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Another one bites the dust…

I received this from a friend at Ryerson. It is a letter from Professor Edward Vrscay to Professor Sebastian Fernando, the chair of Mathematics at Ryerson:

Dear Sebastian:

Sebastian, I regret to inform you that I shall not be able to give the
colloquium talk to your Department which was scheduled for Thursday, March 19. In fact, “shall not be able” does not describe the situation properly. Let’s say that I am cancelling my talk, in response to “Israel Apartheid Week” which is being held at Ryerson, U of T and York this week. Particularly disturbing to me was the poster showing a
missile shot from an Israeli helicopter and heading toward a Gazan boy
holding a teddy bear. And this was only a still image from an even more disgusting video posted by the “Toronto Social Forum”.

Please understand – this is NOT a statement of any kind against the
Department of Mathematics, which had nothing to do with this “Week”.
And it’s not a “boycott” of Ryerson. It’s simply a personal decision
based upon my disagreement with the “Week” and concern about its consequences, include hate-mongering and anti-Semitism.
What would have been the reaction this week if someone posted a cartoon showing a missiles launched from Gaza headed toward an Israeli child with a teddy bear? Or an atlas of the Middle East, with a bubble coming from most countries with the message, “We do not believe in the existence of Israel!”?

Believe me, I was looking forward to meeting and conversing with people in your Department. You might think that the seemingly-distant political actions of a militant few should not be allowed to affect our academic activities, especially in a department as “removed” as Mathematics. But I think that enough is enough as far as
politically-correct acts such as Israel-bashing are concerned. It is
convenient for academics in their comfy offices and jobs to avoid the unease created by such situations by simply turning their eyes away and dismissing everything with an escape clause to the effect, “It’s not such a big deal.” I’m afraid, however, that by not thinking it was a big deal, it has become a very big deal — the proverbial elephant in the room that everyone wants to avoid.
And it doesn’t stop with Israel.

In any case, it’s not my intention to castigate your Department or
Ryerson as a whole. My “statement” is simply that the activities of a
few can, and should, affect the lives of others. I regret all
inconvenience that my cancellation will cause. Please feel free – in
fact, I encourage you – to circulate this e-mail to members of your
department so that they know that there is absolutely nothing personal here.

Sincerely yours
Ed Vrscay


Edward R. Vrscay
Department of Applied Mathematics
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
ervrscay@uwaterloo.ca

As with the case of Shalom Lappin, the brave professor from King’s College who last week announced he was cancelling his scheduled talk at York University,  it is crucial that this be circulated widely to empower even more Professors to take a stand! And also be sure to send Professor Vrscay a letter of support.

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4 Responses to “Waterloo Prof Cancels talk at Ryerson in protest of Israeli Apartheid Week”

  1. […] This nonsense on our campuses would cease if more of us stood up to it. Dear Sebastian: […]

  2. biorrieshork says:

    Ваш сайт в опере не очень то корректо показывается, а так все отлично! спасибки вам за умные мысли!

  3. itadeome says:

    И да прибудет с нами сила

  4. Staboots says:

    Спасибо за статью.. Актуально мне сейчас.. Взяла себе еще перечитать.

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