Volume 93, Issue 101

Friday, April 7, 2000


A big (sarcastic) thank you for letter

Feeling of discrimination excruciating

Xenophobia hurts Jewish groups

Writer on mark, editorial misguided

American inputs his two cents

Misinformed opinions enlightened

Was letter written as complaint or question?

Israeli flag instills pride

A poem on profs

We need study day

Misinformed opinions enlightened

Re: "Racy Western" April 4

To the Editor:

In a flare of antagonistic misconception and blatant xenophobia, we believe Lillian Wong and Stephen Black managed not only to display ignorance, but also insult a community of students about which they obviously know very little.

As executive members of the Jewish Students' Union, we feel it is our responsibility to enlighten Western students about the misinformed opinions of these two students.

Judaism is a community-oriented religion, which strives to include all individuals in a welcoming manner, in observance and in celebration. It is unfortunate that Lillian and Stephen were under the impression that fluency in Hebrew is a requirement for participation in Jewish religious ceremonies.

Had they taken the time to visit the JSU office, they would have been properly informed that the spirit of Yom Kippur is that of personal atonement, something that can be fulfilled without so much as saying a word of Hebrew. Furthermore, no Jewish place of worship would turn away anyone interested in learning more about Judaism and our religious observances.

The notion that the Western Debating Society has any affiliation with Israel or Judaism is laughable. The fact of the matter is that the WDS and the JSU occupied neighbouring tables during clubs week.

Not surprisingly, the JSU felt it appropriate to display the Israeli flag on their table. Simply put, there is a chance the flag may have encroached upon the WDS' space. We think it takes an intentional misunderstanding to entertain the idea that the WDS was welcome to Jews only.

It did not take long for Lillian and Stephen to abandon their disgust with the stereotyping of fraternities as "glorified Jewish cliques." Although their initial sincerity is gratifying, they quickly adopt a new stance – one that involves attacking the "warped priorities" of a Jewish organization.

Is it unreasonable for Alpha Epsilon Pi, a recognized Jewish fraternity, to donate their proceeds to the Jewish National Fund? Certainly not. AEPi simply chose a charity with which they could identify.

It seems the spirit in which their letter was written was not one of cultural tolerance. The stereotypes they suggest are misleading generalizations and we believe the attitude they maintain borders on racial prejudice.

This is not to absolve The Gazette for poor judgment. When handling such delicate matters, The Gazette should exercise a certain degree of prudence and discretion. In other words, the letter should not have been published – if not for the fact that we believe the letter fosters bigotry, then simply because it was factually incorrect.

We do however, agree with Lillian Wong and Stephen Black, that it is time to "start acting as a nation of Canadians." This is, after all, a country which embraces diversity and tolerance and condemns anti-Semitism and racial discrimination.

Mark Driman
Academic Excellence Program I
VP-Community Relations, Jewish Students' Union
Joshua Landy
Honours Biology I
VP-Communications, Jewish Students' Union

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Copyright The Gazette 2000