Canadian anti-Semitism expert to visit

July 2, 2010 by Deborah Stone
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As antisemitism increases around the world, Canadian statesman and international antisemitism expert Professor Irwin Cotler will visit Australia to share his views on what can be done.

Professor Irwin Cutler

Professor Cotler is a leading international human rights lawyer whose former clients include political prisoners Nelson Mandela, Natan Sharansky and Andrei Sakhaarov.  He has fought landmark cases on free speech, women’s rights, minority rights, war crimes justice, prisoner’s rights and peace law in the Soviet Union, Latin America, Asia and South Africa.

A serving Opposition MP in Canada, Professor Cotler is a former Canadian Minister for Justice and a law professor emeritus at McGill University. He has spent a lifetime countering antisemitism and fighting for human rights.

Professor Cotler will visit Australia to deliver the ADC Gandel Oration on Contemporary Antisemitism: What We Can Do. He has particular concerns about the genocidal threats coming out of Iran and says democratic countries like Australia have a responsibility to use international law to act against President Ahmadinejad.

“The enduring lesson of the Holocaust and of the genocides in Srebrenica, Rwanda and Darfur is that they occurred not simply because of the machinery of death but because of the state-sanctioned incitement to hate and genocide,” he said. “One must not wait until after the crime of genocide occurs. One must act so as to prevent the genocide by prohibiting the incitement to genocide.”

Australia is one of many countries experiencing increasing antisemitism. In the year to September 2009 there were 962 reports of incidents against Jewish Australians including assaults, graffiti, vandalism, verbal attacks and intimidating emails.

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