Independent Inquiry finds inappropriate government interference in university conference on statehood for Israel and Palestine at York University

TORONTO, Nov. 3, 2011 /CNW/ - Today at York University, Dr. Jon Thompson called on academics to form coalitions to counter anti-democratic trends threatening free speech and academic freedom on Canadian campuses.

In the release of his book No Debate: the Israel Lobby and free speech at Canadian universities, Thompson reveals inappropriate interference from government and Israel lobby organizations in the planning of a law conference on statehood for Israel and Palestine.

"The conference was not an anti-Semitic event, contrary to accusations from external groups," says Thompson. "The findings in this investigation reveal an urgent need for an international conversation about academic freedom in the current political climate."

Thompson recommends that faculty at York must ensure broad safeguards for academic freedom, including reinforced working protections for faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School. He further calls for broad coalitions between faculty associations and civil society organizations and an international conference on political interference and academic freedom.

"This book reveals alarming evidence of the degree to which external parties are trying to stifle debate on our Canadian campuses," said James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. "It is imperative that the academic community reviews these recommendations and takes aggressive action to ensure that academic freedom is strengthened."

SOURCE Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

For further information:

Angela Regnier, Communications Officer, 613-726-5186 (O);  613-601-6304 (cell); (email)

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Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

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