When last we met Professor David Noble on Dec. 9, 2004, he had just begun a $10 million libel action against his employer York University and the Canadian Jewish Congress, which also might as well be called his employer. That’s what all the fuss is about. As I wrote then:
“After a film screening sponsored by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights in late November, Noble handed out copies of The Tail that Wags the Dog (Suggestions for Further Research), a memorandum he wrote exposing the pro-Israel connections of individual directors of the York University Foundation, the university’s fundraising arm. CJC attack poodle Bernie Farber wailed ‘anti-Semitism’ (big surprise!) and York accused Noble of disseminating ‘hate literature.'”
Farber’s fulmination is perverse since Noble is Jewish, and the smear campaign against Noble came about because he came to the aid of a Jewish political science student who was being persecuted by York President Lorna Marsden.
The student, Daniel Freeman-Maloy, committed the heinous act of speaking his mind. On March 16, he used a megaphone in the Vari Hall rotunda during a demonstration on the anniversary of the murder of peace activist Rachel Corrie. For his efforts, Freeman-Maloy was denied the right to re-register for three years and banned from campus under penalty of trespass. He has filed a $850,000 lawsuit against York for abuse of power, defamation and breach of academic freedom. (See sidebar below.)
Acting on Noble’s behalf, the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) has been demanding that the university administration hand over all documents pertaining to the production and dissemination of defamatory press releases in November 2004, but it met with utter non-compliance–”until recently.
On Dec. 14, 2005, arbitrator Russell Goodfellow scheduled a hearing with YUFA and York administration ordered all sides to disclose their documents, but York refused. Before rescheduling the hearing, he ordered all sides to disclose all documentation,
On Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006, the university administration finally released a copy of the fax informing it of Noble’s flyer. The date of the fax and the signatories prove that off-campus activists for The Lobby engineered the defamation of Noble and that York’s administration was complicit.
Neither Talia Klein nor Tilly Shames is a student, faculty member or employee of York University. They are, however, employees of The Lobby. Shames is director of Israel Affairs for Hillel of Greater Toronto, and Klein is director of [email protected], an agency of the United Jewish Appeal Federation, which is a subsidiary of United Israel Appeal Federation (UIAF).
Here is where the pernicious propinquity among York, the University Foundation and The Lobby is most obvious:
Paul Marcus, Director of York University Foundation, is the former director of communications for United Jewish Appeal.
Richard Fisher, York’s director of communications, would have been responsible for issuing the press releases.
National Jewish Campus Life, of which Lance Davis is a director, is part of UIAF.
Center for Jewish Life, of which Marty Lockshin is a director, is a Zionist educational organization funded by Julia Koschitzky, director of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) and board member of York University Foundation.
In the fax, Klein and Shames wrote: “As I am sure you can imagine, we find this very troubling because individuals are named under the rubric of Jews controlling the University.” The conflation of “Zionist” with “Jew” is a fundamental lie that allows The Lobby to attack anyone–”Jew or non-Jew–”as “anti-Semitic” for criticizing Israel or The Lobby’s activities.
As Noble told the university’s newspaper Excalibur: “Their letter describes my flyer as ‘under the rubric of Jews controlling York.’ There’s a distortion right there. Where in my letter is there a rubric saying, ‘Jews controlling York’ and why didn’t the York administration call me if they were so concerned about this?”*
Proof of York’s collaboration with The Lobby comes in the last sentence: “Please be in touch tomorrow morning so that we may conference on the best way to handle this situation.” Clearly, the impetus to attack Noble came from The Lobby, not York.
A joint attack on Noble came in the form of a York press release (Nov. 19). Again, the signatories are important.
Nancy White, director of media relations, is self-explanatory. Zac Kaye is disingenuously identified as merely representing [email protected] to give the illusion that he has some affiliation with the university. However, in a joint press release that same day issued by the Canadian Jewish Congress Ontario Region and United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto he is identified properly as the executive director of Hillel of Greater Toronto. Of course, as we saw above, [email protected] is merely a arm of The Lobby.
The signature of Rabia Siddiqui, media relations representative for Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights is also problematic. She was stampeded into endorsing the release without having read it. When she realized that a smear campaign against Noble was taking place, she withdrew her name, but by then the damage had been done. On Nov. 20 and Nov. 21, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star respectively ran a story based on the press release but never reported that Siddiqui rescinded her support.
“This is the smoking gun that [proves] this was all engineered by the Israel lobby,” said Noble. “York university officials responded immediately to them… This means that the third largest university in Canada is captive to these people. They [The Lobby] got York University to defame one of its own professors. It is quite remarkable.”
Since the release of the fax, White has left her position, and York is claiming “privilege” to avoid handing over any other documents. Noble said York is desperate to avoid arbitration because it doesn’t want to hand over the documents. “York has run out of excuses,” he said. “It’s an institution of corrupt people trying to hide what they’re doing.”
The next arbitration hearing is set for September.
* Cited in FranÃ§ois Villeneuve, “Professor Noble points finger at Israeli lobby,” Excalibur, March 29, 2006.
Student Wins Right to Sue
Daniel Freeman-Maloy has won a major victory in his $850,000 suit against York University.
On March 31, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a 2005 lower court ruling, which determined that university president Lorna Marsden could not be sued for malfeasance and breach of public office because her position was did not meet the criteria for a public office. As such she could not be charged for abusing her authority.
Freeman-Maloy argues that the president’s statutory power to regulate student behaviour proves that Marsden ia a public figure. The Court will decide the matter later this year and determine if Freeman-Maloy has an adequate case to sue. From Michael Sitayeb “Appeal Court ruling reverses earlier court decision,” Excalibur, April 5, 2006.