Back to school

Autumn just isn’t the same without freshly sharpened pencils, new library cards, and university pro-life clubs fighting just to be able to exercise their inherent free speech.

McGill U’s Choose Life plans to host Jojo Ruba’s “Echoes of the Holocaust” on October 6th. There’s been a motion to have the event cancelled. (Here I’m supposed to make an intelligent comment about how universities are supposed to be a refuge for freethinkers and bastion of idea-sharing. But I think we’ve used all those quips up already.)

Motion RE: Echoes of the Holocaust Event

Whereas “Echoes of the Holocaust” is an event by the SSMU club Choose Life scheduled for Tuesday October 6 at 6 pm in Leacock 232;

Whereas at the event, speaker Jose “Jojo” Ruba will discuss how “the dehumanization and denial of personhood has justified some of the greatest affronts to human dignity that the world has seen, including [abortion and] the Holocaust” and show both graphic Holocaust and abortion imagery;

Whereas this comparison between abortion and the Holocaust insults and slanders the millions of post-abortive women who made the incredibly difficult and personal decision to have an abortion, and belittles the racist and hateful motivations of the Nazi movement and genocide of six million people;

Whereas according to the SSMU Constitution and Equity Policy; the SSMU has a responsibility to “demonstrating leadership in matters of social justice” and to “promote an anti-oppressive environment that fosters a culture of respect”;

Whereas this event violates tenets of social justice, anti-oppression, and respect;

Be it resolved the SSMU officially and publically censure this event;

Be it further resolved that the SSMU demand that the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson intervene in order to cancel the event regardless of any inconvenience this will cause Jose “Jojo” Ruba or the Choose Life Club.

Moved by: Sarah Olle

Seconded by: Sarah Woolf

The past summer sure did fly by, didn’t it?

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Rebecca adds: “Whereas this comparison between abortion and the Holocaust [...] belittles the racist and hateful motivations of the Nazi movement and genocide of six million people …” (I think they mean “diminishes” and not “belittles”, for what it’s worth.)

I find this sentiment hard to disagree with, even though on the broader issues – free speech and abortion – I’m against the Students’ Union positions and actions. Splashy statements may raise awareness and even change minds, but my initial reaction to the “Abortion = Holocaust” trope is the same as to PETA’s “KFC = Holocaust” ads: at best, this reflects a profound ignorance of history, and at worst, deliberate mockery of the Holocaust and its victims. Since I support free speech, I support the right of students publicly to draw that analogy; since I am pro-life, I wish they wouldn’t, so they don’t turn off people who might be open to their message if it were presented in less inflammatory terms.

On a related topic, one of my goals is to persuade more Jews that abortion on demand is completely incompatible with the Torah. There are lots of reasons why secular, liberal Jews are pro-abortion, and many of them are the same reasons why secular, liberal non-Jews are pro-abortion – but throwing around the Holocaust to score political points no doubt plays a role too, however small.

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Brigitte adds (Friday morning): I gather the motion has passed. I’m not sure whether that means the event is cancelled.

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Tanya says: The event’s been censured by SSMU. Should Choose Life not cancel the event, it loses its Student Society funding. (Marx would be proud.)

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