

  6. Did Hoskins read “the thesis”, as the title seems to suggest, or did he read “about the thesis”, as the Toronto star reports?

    I think this is a big difference. If I am not mistaken, here we are not dealing with circumstantiated charges of, let’s say, negationism (something I doubt could ever approved by a scientific committee, for sure it should never be).

    The assumption is instead that nobody can analyze (or criticize) the public politics of memory of his/her own country or community. Scholars more illustrious than the MA Graduate Peto have done so: Tzvetan Todorov, just to say one.

    If we accept the idea that certain research topics are illegitimate in themselves (no matter how we deal with them), we are giving up our intellectual freedom.

    Toronto Star also reports the student is Jewish. So maybe she’s not Anti-Semite, she’s just being critical at certain aspects of her own community. I think these would be two totally different matters. To negate the Holocaust IS a crime. To criticize Israeli politics is not.

  7. If Mr Hoskins actually read the thesis, I doubt he would find it much more convincing.

    The author frequently seems to be tailoring the facts in support of her anti-Israel agenda. For example, she claims Baruch Goldstein murdered “over 50” Palestinians while they prayed at a Mosque in Hebron.

    History provides a different set of facts: Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians and wounded 125. He never left that mosque alive, as he was beaten to death within the Mosque by Palestinians who were protecting themselves.

    An additional 25 Palestinians died during riots following Goldstein’s attack (he was already dead), as did five Israelis.

    Note the nuance here. First off, Goldstein is blamed for the deaths that took place during the riots, but ONLY the Palestinian deaths. Peto doesn’t seem to take these five Israeli deaths into account. Had she, she would have credited Goldstein with having killed nearly 60 people, regardless of their ethnic or national distinction.

    Unless Israelis don’t matter as much to Peto as Palestinians.

    I’m not sure if I’m prepared to label Peto an anti-Semite, although I find that her work often strays perilously close to that territory. For now I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. But I’m not prepared to rule it out: we’ve long been told to accept the existence of “black-on-black racism”. So then how could we rule out “Semite-on-Semite anti-Semitism”?

  8. As someone from a similar background, its sound more like Ms. Peto it someone who is obvisouly confused with her feeling towards jewishness. It also interesting to note that all of her sources are from writes who have the same left leaning idealogies as the writer of the thesis. The fact that she chose to write on this topic just emphasizes what the majority of students in universities in Canada are being taught is “hate” open discussions on Israel.

  9. The choice of the University of Toronto to accept Jennifer Peto’s thesis rather than reject it as anti-Semitic was a poor decision. Ms. Peto’s paper clearly meets the requirements of anti-Semitism as published by the Anti-Defamation League on its website under “Introduction: Denial as anti-Semitism”.

    The fact that Ms. Peto’s thesis is racist against Jews, Caucasians and purports that Canada continues to commit “genocide” against aboriginals (page sixty) makes the University of Toronto all the more academically irresponsible. I would argue Ms. Peto’s thesis comes very close to violating section 319(2) of the Criminal Code which prohibits the wilful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group (in this case the entire Canadian Jewish community), by communicating statements other than in private conversation.

  10. Just the fact that discussing the (un)ethical nature of the jewish community is enough to draw out the “anti-semitism” veto card is proof enough that there is an imbalance of power.

  11. In the paper Ms. Peto makes a very clear distinction between Holocaust education that “seeks to universalize the Holocaust, by using it to teach broader lessons about hatred, intolerance and genocide”, and Holocaust education that exploits the memory of victims by using it for political purposes, namely, to serve the policies of the state of Israel. As Ms. Peto explains “Holocaust uniqueness has caused Jews, particularly Jews of European descent, to focus too much on their own victimhood, thereby preventing them from using the Holocaust to see parallels with other struggles, especially the Palestinian struggle.”

    I think there are definitely merit to this argument; while, I didn’t find the paper to be particularly well written, there is nothing remotely antisemitic about this thesis. Accusing this young lady of antisemitism without any evidence qualifies as libel. It speaks volumes that Ontario Legislation would actually debate the subject of some students paper, and that it would be written about in the Toronto Star and Macleans.

  12. Peto, like most others who condemn Israel as an apartheid state, is an antisemite. Her lopsided characterization of Palestinians as hapless victims and Israelis as racist persecutors, along with the complete omission of broader Arab involvement in mid-east wars, betray the depth of her hatred toward Jews. The passion of her hatred for Israel transcends ordinary criticism. Like others who claim to be “anti-zionist” and who deny they are antisemitic, Peto looks forward to the end of the Zionist enterprise which can only transpire through the genocide of Israeli Jewry.

  13. Just one question-

    If calling a Holocaust education- “Racist”-

    Would is it then “Racist” to recall the period of Black Slavery.?

  14. Peto has done a righteous service to the cause of Truth and Freedom in the face of those Freedom and Truth haters, always showing their boorishness by limiting discussion to nonsensical terms like ‘antisemitism’, wailing on about their sacred victimisation religon and the usual hypocritical tactics of Zionist-centric hit squads.

    Truth and Freedom are inextricable concepts that can not be nitpicked about without ultimately destroying what is a natural right leading to the fascistic destruction of a society. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING is open to question and discussion without exception in a truly freedom and truth oriented society. If it is not, it is neither a free society geared toward fulfilling truthful knowledge and actions, but a disgusting mockery of pretensions in the appearance of being so.

    It is clear that Canada and it’s constituent parts are afflicted with the MOB-ruled mentality most evident in it’s politicians and the loudest intimidating borg-minds who love to use their free speech rights to the exception of the others. It is downright shamefully ufgly that a student or anyone should be pillaried for exercising their right to freedom of expression on this particular theme or any other.

  15. Free speech is the key. Many myths and obvious lies about the Holocaust are spread by liars and profiteers like Elie Wiesal and Jay and Jordan Sekulow.War is Hell.Why do only the Jewish casulties seem to matter ? There have been many holocausts throughout history. This obvious double standard is falling apart and will ultimately harm the Jewish people.

  16. I agree with Seth. Who, if he’s Jewish (as I am) shows not-so-common sense in dealing with topics too long off-limits. The Sekulows are, number one, sellouts to the Christian world, and number two, hucksters for — dare I say it? — the most discredited *political ideology* in the world, Zionism. When, may one ask, will it be time to simply speak the truth with no isms involved?