The University of Toronto Objectivist Club is having an event this Sunday entitled “The Moral Case for Supporting Israel”. The club ordered from the Ayn Rand Institute 350 complimentary copies of a pamphlet entitled “In Moral Defense of Israel”. (PDF).
Yesterday morning, I received a Notice of Detention from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency regarding the pamphlet delivery. The letter stated that “The following goods [the pamphlets] have been detained for a determination of tariff classification as they may constitute obscenity or hate propaganda. You will be notified in writing of the decision.” The letter acknowledges that the material was properly declared in accordance with government regulations. The letter did not give a date as to when we can expect to hear back about the status of the material. The only phone number given was the Prohibited Importation Unit’s number, which is (905) 625-7942.
The government has confiscated material that we were expecting for our upcoming event. It is virtually impossible that we will be able to get it in time. In addition, it is possible (although not yet confirmed) that they actually opened the sealed box without permission to look at the pamphlets.
Should we not receive our material, this is an egregious example of censorship, and it should not be tolerated passively. Even if we do receive it ultimately, the damage will be done in that we will not be able to hand it out to hundreds of people who would have been enlightened by its content. The pamphlet’s content makes important arguments, arguments required to defend the state of Israel and ultimately, the Western world itself. If this is “hate speech”, then we might as well surrender ourselves to the terrorists immediately.
I encourage you to review the pamphlet on the Ayn Rand Institute’s website, to send letters to as many newspaper editors and writers as possible, to attend our event this Sunday (info. is available at www.uoftobjectivistclub.com) and to inform anyone that may find this situation relevant. Feel free to forward this letter.
Ray Girn, President, University of Toronto Objectivist Club
Update from Ray: “I did receive a (somewhat cryptic) message from the customs official saying that the material had been reviewed, was deemed admissable, and will be now mailed out. (I still haven’t found out whether they opened the box, but if they did, it was done without my permission or ARI’s permission).”