The Captive University

Opinion piece submitted to the Lethbridge Herald, not published as of February 1, 2018:

On May 12 2017 the Lethbridge Herald reported that at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs speaker Mohammed Abushaban listed the creation of the State of Israel among over a dozen historical events that have caused Middle East instability. That seems evident to even the most casual observer. But not so to Zionists.

The Zionist movement emerged over a hundred years ago to promote the creation of a Jewish nation in Palestine which came to pass with UN recognition of the State of Israel in 1947. Since then Zionism has evolved into a powerful special interest political lobby defining that Israel can do no wrong and declaring its critics anti-Semitic. By May 18 the Herald printed four angry Zionist letters from Calgary and Toronto denouncing Abushaban’s comments as “bizarre, extreme, appalling, drivel, hatred and conspiracy theories”.

But out in the real world, this. Last year to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel’s hostile military occupation of Palestinian lands, Theodor Meron recounted in relentless detail Israel’s 50 years of serial violations of international laws regarding military occupation and humanitarian standards. His condemnation of Israel filled almost 20 pages of the American Journal of International Law. Meron has served as President of the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and as Judge of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for both the former Yugoslavia and and for Rwanda. He is a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust.

Or this. In his 2001 book Righteous Victims, Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote “Israelis like to believe, and tell the world, that they were running an enlightened or benign occupation (of Palestinian land), qualitatively different from other military occupations the world has seen. The truth was radically different. Like all occupations, Israel’s was founded on brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation”.

Or this. University of Lethbridge professor Paul Viminitz has written in even starker terms “my co-religionists are treating the Palestinians under Occupation pretty much the way the Nazis treated us in the Warsaw Ghetto”.

In September 2016 Zionists launched a blitzkrieg against University of Lethbridge historian Anthony Hall firing their loaded code word missiles “anti-Semitic”, “holocaust denier”, “conspiracy theory”. Their clear purpose was to stifle Hall’s research through character assassination and livelihood destruction. As usual, news editors and journalists salivated at those juicy code words. The Canadian Press and television networks spread news of the attack across the nation at gossip speed.

Simultaneously, Zionists moved to undermine Hall’s professional status and employment through a secret full press lobby of the Premier, Solicitor General, Minister of Advanced Education, and U of L Board of Governors. The Zionists drew blood. In October 2016 the Board summarily suspended Hall from his academic post and banished him from campus.

The U of L Faculty Association challenged the suspension as illegal. The 70,000 member Canadian Association of University Teachers CAUT condemned the Board for violation of national academic standards. U of L professor Daniel O’Donnell wrote an excellent review of the unprecedented action of the Board and the resulting damage to the reputation of the University. Viminitz issued a blistering rebuttal of the absurd Zionist charge of anti-Semitism against Hall; not only is Hall not anti-Semitic, it is bigotry to claim that he is. As for the equally absurd charge of holocaust denial, in his research publications Hall makes numerous references to the fact of the Nazi Holocaust, for example “the barbarism of Nazism’s genocidal war against the Jews”.

After more than a year of delay, confusion and conflict, in November 2017 the Board reinstated Hall. Zionists immediately deluged the Board and Government Ministers with furious complaints.

On November 24 2017 Premier Rachel Notley broadcast a public mass email obsequiously pandering to her Zionist correspondents. She labelled Anthony Hall with the words “repulsive”, “offensive”, “spreader of lies and conspiracy theories”. She declared he “absolutely” should not be teaching students. She expressed disappointment at his reinstatement due to a Labour Code technicality. She confirmed that Hall’s future at the University hangs by the thin thread of the collective agreement. She “promised” to inform them of any new developments, presumably meaning the success in her determination to have him purged and exterminated.

In the October edition of the periodical Alberta Views former leader of the Alberta Liberal Party Kevin Taft claims that Alberta has become a captive state. He describes how the public interest no longer drives the Government of the Province as it would in a functional social democracy. Instead, the Government is driven by back room deals to serve the demands of private special interests.

Taft describes how provincial universities have also become distorted and perverted. At the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Lethbridge senior officials are entangled in conflicts of interest in violation of the very laws enacted to protect universities from interference by special interest groups and power hungry politicians. Thus Taft has provided a plausible explanation for the unholy collusion in the Hall affair involving the disreputable alternate truth Zionist lobby, the U of L Board, and the Rachel Notley inner circle.

The New Democratic Party should remove Notley and replace her by a Premier who would publicly recommit to serving the Alberta public interest. In the Hall affair Notley has demonstrated that she is unfit for that office for any of three reasons: her unconscionable Trump-like defamation of a private citizen; her sacrifice of the public interest to the extremist Zionist demands; her violation of the Alberta statutes by over-riding the independent authority of the University of Lethbridge.

Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt should also be turfed. Under his negligent incompetent watch, two of the three provincial research universities Calgary and Lethbridge have been condemned by the CAUT, which for over seventy years has set the gold standard for university performance in this country. He should be replaced by a Minister dedicated to restore accountable Board trusteeship throughout the university system as the first step toward regaining its former high reputation.

The CAUT should commission an investigation at Lethbridge similar to the one already completed at Calgary where it unearthed specific conflicts of interest, violations of due process, and a campus environment of fear.

If the deliberate misdeeds of the Premier, Advanced Education Minister, and U of L Board in the Hall affair are allowed to stand as precedents for a new norm in the conduct of governance in Alberta, welcome to Alabama north. On second thought, that’s unfair to Alabama.

Responsibilty for the content of this letter is mine alone; I represent no other person or group. This letter is based entirely upon information from the public domain. The references to Meron, Morris, Viminitz, O’Donnell, and the CAUT are readily available on line.

Owen Holmes
January 30, 2018

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