The flyer claimed fundraising dollars and a pro-Israel bias guide most of the university administration’s decisions, including its discipline of pro-Palestinian campus protests. It stated the York University Foundation is “biased by the presence and influence of staunch pro-Israel lobbyists, activists, and fundraising agencies.”
The YUF would not comment because the issue involves university personnel.
“The professor is invoking York’s labour relation process and he is free to do so,” said Nancy White, director of media relations at York. “It’s not a lawsuit. He has filed a grievance through the normal arbitration process.”
According to Jay Rahn, communications officer for the York University Faculty Association, YUFA supports Noble’s rights to freedom of speech and academic freedom — rights that were allegedly infringed upon by a York media release.
“My grievance primarily involves a violation of my academic freedom but also a defamation [of character]. The university went to press defaming me as a bigot and hate-monger,” Noble said, adding York’s response to his flyer affects his professional standing.
“The implication of anti-Semitism is clear,” he added.
“[The university’s press release] did not allege anti-Semitism or name individuals, but a number of students expressed concern,” White said. Groups such as Hillel and the York Federation of Students are among those concerned with the handout, she added.
White criticized Noble’s handout for list-making on the basis of ethnicity, noting the people listed were philanthropists raising money for students.
Paul Cooper, former president of the York Federation of Students, was mentioned in Noble’s handout as someone who was receiving funds “to train pro-Israel activists and cultivate campus influentials.”
“He [said] the university received help from a Jewish organization financially — but it wasn’t true,” Cooper said.
“To prepare the document just listing Jewish influence... seems futile and redundant,” he added.