Former Canada Minister of Justice to discuss anti-Semitism during lecture at University of North Texas

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 21:20

What: "The Laundering of Anti-Semitism under Universal Public Values" -- A lecture at the University of North Texas by Irwin Cotler, international human rights lawyer and former Canada Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Presented by UNT's Jewish and Israel Studies Program and Division of Student Affairs.

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 1 (Tuesday)

Where: UNT's Gateway Center, 801 North Texas Boulevard

Cost: $5 payable at the door. Free for UNT students with identification.

Contact: Jewish and Israel Studies Program at 940-369-8926 or

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Former Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Irwin Cotler, an international human rights lawyer, will discuss how the United Nations perpetuates anti-Semitism under the authority of international law during a lecture at the University of North Texas Dec. 1 (Tuesday).

"The Laundering of Anti-Semitism under Universal Public Values" begins at 7 p.m. at UNT's Gateway Center, which is located at 801 North Texas Boulevard. Admission is $5 at the door. UNT students will be admitted for free with their student IDs.

The event is sponsored by UNT's Jewish and Israel Studies Program and the Division of Student Affairs. It is the fourth of nine events that the program is hosting during the 2015-16 academic year. All of the events have the theme "The Oldest and Newest Hatred: Antisemitism-Anti-Israelism."

Other sponsors for Cotler's lecture are UNT's Division of Equity and Diversity, Office of Spiritual Life, the UNT Multicultural Center, UNT-International, the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and North Texas Hillels.

In the Jerusalem Post column, Cotler defines the laundering of anti-Semitism under universal public values as portraying Israel "as the enemy of all that is good, and the repository of all that is evil."

"For me, a Canadian for whom the U.N. is part of my DNA, an international centerpiece for my own identity, human rights, foreign policy, a credo by which I live by, this kind of laundering is not just prejudicial to Israel. It's prejudicial to all these things that we ought to care about. It undermines the integrity of the UN, erodes the authority of international law, corrupts the culture of human rights, and demeans the struggle against racism," he wrote.

A constitutional and comparative law scholar, Cotler taught at Montreal's McGill University, his alma mater, until being elected to Parliament for the Liberal Party of Canada in 1999. He was a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and its sub-Committee on Human Rights and International Development, and also served on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. In 2000, he was appointed special advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the International Criminal Court.

Cotler was appointed as Canadian Minster of Justice and Attorney General in 2003, and introduced the nation's first National Justice Initiative against Racism and Hate in the House of Commons.

As an international human rights lawyer, Cotler served as counsel to Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Muchtar Pakpahan in Indonesia and Jacobo Timmerman in Argentina, among other political prisoners. He also represented former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, who was imprisoned in the former Soviet Union for Jewish activism.

Elected 2014 Canadian Parlimentarian of the Year by his colleagues, Cotler retired from Parliament earlier this year when he chose to not seek reelection.

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