University of Lethbridge teacher to be investigated for alleged anti-Semitic views
Ryan RumboltRYAN RUMBOLT
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Published on: September 30, 2016 | Last Updated: September 30, 2016 8:47 PM MDT
Lethbridge police have concluded an investigation into University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall for alleged hate speech against the Jewish community. BILL GRAVELAND / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith are calling for action, alleging a University of Lethbridge professor is spreading anti-Semitism.
Spokesperson and Western Canada Advocacy Coordinator, Ryan Bellerose, alleges Anthony Hall has been using his classroom and social media to promote an “honest, open debate on the Holocaust” and spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Hall runs a YouTube channel where he proclaims the terror attacks of 9/11 was a “Zionist job.” B’nai Brith have started a petition online calling for the University of Lethbridge “to investigate” Hall’s denial of the Holocaust and other conspiracy theories.
Bellrose said B’nai Birth’s complaints against Hall date back to 2009, but this most recent allegation was brought to the attention of the Lethbridge Police Service after a Facebook post was made on Hall’s wall by a third-party.
“We felt that it was incitement (of hate speech),” Bellerose said. “The actual post itself called for the genocide of Jews. It basically said, ‘we need to kill them all.’
“For (B’nai Brith) it was a no brainer — it’s a direct attack on Jewish people.”
A petition calling for the university to investigate Hall has been circulating online.
Sgt. Renee Scotland with the Lethbridge Police Service said the inflammatory post was deleted by the time police investigated and no charges will be laid.
“You have to be able to prove that the act of posting this … disgusting material, that the person had actually had the intent to incite hatred and wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group,” Scotland said.
Scotland said Hall was aware of the investigation and Hall cooperated with police, adding he was in the United States at the time the post was made. Scotland said because the post was made by a third-party, and quickly deleted, it is impossible to prove the poster’s “intend to incite hate”.
“The threshold is high and the burden of proof has to be clear, and it isn’t in this case.”
The University of Lethbridge said in a statement that they are “actively engaged with this issue” and Hall “does not speak on behalf of the University or its faculty, staff and students,” adding there have been multiple inquires into Hall’s “activities, views and teachings in the classroom.”
The university also said they cannot provide specific commentary or details on any disciplinary action against Hall.
Bellerose said he is an advocate of free speech and is aware anti-Semitic views are often spread online, but Bellerose takes exception to anti-Semitic material being spread by a professor.
“As an educator, he automatically has credibility,” Bellerose said. “We are taught in Canada that university professors especially are people that know things.”
Bellerose said he is aware any decision made by the university will be made discreetly, but he remains hopeful the university will take a stand against anti-Semitism.
“They need to come out very strongly and say that, ‘Look, we do not in any way shape or form condone this type of behaviour, and we will act within our purview to prevent it from happening again.’”