OISE MA thesis denounced in Ontario legislature

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Lord Palmerston
OISE MA thesis denounced in Ontario legislature

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Lord Palmerston

Quote:
Jenny Peto's 100-page thesis argues that today's Jews of European descent "enjoy white privilege" and maintain a victim identity by participating in "hegemonic" Holocaust remembrance programs such as the March of the Living, during which young Jewish people visit Poland and Israel. The University of Toronto accepted the defended thesis and awarded a master's degree to the 29-year-old, who is an activist associated with the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid group. She's also Jewish and a descendant of Holocaust survivors.

The thesis, entitled The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education, describes Israel as an apartheid state.

It has provoked intense debate online, in academia and even the political realm. Progressive Conservative MPP Steve Clark raised it in the legislature Tuesday in response to sharp criticism in the Jewish community, calling it "shockingly anti-Semitic." Citizenship and immigration minister Eric Hoskins likewise condemned the thesis in the legislature saying he was "greatly disturbed and, in fact, disgusted," when he read media coverage about it.

In a statement to the Post on Wednesday, Mr. Hoskins stood by his condemnation: "I rose in the House to condemn all anti-Semitism, a particularly vile and pernicious form of discrimination," he said. "The lessons to be learned from the Holocaust are pivotal, not just for the Jewish community, but for all Ontarians."

Ms. Peto responded to the criticism by saying her academic freedom was under attack. "I never could have imagined an MA thesis getting this much attention," she said. "But given my reputation as a vocal critic of Israel ... I am never surprised to be attacked by pro-Israel groups or pro-Israel politicians, for that matter."

"Students and researchers should be able to research and publish on controversial matters without the fear of attacks from the government."

It is certainly unusual for a student's work to be challenged by elected representatives, said Michiel Horn, a York University history professor and author of Academic Freedom in Canada: A History.

"I know not of a single case where a master's or a phD paper has been subject of discussion in the legislature of any province in Canada," he said.

 http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Thesis+Jewish+privilege+rebuked+sparking/3949150/story.html#ixzz182PhEbH

Unionist

Frightening.

Imagine if we had a political party, or just an elected individual, who would stand up and condemn this McCarthyism and defend academic freedom?

Sorry, I had a John Lennon moment there.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

This analysis looks interesting. Seems to me that the rich and powerful have been using this "Victimhood of the Powerful" as a template and as a ideological weapon in the ongoing class war against the not rich and not powerful in more ways than simply with this hegemonic and Zionist approach to the Holocaust.

I think this term of the victimhood of the powerful is going to be heard a lot more.

milo204

fuuny.  it's actually AN EXAMPLE of "white privilege" and "victimhood of the powerful" when they choose to debate this paper in the house, when no other paper has ever warranted discussion.

Le T Le T's picture

 

Quote:
Citizenship and immigration minister Eric Hoskins likewise condemned the thesis in the legislature saying he was "greatly disturbed and, in fact, disgusted," when he read media coverage about it.

Quote:
"I am sure that the legislature is a place to discuss anything that affects the general wellbeing of the people of Ontario," said the Thornhill MPP who was part of Tuesday's condemnation. "I'm not sure Ontario is an appropriate place for preaching hate."

He hasn't read the paper, but nonetheless owes it to his largely Jewish constituents to defend Israel on their behalf, he said.

So these buffoons don't even take the time to read the paper before they condemn it as "disgusting" and "preaching hate". Pretty stong words to be using to attack something that you haven't even read.

I read a quote from a prof at York in a GandM article on this circus act in which he acused Jenny Peto of sloppy scholarship, etc. oddly he didn't do it in the form of an academic review but in sound bytes for media. I would guess that he didn't read it either.

Why are all of these people using such strong langauge to attack a Masters thesis that they haven't even read? It's telling that, as stated in the OP article, this is the ONLY time that a legislature in Canada has debated a thesis. And someone should tell MPP Steve Clark to take that fucking "Jewish Community" puppet off his hand.

 

Rock on Peto

Lord Palmerston

I think you're referring to Irving Abella, who is both a distinguished Canadian historian as well as a prominent figure in the Zionist lobby.

Doug

This is getting stupid. Is someone's high school project on Israel or the occupied territories going to be denounced by the legislature next?

Universities would be rather sad places if you had to write a thesis that everyone agreed with.

robbie_dee

Is this really any different than the motion by Toronto Councillors Mike Layton and Kristyn Wong-Tam to [url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/mike-layton-asks-to... Maclean's magazine for calling Canadian universities "Too Asian?"[/url]

How so?

milo204

well one is a magazine article published by a government subsidized company, the other a lone students thesis, which is not published and read by thousands of canadians.

but yes, governments commenting on articles, thesis, etc are pointless and stupid.  Comment publicly all you like to anyone who will listen, but all this bringing motions, except in perhaps the most extreme circumstances, is pointless.

Dodger718

 

Le T wrote:

So these buffoons don't even take the time to read the paper before they condemn it as "disgusting" and "preaching hate". Pretty stong words to be using to attack something that you haven't even read.

I read a quote from a prof at York in a GandM article on this circus act in which he acused Jenny Peto of sloppy scholarship, etc. oddly he didn't do it in the form of an academic review but in sound bytes for media. I would guess that he didn't read it either.

I actually did read it. And I went to art school, not graduate level sociology, and I even I have to concur that it's pretty shoddy schlarship.

First, (and, again, I'm an artist, not an academic) is it typical to use so many first-person pronounds in an academic paper and to present entirely anecdotal personal experiences in a masters thesis?

Second, she is willing to make some pretty bold claims about what goes on in these educational trips as well as the motives behind them and what attitudes they tend to foster in the participants. Yet she conducted not a single interview with anyone who had been on the trips nor with the organizations behind them. Seems very odd to write a masters thesis containing some pretty bold claims without actually conducting anyprimary research among the people being subjected to her armchair psychoanalysis.

Third, there are some major factual errors. Some are inconsequential to her overall thesis. For example, giving the wrong figure for the number of peple murdered by Baruch Goldstein. That error has no impact on her argument but would seem to raise questions about why someone in a graduate degree program can't get easily available facts right. Some factual errors are pretty damaging, however, like the idea that the "March of Remembrance and Hope" is a "Jewish" program when it is actually run by a non-profit, non-denominational Canadian organization that contains people of all backgrounds and is certainly not "Jewish" in its composition, ideology or agenda. You'd think that when you're basing your thesis on how "White Jews" are using Holocaust education programs to advance a certain ideological agenda, you'd check to make sure that it's actually "White Jews" who are running the program.

 

Doug

All great criticisms - her thesis coach or committee should probably send her back out for a bit more research and editing but that's their decision. I'm not sure how this needs to involve the provincial legislature.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Dodger718 wrote:

I actually did read it. And I went to art school, not graduate level sociology, and I even I have to concur that it's pretty shoddy schlarship.

Quote:

Jenny Peto's 100-page thesis argues that today's Jews of European descent "enjoy white privilege" and maintain a victim identity by participating in "hegemonic" Holocaust remembrance programs such as the March of the Living, during which young Jewish people visit Poland and Israel. The University of Toronto accepted the defended thesis and awarded a master's degree to the 29-year-old, who is an activist associated with the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid group. She's also Jewish and a descendant of Holocaust survivors.

So you, who are not an academic come on here to say that her thesis (that was accepted by academics) is not up to par. Your pathetic biases are showing.  

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So you live in Canada do you think you enjoy white privilege?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

First, it is quote common to write an academic paper in the first person--I do it myself. It's also quite common, even conventional, to open a long paper such as a Master's thesis or monograph, with a personal anecdote to contextualize the writer's position in relation to the material. All of the above takes place in the introduction, before serious inquiry starts. So far, so good.

Second, why would a student in the Education faculty do sociological fieldwork? Instead, Peto situates herself well in the scholarship of anti-Zionism, whiteness and anti-oppression studies. It seems a perfectly reasonable and acceptable approach.

Finally, Masters theses are usually done by early-to-mid-twenty-year-olds, and, depending on the program, the thesis is a small part of a small degree. We are not talking about world-shaking material here. It's basically a practice run at entering the world of academic scholarship. How such a small part of a small part of a small part of an institution becomes of interest to provincial and national legistlatures is highly suspect. In my opinion, it's part of a larger offensive on the part of Zionist interests to bully and otherwise exert undue influence on Canadian university campuses.

Unionist

The prime support for these fascist thug "politicians" attacking this Master's thesis is, of course, the unanimous vote in February 2010 in the Ontario Legislature condemning Israeli Apartheid Week. Our discussion took place at length, starting with [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/ontario-mpps-including-ndp-co... thread[/url]. You will recall Cheri DiNovo's meltdown when she was exposed as being an enemy of free speech and freedom of association.

Any parties or elected individuals who do not condemn this brutal attack against academic freedom are, of course, complicit in it. I'm not holding my breath. It's very important for us to call them by their true name.

Dodger718

Doug wrote:

All great criticisms - her thesis coach or committee should probably send her back out for a bit more research and editing but that's their decision. I'm not sure how this needs to involve the provincial legislature.

Oh, I completely agree. It pretty much debases the legislature that they'd actually take time to comment on such an insignificant issue.

Dodger718

kropotkin1951 wrote:

So you live in Canada do you think you enjoy white privilege?

I'm half white. Is there such a thing as "fractional white privilege"?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

How the heck did MPP's in the Ontario Legislature get ahold of the thesis in the first place???? 

Dodger718

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 

So you, who are not an academic come on here to say that her thesis (that was accepted by academics) is not up to par. Your pathetic biases are showing.  

I'm saying that if even I - a guy who went to art school - can detect blatant FACTUAL ERRORS (discernable with two minutes and Google) in a masters level thesis from a top university, you have to question the "scholarship" behind it. I'd argue that the "pathetic biases" of her graduate supervisor are showing more blatantly than my own. As well as the author's biases which, to her credit, she makes no attempt to conceal. But when a scholar proudly declares her affiliation with the Coalition Againsgt Israeli Apartheid as well as going out of her way to attack her Jewish schools, the larger Jewish community and even her own family, nobody, least of all her, can adopt any pretense of "objective scholarship". So I think when you wear your biases on your sleeve and proceed to make factual errors that support your ideology and prejudice and  when you adopt research methodlogies (such as the failure to actually interview particpants of the programs she attacks, in a masters level sociology research thesis), I have difficulty granting it much credibility.

Now, ironically, I actually share many of her conclusions, if not the assumptions and prejudices from which hers are derived. As an observant Jew and active member of what might be termed the "Jewish community", one of my biggest pet peeves are the focus of the "official" community "leadership" on both the Holocaust and the state of Israel (which I say as the grandson of two Holocaust survivors and the son-in-law of an Israeli rabbi - who, incidentally, shares my beliefs).

That said, shoddy scholarship is shoddy scholarship. I'm sure plenty of pseudo-intellectual academics have been awarded prestigious degrees for generally shitty schlarship and it's rather pathetic that elected officials feel the need to attack this particular piece of shit versus what I'm sure are many others. But part of presenting yourself as a "scholar" and seeking public acclaim should also mean opening yourself up to people calling bullshit on you when you write a masters thesis containing easily avoidable errors.

trippie

 @ Dodgeer718 Post #17

 

Fractional White Privilege, yes there is.

 

You have the privilege of; working the rest of your life, in a lower then expected, paying job ... o_O ...

Stockholm

robbie_dee wrote:

Is this really any different than the motion by Toronto Councillors Mike Layton and Kristyn Wong-Tam to [url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/mike-layton-asks-to... Maclean's magazine for calling Canadian universities "Too Asian?"[/url]

How so?

Apparently it IS different - columnists like Marcus Gee in the Globe and Chris Selley in the National Post devoted entire columns to ridiculing Mike Layton for putting forth a motion on Toronto City council denouncing the Macleans article. They think its petty and unimportant and that city council has better things to do with its time than vote on such things...but for some reason I cannot find any columns by Gee or Selley attacking Ontario MPPs for something that truly is petty and a total waste of time - voting on a resolution to denounce a 21 year olds MA "thesis" (btw: "thesis" is likely an exagerration - I wrote one of those and what they call a thesis is basically just a long term paper - 20,000 words rather than 10,000)

Lord Palmerston

What was your thesis about, Stockholm?

Caissa

I don't know, Stockholm. I wrote an M.A thesis at 23 that was over 130 pages long. Granted different academic discourse communities have different conventions. Historians tend to write in the third person rather than the first person

genstrike

Boom Boom wrote:

How the heck did MPP's in the Ontario Legislature get ahold of the thesis in the first place???? 

It is publicly available online.

Of course, they didn't actually read it (as Shurman himself admitted), so that question is rather moot.

Maysie Maysie's picture

My master's major research paper (not technically a thesis) was short. By the time I went to grad school in the mid 1990s the days of 100+ pages of theses, both graduate and post-graduate, were over. Full disclosure, I went to OISE.

My theory about this kerfuffle is the Ontario government solved all housing, poverty, transportation, education and health care issues of the province and had some free time before the winter break.

Maysie Maysie's picture

But seriously folks, OISE has been on the radar of the pro-Zionists for over a decade. Sherene Razack, amazing professor and outspoken critic of Israel, teaches there and was involved with a few academic conferences over the years that caused great consternation. Cynically I think it was just a matter of time before the fuckwads tried to pull something like this. And the political climate is ripe for this bullshit these days.

Racism and National Consciousness

Critical Race and Anti-Colonial Studies Conference

Dodger718

Caissa wrote:

I don't know, Stockholm. I wrote an M.A thesis at 23 that was over 130 pages long. Granted different academic discourse communities have different conventions. Historians tend to write in the third person rather than the first person

This one was over 100 pages as well.

It was written mainly in the first person, using numerous personal experiences and anecdotes (and reporting subjective interpretations of these experiences). The experiences and interpretations that she relays seems to set up her bias from the start. Again, I've never studied sociology but this seems but this seems very at odds with what i expected from graduate research paper.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Dodger718 wrote:
 I've never studied sociology

I have.

The myth and belief in third-person passive-voice objectivity is sooo 20th century.

Caissa

Actually 19th c. when it comes to history originating essentially with Von Ranke.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_von_Ranke

Unionist

The pro-Israeli Zionist interference by Harper cabinet wannabe fascists in academic matters is nothing new - the following was June 2009:

[url=http://www.straight.com/article-235050/james-turk-why-we-are-calling-sci... Turk: Why we are calling on Science Minister Gary Goodyear to resign[/url]

Quote:
Canada’s minister of state for science and technology, Gary Goodyear, took an unprecedented step when he called on the president of one of Canada’s academic granting councils, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), to reconsider its funding for a controversial conference being held at York University next week. Some have expressed surprise at our subsequent call for his resignation. After all, Minister Goodyear says he was just acting to address some taxpayers’ concerns.[...]

James Turk is the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, which represents more than 65,000 academic staff at 121 colleges and universities across Canada.

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/national-news/caut-calls-resignation-science... was the babble thread[/url] I opened at the time.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Dodger718 wrote:

Third, there are some major factual errors. Some are inconsequential to her overall thesis. For example, giving the wrong figure for the number of peple murdered by Baruch Goldstein. That error has no impact on her argument but would seem to raise questions about why someone in a graduate degree program can't get easily available facts right. Some factual errors are pretty damaging, however, like the idea that the "March of Remembrance and Hope" is a "Jewish" program when it is actually run by a non-profit, non-denominational Canadian organization that contains people of all backgrounds and is certainly not "Jewish" in its composition, ideology or agenda. You'd think that when you're basing your thesis on how "White Jews" are using Holocaust education programs to advance a certain ideological agenda, you'd check to make sure that it's actually "White Jews" who are running the program.

The major factual error here would seem to be your own. From the March of Remembrance and Hope site:

Quote:
The March of Remembrance and Hope* is a program of the March of the Living,Tel Aviv, Israel, an international leader in educating today's youth about the Holocaust.

Unionist

LTJ, I don't agree with any of what Dodger says. But when he says "it's not a Jewish program", please get your own facts straight before you try to correct him. I agree with him on that one tiny point. There's nothing the least bit Jewish about it. Where did you see something to the contrary?

 

Dodger718

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

The major factual error here would seem to be your own. From the March of Remembrance and Hope site:

Quote:
The March of Remembrance and Hope* is a program of the March of the Living,Tel Aviv, Israel, an international leader in educating today's youth about the Holocaust.

In Canada, the program is administered by the Canadian Center for Diversity.

THis is from their Executive Director:

According to Carla Wittes, director of the Canadian Centre for Diversity, Peto “makes unwarranted claims and false statements about our philosophy, our goals and objectives and our methodology. . .We were shocked and offended to read the thesis. We are a nonfaith- based organization concerned with educating people about the dangers of discrimination, and the Holocaust is obviously a prime example.”

Dodger718

Also, LTJ, pointing out that its head office may be in Tel Aviv does not make it a "Jewish" organization. This is pretty rudimentary. Israel is a country. Judaism is a religion. Not all Israelis are Jews. Not all Jews are Israeli.

Nor would it even being run by a Jewish person make it a "Jewish" organization with a "Jewish" mission. I believe that the president of UofT is Jewish. That doesn't make UofT a "Jewish" university because, unlike Yeshiva University in New York, it doesn't take as its mission the propogation of Jewish belief and traditions.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

I stand corrected.

It is an Israeli organization, run by Israelis, who just happen to be white and Jewish, out of Tel Aviv Israel.

Dodger718

How do you know that they're white? Roughly half of the Jewish population in Israel is not.

And,given that she says herself in her thesis intro that she is writing specifically from a North American perspective, perhaps she should have disclosed that the Canadian program is run by the Center for Diversity, which is not even remotely a "Jewish" organization. I may give her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn't deliberately attempting to obfuscate facts which would leave the explanation that she simply was sloppy in conducting pretty basic research. Not exactly what you'd expect from some being awarded a masters degree from a top university.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I thought you said you read the thesis, Dodger. Or did you mean "read" the thesis:

Jenny Peto wrote:
The inclusion of these statements within the [March for Remembrance and Hope] raises questions, especially because this trip is supported by mainstream, non-Jewish Canadian institutions.

ETA: And I'd like to restress what I said above and what UofT provost Cheryl Misak says in the NP article:

Quote:
"They're called defences for good reason," she said. "The thing that concerns me is that this is a piece of student work and it's part of a wider educational project. It's important to remember that."

Unless you work in the field, I don't see how you have the nerve to think you can call a Masters thesis "shoddy." Unless you think all it takes to do postgraduate humanities work is to start clapping on a keyboard (without, apparently, having actually read the work).

Caissa

I'm statrted to get confused as to what this thread is about.

Dodger718

She protrays it as a Jewish organization "supported by" (whatever that means) "mainstream" (again, whatever that means) institutions.

From a critique in Macleans:

(start quote)

The list of unsubstantiated claims in Peto’s paper goes on. She arrives at the conclusion that the other program she reviews, the March of Remembrance and Hope, is a Zionist project even though it “does not mention Israel in their [sic] literature” [p.64]. She concludes that the program targets non-whites because pictures of non-white participants outnumber those of white participants on its website. And she even stretches her imagination so far as to assert, “The organizers of the MRH are highlighting Muslim participation in order to celebrate the production of a particular ‘good’ Muslim subject [who] engages in Holocaust education” [p.66]. That conclusion, in case you were wondering, was derived by clicking through a website.

(end quote)

She also makes widely unsubstantiated claims about what actually GOES ON in these programs, including this gem: "taught that their whiteness can only be maintained through racism, both in supporting Israel and [. . .] benefiting from racism and imperialism in their home”

Again, she didn not interview a SINGLE participant or organizer yet she confidently asserts what is being taught (in a mastes thesis)?

Caissa

Is a link to this thesis available?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Dodger718 wrote:

Also, LTJ, pointing out that its head office may be in Tel Aviv does not make it a "Jewish" organization. This is pretty rudimentary. Israel is a country. Judaism is a religion. Not all Israelis are Jews. Not all Jews are Israeli.

Actually there is no such thing as an Israeli citizen.  There are Jewish citizens of Israel and everyone else is a different category of Israeli citizen.  But I am sure you know that.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Caissa: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/24619

Macleans is a rag, and not an acceptable external referee for an Education MA thesis. Dodger, I'm not sure how else to say that you don't know what you're talking about, but you don't know what you're talking about. Like I asked above, why would a humanities MA student do field research? If that was her thing, she would be a social sciences MA (and even then, they don't always do field research). Peto wrote a persuasive research paper, which means it is meant to make an argument. That's the whole point. The out-of-context snippets you quote are conclusions, based on already argued and contextualized evidence. It was defended before a review panel of tenured academics. I'm sure you think that you, some dude, thinks that you know better than these career scholars, but that's just the hubris talking.

Dodger718

Not at all. I made pretty clear from the beginning that I'm an art school guy who went through a Masters degree pretty much never even writing a paper.

First, I'm pretty sure that sociology IS a social science. In fact, UofT lists sociology as one of the programs of study on its social sciences page. (this is for the Scarborough campus, the first that came up on Google. I doubt it's different in the downtown campus)

Second, the big thing I'm saying is that when she writes authoritatively about what people are taught in a program and bases that on nothing at all, it raises questions about just where she's getting these conclusions. If I stated authorattively that "Catchfire teaches his children to be bigots", shouldn't I at least speak to your children before making such a claim?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Sociology is indeed a social science. MA Students of sociology would be in the Faculty of Arts (Well, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, but that's not important). Jennifer Peto, on the other hand, is part of the Graduate Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. So your weak demands that she interview people (?) are as ridiculous as they are ignorant. Peto establishes her conclusions based on current scholarship and her research of the organzations. It was reviewed by tenured authorities. Not good enough for you, I guess. Your analogy is also incongruent. This paper is not about Israelis, but about the Israeli construction and utilization of whiteness and victimhood. It's cultural criticism, not field work. Please try to understand the difference.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Dodger718 wrote:

And,given that she says herself in her thesis intro that she is writing specifically from a North American perspective, perhaps she should have disclosed that the Canadian program is run by the Center for Diversity, which is not even remotely a "Jewish" organization.

The former "Canadian Council of Christians and Jews" is not strictly Jewish, but it leans rather clearly towards Zionism and religious fundamentalism. You can find nonsense like this on their website:

Quote:
From our experience in school and community-based outreach and co-curricular programming, we recognize that the nature of antisemitism in Canada today has changed, and that the new antisemitism (often disguised as anti-Israel sentiment, but ultimately representing in a general negative opinion of Jews) has grown in recent years in a disturbing way. Antisemitism has become, in many circles, acceptable and even expected.

Ripple

Dodger, for someone who thinks this is an "insignificant issue" you're sure spending some time on it.

 

Here is correspondence between a sociology prof at ubc and the president of U of T that is making the rounds ...

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bG3D2hGHksxXN4Pz3a8zOK83Mu9YKL-8DWab3yJ6gww/edit?pli=1#

Quote:

November 10, 2010

Professor David Naylor, President

University of Toronto

Someone has sent me a 2010 MA thesis from OISE by Jennifer Peto, entitled
"The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of
Hegemonic Holocaust Education." I attach a copy the thesis herewith.

I find this thesis to be one of hatred: the Jews of the world, most
particularly those of Canada and the United States, are racist and seek to
oppress people of color everywhere. But of course the haters will always be
with us, and if this were not presented (falsely) as a piece of scholarship,
I would find little fault with it. I do find great fault, however, with the
institution that bestows an academic imprimatur on what amounts to a very
subjective, emotional screed.

The thesis's aversion to empirical data is absolute. As it happens, there
are a great many studies on the political alignments of North American Jews,
all of which show the very opposite of what the thesis maintains (i.e. an
overall right-wing orientation of Jews). ( I myself have contributed to this
literature in the past. ) None of this empirical literature is cited by Ms.
Neto. There are also studies showing the overall Jewish condemnation of
Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish zealot who killed some 49 Arabs in 1995, yet Ms.
Neto suggests that Goldstein became a hero among Jews. There are also
empirical studies of the March of the Living, to which Ms. Neto devotes a
chapter, but, again, she never considers or cites this literature.

In short, Ms. Neto makes wild and hateful charges against her fellow Jews
without a shred of evidence; without, in fact, as much as worrying about
what the evidence might be. This thesis is an example of a kind of literary
endeavor that, no doubt, has its fans and devotees, and for which,
obviously, there is a place. But what is this place ? Is it on the shelf of
accepted U. of T. theses ? I am afraid that, being on that shelf, it will
bring shame and dishonor to a great university.

Sincerely

Werner Cohn

Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of British Columbia

===============================

November 23, 2010

Dear Dr. Cohn:

Thank you for your recent email message expressing your concerns regarding
a student thesis at OISE. Though, I have not read the thesis in question, I
have referred your complaint to the attention of the Dean of OISE, Dr. Julia
O'Sullivan, for her to respond if and as she sees fit.

In general, I am certain a careful review of theses written across the
academy would uncover many elements that offend various individuals and
groups. This is an inevitable consequence of academic freedom and free
speech, and I don't think you or any other professor would suggest or
condone censorship.

Accordingly, when a work is published and others disagree with it, they
should publicly dispute the perspectives, or arguments, or findings therein.
Such lively debate is an important part of the academic process and
necessary for scholarship to remain self-correcting.

In short, I would respectfully suggest that you address your concerns to
the student herself or her supervisor, Dr. Sheryl Nestel. They can response,
if they choose, and engage in the kind of academic discourse so fundamental
to a University's mission. However, aside from making sure the Dean has seen
the commentary, I have no intention of intervening.

Yours sincerely,

David Naylor

============================

November 23, 2010

Dear President Naylor,

Thank you for your kind response to my concerns regarding the Peto thesis
at OISE.

I fully share your commitments to both academic freedom and freedom of
speech. On the other hand, we both know that these freedoms alone cannot
define the standards of academic work at a university. There also needs to
be a commitment to scholarship and to scholarly integrity.

Those who have criticized the Peto thesis have found it to be devoid of
scholarship and also to be untruthful in its reporting of social-science
data. For this reason, I urge you now to get input from independent social
scientists -- i.e. scholars not institutionally connected with the
processing of this thesis -- and to report to you about the grave issue that
some of us have raised, viz. whether this thesis conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarship.

Respectfully yours

Werner Cohn

==================================================

November 23, 2010

Dear Dean O'Sullivan,

President Naylor writes that he has referred my complaint regarding the
Peto thesis to you. I have outlined my complaints on my blog

Briefly, I find that

1) the thesis is devoid of scholarship,

2) that it completely distorts what is known about the sociology of Jews in
North America,

3) that it constitutes, in fact, a piece of hate literature, and

4) that it is a discredit to any institution of higher learning that
accepts it as a thesis.

I would be happy to furnish further details, should you require them, and
look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Werner Cohn

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

University of British Columbia

==============================================

December 3, 2010

Dear Dr. Cohn,

President Naylor has referred your correspondence to me and I am now in
receipt of the letter you sent to me dated November 23, 2010.

The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), as a faculty of the
University of Toronto, is steadfastly committed to the University of
Toronto's Statement on Freedom of Speech, which states: all members of the
University must have as a prerequisite freedom of speech and expression,
which means the right to examine, question, investigate, speculate, and
comment on any issue without reference to prescribed doctrine, as well as
the right to criticize the University and society at large.

Due to our privacy obligations to students, I cannot discuss an individual
student's academic work or his or her performance.

Yours sincerely,

Julia O'Sullivan, PhD

Professor and Dean

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

University of Toronto

=============================

December 3, 2010

Dear Dean O'Sullivan,

In addition to enjoying freedom of speech (which I endorse as much as you),
are your graduate students in any way constrained by canons of scholarship ?
Or does anything go ?

Werner Cohn

Unionist

LTJ, I'm going to ask you to please stopping referring to organizations as "Jewish" unless you have some reason to indicate that they are.

If you want to call them pro-Israeli, pro-Zionist, Zionist, etc. - that's fine. If you want to make the further point that they deceptively try to conceal their fanatical pro-Israeli pro-Zionist orientation, that's fine too (if true - and I think it is).

But to call them "Jewish" is like calling Chapters-Indigo a "Jewish" bookstore. It's little more than a smear on Jews. And from a peek at the [url=http://www.centrefordiversity.ca/directors]Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for so-called Diversity[/url], it looks about as Jewish as a typical oil company.

Most importantly, it's a diversion. It permits one more piece of ammunition for Harper and his champions to create a smokescreen. I don't even know if Peto calls these "Jewish" organizations. At any event, please don't do it.

 

Dodger718

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

The former "Canadian Council of Christians and Jews" is not strictly Jewish, but it leans rather clearly towards Zionism and religious fundamentalism. You can find nonsense like this on their website:

I'm not familiar with that particular organization. There are Jewish organizations which are right wing, there are Jewish organizations which are left wing. There are Jewish organizations which are religious. There are Jewish organizations which are secular.

There are organizations which are not Jewish at all and it seems that the Center for Diversity falls within that category.

There are furthermore organizations,institutions, etc. that are comprised of Jews that are not "Jewish". I'm Jewish. If I were to start a business - say, I decided to open a camera store - the fact that I'm Jewish does not make my business a "Jewish camera store". My personal background and beliefs are entirely irrelevant the practices and motives of the business.

Your line about "religious fundamentalism" seems a red herring and non-sequitar. Neither the March of the Living nor the Center for Diversity, so far as I can tell, are engaged in "religious fundamentalism". Indeed those Jews who may best be described as "fundamentalists" are the same ones who place the LEAST emphasis on Holocaust history or zionism. They're too busy studying Torah.

Dodger718

Ripple wrote:

Dodger, for someone who thinks this is an "insignificant issue" you're sure spending some time on it.

Well, I'm just some guy with too much free time at work, as opposed to a group of elected officials who you'd assume would have more important issues to deal with...Laughing

Dodger718

Unionist wrote:

But to call them "Jewish" is like calling Chapters-Indigo a "Jewish" bookstore. It's little more than a smear on Jews. And from a peek at the [url=http://www.centrefordiversity.ca/directors]Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for so-called Diversity[/url], it looks about as Jewish as a typical oil company.

One might have thought that the fact that the CEO's name is Zahir Janmohamed may have been an initial tip-off that it isn't a "Jewish" organization.

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