The president of the largest union in the province of Ontario is proposing boycotting Jews and Israelis who refuse to condemn the actions of Israel in bombing schools and other institutions in Gaza. According to Sid Ryan, “academic freedom goes both ways. What we are saying is if they want to remain silent and be complicit in these kinds of actions, why should they enjoy the freedom to come and teach in other countries like Canada?” Mr. Ryan raises some interesting issues which he most probably fails to understand. Is it his assumption that if one is Jewish the individual must oppose Israel actions in Gaza or face the consequence of being boycotted? If one is born and raised in Canada and happens to be Jewish, does this mean that individual will be singled out about Israel policies? Why shouldn’t Christian or Muslim academics be required to make a statement that states their opposition to Israel policies?
If one takes the Ryan approach to “academic freedom,” if he is against abortion, must all Catholic school teachers be against abortion or face the consequences of being boycotted? Should all those of Iranian heritage teaching in schools come out against the actions of the Iranian government which is anti-female and stifles academic freedom? I assume since Mr. Ryan is of Irish heritage, he would have supported a boycott of any person who was Irish who did not take a public stand against the IRA when that organization was killing civilians?
A person who is a Canadian Jew is a Canadian. A person who is a Canadian Catholic is Canadian. Once we take the Ryan approach, every person living in North America is now responsible for what happens in their nation of origin whether it be one or two or three hundreds years ago that their ancestors arrived in Canada.