Queen's rector abuses his title in letter to Ignatieff - Macleans.ca

Queen’s rector abuses his title in letter to Ignatieff

Rebuffs Liberal leader’s condemnation of Israel Apartheid Week, saying Israel is guilty of genocide

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Remember the Queen’s University rector who used a Remembrance Day address to air his own political pet peeves?

Well it seems Rector Nick Day is back at it. After Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff recently released a statement condemning Israeli Apartheid Week, which is taking place on Canadian and international campuses this week, Day released some words of his own, calling Ignatieff’s statement “deeply unethical” in a note posted on his Facebook page and sent to Rabble.ca.

UPDATE: Queen’s Rector faces impeachment

In his letter to the Liberal leader, Day does make some fair points about the right to hold open dialogue on the Israel/Palestine issue, but also delves into his own personal position on the issue, arguing that Israel “operates a discriminatory judicial system in Palestine” and is the perpetrator of “perhaps the biggest human rights tragedy of my generation.” (Was the Rwandan genocide last generation?)

He goes on to slam Ignatieff’s original statement, cautioning the Liberal leader that if he continues to condemn “critique of the genocide happening in Palestine, you and the party you lead are complicit in that genocide.”

Curiously, he also adds:

I was elected to represent the approximately 20,000 students of Queen’s University. If I ever used the influence of my office and the power of my public voice, as you have [. . .] I would have a very difficult time sleeping at night.

Shall we play “Spot the Irony?”

Nick Day has every right to hold any political position he desires, and the freedom to express his opinions openly. The problem, though, is when he signs his name as “rector,” he no longer just speaks for himself. And when speaking for 20,000 students, it is negligent and unjust to take a strong position on an issue that is so politically divisive.

Day could’ve sent the exact same letter in response to Michael Ignatieff’s statement. But instead of signing it, “Nick Day, Rector,” he should have signed it, “Nick Day, student.”