By Joshua Blakeney and James Fetzer
As sociologist James Petras has observed, our era has seen the dawn and, in large measure, the gradual fruition of the “globalization of Zionist power”, a process which Benjamin Netanyahu initiated with the publication of Terrorism: How the West Can Win (1986).
Since 9/11, a false-flag event which Israel was heavily involved in, we have not only witnessed the use of military force to shatter Arab states into smaller statelets at enormous cost to many a nation’s treasury but we have also seen our academic institutions forced to comply with the mythology that underlies the “war on terror”, which has resulted in the degradation of our public educational capacity.
Denis Rancourt, Ph.D., is a victim of this post-9/11 politicization of academia. In March of 2009, the professor of physics saw his accomplished career of 23 years abruptly brought to an end, at least temporarily, when he was dubiously fired by the University of Ottawa administration based on a litany of false-pretexts.
Rancourt has always been fiercely independent intellectually and has been unwilling to aid and abet the war machine. Indeed, Denis challenges power whenever it should be challenged, which means that he could be described as a true revolutionary. A prominent champion of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli colonization, he was fired ostensibly because he had decided to challenge the hierarchical grading method typically employed by academics.
“My job is not to rank students for corporations”, Rancourt has stated in an interview on TV-ONTARIO . His pedagogical methodology in advanced physics courses, which was to use a student-centered individualized approach, is one widely used throughout campuses in North America.
Indeed, as a nice illustration of the double standard displayed by those who used Rancourt’s grading method as a pretext for firing him, another professor at his very institution has been celebrated for using the very same teaching method. The difference between them, however, appears to be that Professor X is a supporter of Israeli colonization, whereas Rancourt is a defender of international law and of the rights of the Palestinian people.
The contrived “false-pretexts” that have been used to oust him have been numerous and varied and provide sufficient material for several articles and even multiple books.
Among the main protagonists of the persecution of Professor Rancourt, moreover, has been the former member of the Canadian parliament Allan Rock, who was appointed as the President of the University of Ottawa in June 2008. Rock had just emerged from the inner sanctum of the Canadian political class after having served as Canada’s Minister of Justice and then as Ambassador to the United Nations.
Rancourt has listed a number of illustrations of Rock’s allegiance to the pariah state of Israel rather than to the principles of truth and justice.
According to Rancourt, Allan Rock’s ardent support for Israeli policy is evidenced both in his political career and in his actions on campus as president at the University of Ottawa: In 2004, under Martin’s Liberal government and as Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, Allan Rock changed Canada’s longstanding foreign policy on Israel from abstaining on human rights resolutions for Palestine to being one of the few countries in the World that vote with the US and Israel against UN human rights resolutions for Palestine.
In July 2008 the media reported that Allan Rock participated in a trip to Israel “partly financed by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA)”, along with five other Canadian university presidents. The media reported that Mr. Rock’s visit “yielded immediate results” as “the University of Ottawa agreed to launch an exchange program in law.”
After a few months in office, President Allan Rock announced his plan in October 2008 for the University of Ottawa. This plan included what he calls putting “Canada’s University in the service of the World”. In explaining it to students on October 24, 2008, he talked about exchange programs.
When one student asked if Palestinian students would be allowed to participate in the exchange programs with Israel, Mr. Rock stated that he could not answer that. In the fall of 2008, the University of Ottawa chapter of the independent student-run Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) took a principled stand in line with its mission statement and refused to sponsor a Hillel event due to that organization’s stated unqualified support for Israeli policy.
Allan Rock responded by pressuring the student union (SFUO) president to write a letter condemning OPIRG. A letter from the SFUO president delineated the administrative relationships between the SFUO and OPIRG and this letter was made public by Allan Rock on his president’s “Rock Talk” blog.
Allan Rock also publicly stated that he would look for an “administrative” mechanism to deny OPIRG student-levy funding (which has been approved by a student referendum). In 2009 the Rock administration banned a student poster announcing Israeli Apartheid Week – a move widely criticized in some media such as the CBC and in the student media.
Far too many academicians, alas, are willing to accept blood-money to study everything and anything that poses no challenge to the ongoing genocide of Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East. Indeed, the persecution of Denis Rancourt had a great deal to do with him inviting Palestinian speakers into his classroom, as he explains in this talk on Academic Freedom.
Rancourt says “I would sum up the real reason for my being fired as follows: As part of the Activism course, I dared to invite Palestinian speakers into the classroom and as a result of that the controlled local newspaper wrote a very damning editorial of that event in the classroom and after that, in terms of the chronology, I was removed from all first year teaching and eventually from all teaching.
And so if you look at the chronology of the events, every time I spoke out in criticizing Israel, or gave a venue with regards to the Palestinian problem there were repercussions that followed immediately all the way up to my dismissal. . .that I believe is the real reason that I am being fired. The firing involved student spies, professional reporters being hired to come and tape record and write reports on my talks that I gave at other universities. I know this from Freedom of Information Requests. . . My research associate of 12 years was fired. . . . My graduate students were removed, I was not allowed to book rooms. You name it they did it. ”
Professor Kenneth Westhues of the University of Waterloo has appropriately described Rancourt as having been victim of “administrative mobbing”, a subject on which he has recently published a book, Winning, Losing, Moving On: How Professionals Deal with Workplace Harassment and Mobbing.
Westhues writes, “Is this a case of workplace mobbing in academe? Yes – and more precisely, administrative mobbing”
What we appear to have here turns out to be a form of academic lynching for a brilliant professor whose commitment to truth overrides his tolerance for political correctness, especially in relation to Israel and the Palestinians, for which he has been paying a very heavy price, a gross violation of his rights and a black stain on the reputation of the University of Ottawa – compliments of a former Canadian “Minister of Justice”.
Joshua Blakeney is a graduate student at the University of Lethbridge, member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Staff Writer at Veterans Today.
James Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.