Dear Professor Shorter,
We write on behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) to defend your right to academic freedom both in providing educational materials, including website links, for your students, and in supporting the political groups of your choice. You have recently been attacked for both.
Here in Canada as well as in the U.S. and abroad and in Israel itself, supporters of the current Israeli regime are attempting to silence all criticism of Israel’s policies and to suppress support of Palestinian rights or acknowledgment of Palestinian history and culture. Among many examples, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre recently played a prominent role in shutting down an exhibit of Palestinian children’s art in the Oakland area; we are proud to have helped in the Canadian tour of this exhibit. In Ontario, York University was targeted by Zionist organizations for hosting a 2009 international conference. More recently, we have been active in exposing attempts by the Canadian Parliamentary Committee to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) to expand the definition of antisemitism and to criminalize criticism of Israel as “hate speech”.
The SFSC, based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, was founded in 2008 to defend free speech and encourage open debate on matters relating to Palestine and Israel. We commend your refusal to be intimidated and congratulate you for supporting the democratic right of your students to consider a full range of views on Palestine-Israel.
Please feel free to make use of this letter as you see fit.
Brian Campbell and Anne Roberts
Co-Chairs, Seriously Free Speech Committee