And now the fallout
This post was written by MJ on 10th Sep, 2002
After yesterday’s demo at Concordia, “those identified as having provoked or engaged in violence or vandalism will be prosecuted and their student status reviewed,” ConcU Rector Frederick Lowy said in a statement today. CBC Newsworld is reporting “reviewed” is a synonym for “expelled.” Lowy also said he will impose an immediate moratorium on any events dealing with the Middle East. A move the 95% or so of Concordia students who don’t give a toss about the Middle East would have liked to have seen years ago.
Concordia Student Union Pres Sabine Friesinger upheld her organization’s long tradition of loopiness by slamming the moratorium as an attack on free speech. The CSU supported the call to shut down Netanyahu’s speech. CP is reporting she is calling on Lowy to resign.
And another thing: Why did Concordia officials think it a good idea to bring Netanyahu into the university? His tour is sponsored by the Asper family and two Canadian Jewish charities; surely they could have afforded a hall on more neutral ground? Bringing Bibi — one of the most polarising figures in the debate; his wife recently said Israel “could burn” without him — to Concordia days before 9.11 is simple provocation.
More: From an anonymous post on Montreal Indymedia: “Yesterday at Concordia we witnessed a clear example of media concentration and its ramifications for free speech. Izzy Asper, the owner of CanWest Global, provided thousands of dollars for former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at Concordia University. Meanwhile, around a dozen CanWest Global journalists roamed the streets. What kind of coverage can we expect from CanWest’s 15 major Canadian newspapers in this situation? Why should they try to report on an event paid for by their own boss? Why not just just ask Izzy directly for a press release?”
Characterising CanWest journos as nothing more than corporate drones only reveals the the writer’s love of simplistic rhetoric; especially as, a couple of grafs after this characterization, the poster points out many journos at the Montreal Gazette have been agitating against Asper’s policies on the coverage of Israel. So, ah, which is it? Corporate drones or brave resisters of the status quo?
But the broader point stands: CanWest has been openly supportive of the policies of Israel; the Asper family foundation co-sponsored the tour; neither of these very salient facts made it into Southam or National Post coverage of the event.