As an alumnus of the University of Toronto (UofT), I feel I should let the blogosphere know that the content of a Master’s thesis has made the mainstream press. Why? Because someone dared to write something considered negative and controversial about the Holocaust.
The thesis under attack was written by Jenny Peto who, apparently, concludes that two Holocaust education programs are at their core, “racist.” As such, there are complaints that the thesis should not have been accepted by UofT.
Now, let me be clear. I disagree with the way Peto defines her problem. However, we have freedom of speech in this country and while many of us may disagree with her premise, she has the right to express it, particularly in a thesis. I mean, disagreeing with the rationale behind the Holocaust education programs or even calling them racist is not, in my opinion, a hate crime.
I mean, where do we draw the line? The argument that the thesis is not scholarship, but ideology holds no water either. All scholarship reflects the researcher’s world view and beliefs, upon which all ideology is based. In fact, that was the subject of my own doctoral thesis. Even the complaints in the ShalomLife.com article are based on ideology because our world view can be both implicit or explicit in what we say or write.
Speaking of ideology, full disclosure: I am a conservative (of the Red Tory variety), pro-Israel, pro-free speech and pro-free scholarship. And, if I was still an academic, I might even write a rebuttal to Peto’s premise. But, that said. She has the right to her views which are no more ideological than those who disagree with her.
For more information, read the ShalomLife article and/or check out some of these Google sources.