Guest post by intern Dan Osborne.
When Rector Nick Day, “elected to represent the approximately 20,000 students of Queen’s University”, signed an inflammatory open letter to Michael Ignatieff, he unintentionally showed the need for voluntary student unionism and the abolition of closed shop in Canada. When students are forced into joining their student union, student government, etc, they are forced into association with the group and its other members, no matter what the group does or how offensive it is to the student. In the case of Rector Day, the students of Queen’s University have been forced into association with the man and his comments regardless of whether they like it or not.
Day’s letter is basically a stock-in-trade angry young man’s diatribe about Israel. It argues that despite any opinion Ignatieff (who has 11 honorary doctorates, has written seventeen books including several on international relations, and held a position at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) might have on the subject, Israel really is as simple as being an apartheid state and Ignatieff is not just wrong but actually “unethical” for criticizing Israeli Aparteid Week. After all, Day points out, a range of (unnamed)
“Scholars, activists, international advocates, civil society leaders and UN officials have observed that the occupation, checkpoints, walls, relocations, and home demolitions committed by Israel in Palestine have created a system of racial separateness and dominance. Thus, they have applied the term “apartheid” because of its obvious and internationally recognized applicability.”
Then Day really outdoes himself: