After his motion denouncing Israeli Apartheid Week was unanimously passed by the Ontario Legislature, Thornhill Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman expected that haters and anti-Semites might crawl out of the woodwork.
What he did not expect was to be on the receiving end of the biggest barrage of hate he has so far received in his more than two years in office. Responses after the February 25 voice vote that condemned Israeli Apartheid Week, a controversial two-week long campus event that is highly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, have been mostly negative.
And while some of the correspondence has been of a supportive nature, a large number of the emails been hateful and anti-Semitic. Besides receiving multiple form letters from interest groups supporting Israeli Apartheid Week, Sherman has been addressed as the “Minister of Kikes”, “The Nazi” and called other terms using “four-letter language” that he said he would rather not repeat.
With the Legislature’s unanimous denouncement of Israeli Apartheid Week featured in US, Europe, and Middle Eastern media and on many blogs, hate mail has come from all over the world, something that Shurman called “unexpected” – discussion of his resolution lasted only “twelve little minutes.”
“It’s remarkable,” Shurman told Shalom Life. He said that obscure blogs he has never heard of before are “calling me every name under the sun.”
Shurman, a former CFRB talk radio host, said that the intent behind his motion was to challenge the perception that Israeli Apartheid Week, on its sixth year, is an intelligent discussion. He said that the event centres on a false premise – that Israel is an Apartheid state – in an attempt to stifle free discussion of the Middle East.
“The premise of the resolution was that your freedom of speech can never trump mine. That’s the essence of our country.” he said. “When you say Israeli Apartheid Week, you curtail my ability to speak to that because you’ve already decided. That’s what (my resolution) was talking about. I could not debate the peace process in 12 minutes. I think I successfully debated an issue that effects publicly funded campuses in Ontario.”
He said that security at Queen’s Park has vetted the emails to make sure that he is not in danger...