York speech draws protesters
Toronto — About three hundred people gathered at York University Tuesday to protest a speech by a pro-Israeli American author.
Daniel Pipes was the highest profile figure to speak about the Middle East at a Canadian university since a violent demonstration at Montreal's Concordia University last year.
In September, a confrontation between protesters and police led to the cancellation of a speech at Concordia by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a speech to about 200 ticket holders Tuesday, Pipes said campus freedom of speech was being threatened by an alliance led by what he described as "Palestinian nationalists and extremist Islamists."
"These are barbarians who would close down civilized discourse," said Pipes.
But many of Tuesday's protesters said their primary concern was academic freedom, rather than Pipes's pro-Israeli stance.
They said that Campus Watch, a Web site run by Pipes, posts critiques about how professors teach and write about the Mideast.
"They post the name of academics on a Web site and encourage, really, the targeting of those academics for campaigns of hate mail," said Susan Dimock of the York University Faculty Association.
The protest broke up without incident about half an hour after Pipes arrived to make his speech.
Related Topics: York University
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