Jewish professor Cameron Johnston, of Toronto’s York University, is having to defend himself against charges of anti-Semitism brought about by a student who wasn’t paying much attention. What exactly did he say in his social sciences class?
“All Jews should be sterilized” would be an example of an unacceptable and dangerous opinion, Johnston told the students.
Sarah Grunfeld, a student in Johnston’s class, apparently heard only the first 5 words of this statement. She stormed out, and compounded her misunderstanding by going to the press. The real problem, however? Even when the truth is clear, Grunfeld is sticking to her incredibly incorrect guns.
Grunfeld said Tuesday she may have misunderstood the context and intent of Johnston’s remarks, but that fact is insignificant.
“The words, ‘Jews should be sterilized’ still came out of his mouth, so regardless of the context I still think that’s pretty serious.”
For his part, Professor Johnston seems to be taking a very high road with all of this. Good for him. But that leaves it to others to call out Grunfeld on her absurd behavior.
Sarah Grunfeld, you’re wrong. You weren’t listening, and you reacted to what you thought you heard. Context does matter. Just admit you’re wrong and stop digging yourself a deeper hole.
Update (September 21st, 2011): Reader Colman G. wrote in to point out a great comment, from “profxfiles”. As The Star seems to offer no way to link to a specific comment, I’ve reproduced it below:
As Ms. Grunwald noted, “The words, ‘Jews should be sterilized’ still came out of his mouth, so regardless of the context I still think that’s pretty serious.” Since she ALSO said “Jews must be sterilized” and context does not matter, I would assume that makes her statement a pretty serious issue and indicates she is anti-Semetic as well…Oh, wait, I just repeated her words! With no context, that would make ME anti-Semetic as well…and the reporter that wrote this!
Well, shit, I guess I’m an anti-Semite now too.