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Author warns coalition of MPs (CPCCA) intent on criminalizing free speech on Israel/Palestine

September 11, 2010

The author of a new book on antisemitism kicks off a western Canada tour Sept. 17 to sound an alarm that the federal government could curtail -- or even criminalize -- freedom of speech and academic freedom around Israel and Palestine.

Dr. Michael Keefer wrote Antisemitism Real and Imagined to inform Canadians of the growing trend to intimidate and silence those who challenge Israel’s actions, including attempts to ban Israeli Apartheid Weeks on college campuses and to deny funding to ecumenical groups like KAIROS that speak out about Israel’s illegal occupation.

Even more threatening is the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, an informal grouping of Conservative, Liberal and NDP MPs formed in 2009 to investigate what it claimed was an alarming increase in antisemitism. Its report, scheduled to be released in Ottawa in November, is expected to recommend that the federal government modify human rights or hate speech legislation to outlaw criticism of Israel.

According to the University of Guelph professor, the evidence shows that incidents of real anti-Semitism – discrimination or hatred against Jews – is actually declining. The real purpose of the CPCCA, he says, is to defend Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and silence critics by accusing them of being antisemitic.

Keefer is scheduled to speak in Vancouver at UBC on Sept. 17, SFU on Sept. 23 and in downtown Sept. 23; Victoria on Sept. 24; Nanaimo and Comox, Sept. 25; Edmonton, Sept. 27; Regina, Sept. 28; and Winnipeg Sept. 29. Speaking engagements in eastern Canada are also being organized.

Keefer’s book tour is sponsored by the Seriously Free Speech Committee, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and community organizations across western Canada.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Keefer at: or
Brian Campbell, chair, Seriously Free Speech Committee at: 604-254-1803 or

For more information contact:
Brian Campbell
Seriously Free Speech Committee
Phone: 604 254 1803

Dr. Michael Keefer
Professor of English and Theatre Studies
University of Guelph

Anne Roberts
Seriously Free Speech Committee
Phone: 604 872 8926
Cell: 778 988 7758

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Seriously Free Speech Committee


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