Support the international boycott movement against Israel!

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Unionist
Support the international boycott movement against Israel!

To begin, a good 2004 survey article:

[url=[=red]"Building">http://www.flwi.ugent.be/cie/Palestina/palestina174.htm][b]"B... the Academic Boycott in Britain", by Hilary Rose, Professor Emerita of Social Policy (University of Bradford)[/url]

Quote:

Palestinian Universities operate under unacceptable conditions. At intervals the Israeli army simply closes teaching down, and even when teaching is going on enters the campuses and harasses and arrests both students and staff. At al-Quds University in Occupied East Jerusalem Israel proposes to build a section of the Wall on the campus itself. Travelling to study or teach means crossing checkpoints with no certainty about making the classroom. One academic on his way to teach was stopped at the checkpoint because he was "under 45" -a rule made up that day by the commanding officer. Another was refused permission to cross, on the grounds that as an assistant professor he was only an assistant to the professor so could not possibly be giving a lecture. It's tough enough teaching under occupation, but to be thus personally frustrated and humiliated is intolerable. Whilst these are actions of the IDF under the authority of the Israeli state, it is important to remember that Israeli academic and research institutions have been actively or passively complicit in these acts. A few brave Israeli academics have protested (Dr Ilan Pappe says no more than a handful at most) but in the main academics, along with their institutions, have been content to continue to benefit from the fruits of repression.

Benefiting from the fruits of repression without vocal and strong opposition is to support tacitly the current regime. It is for this reason that the common suggestion, that Israeli academics are a source of liberal opposition to a regime condemned by Amnesty International, and so should be protected from criticism, is frankly unsustainable. ...

The original moratorium call was made more than two and a half years ago. Despite support for the call from within the European parliament, the Commission has refused to change its policies. However, increasing numbers of academics and others from civil society have responded publicly or privately in enacting the moratorium or various forms of boycott. Furthermore, these moves have had a considerable impact in Israel itself, whose newspapers, increasingly uncomfortable with the analogy with the South African boycotts and sanctions, have given it considerable coverage. Israeli universities have begun to feel the impact, finding it necessary to organise institutionally ‘to defend their academic freedom and fight the boycott'.

An entire new impetus to the campaign was given in the spring of 2004 when Palestinian civil society, academics, trade unions and NGO's under the umbrella of Palestine Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) made their call for a comprehensive boycott of Israeli academic institutions while seeking to connect to those Israelis who courageously continued to struggle for a just peace. PACBI's call has both united major sectors of Palestinian civil society on this issue, but has also galvanised a new move within Europe and beyond. With the PACBI call for a cultural and academic boycott many of those who supported the ERA moratorium have felt the need to think again. One of the results of this rethinking has led to a group of British based academics establishing BRICUP - the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (www.bricup.org.uk) which both supports the boycott campaign and works directly with Palestinian academics without the need for them to seek Israeli partners. BRICUP is dedicated to the academic boycott but there are encouraging signs that it will be extended by artists, writers and musicians to include the arts and culture more widely. There are similar boycott campaigns developing across the world from Australia to the USA.

Boycott offers a strategy and a tactic of non-violence, of mobilising civil society nationally and internationally against the Israeli's state policy of bloody repression and for a just peace. We know, from the historic experience of South Africa, that a boycott movement culminating in UN sanctions can produce justice and freedom. Yes the Palestine Israel situation is not identical with that of South Africa, but the analogy is politically helpful- because the eventual outcome was freedom. To explore how we may develop in detail (and the details are not easy) a strategy and tactic towards securing a just peace and a feeling of security for all the inhabitants of this small fraction of the earth's surface - including those displaced by more than forty years of conflict- is both imperative and urgent.

 

 

josh

I usually don't like to post comments from closed threads, but Unionist's remarks from that thread warrant a response:

"Instead, two U.S. residents choose to blast a group of university workers in Ontario for daring to support those appeals and proposing to implement them on their campuses.

I strongly feel that their "indignation" tells more about their ambiguous stand on Palestine and the Gaza invasion than it does about any more ethereal principles of academe. "

Adding to Unionist's mouthing of George W.'s, "you're either with us or against us" and cheap demagoguery, he now engages in a form of zenophobia.  Apparently now non-Canadians can now longer comment on threads involving Canadian topics.  I assume that applies vice-a-versa. 

More disturbing is Unionist's apparently inability to hold two different, but not necessarily contradictory, thoughts in his head.  In his black and white world, there is no room for logical distinctions, more than one principle, and nuance.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think Unionist was really George W.   In his world, as witnessed by his last sentence, your support for academic freedom is in reverse proportion to your condemnation of Israel.  Not only is that an incorrect assertion, it is despicable.

 

 

 

sanizadeh

Over the past couple of years, we fought several cases of boycott or bans against Iranian academics across the world. For instance:

- A decision by a few US-based international professional bodies against accepting Iranian academics as they thought it might violate US sanctions against Iran.

- A similar decision by IEEE journals that banned scientific papers from Iran on the same ground,

- A ban by the government of netherlands on applicants of Iranian origin who wanted to enter advanced technical programs

- Several cases of visa refusals to Iranian academics who were invited to give talks in US conferences.

 In all these cases and other similar ones, our counter-argument was that Iranian academics do not represent the government of Iran. This argument was accepted in most cases and for instance, successfully led to overturn decisions by IEEE and  ASC, who now accept Iranian academics and papers from Iran.

The same argument applies to the issue at hand. The main theory of the article is that Israeli academics are somehow representatives of  the government of Israel because they teach at public universities and get their salaries from that government. It is the same argument that was made against Iranian academics and it is false. A university professor represents himself and his work, not his employer.    

I believe there are better ways to help Palestinian academics, than boycotting Israeli academics (which in my humble opinion is a discriminatory and racist act). I can instead support calls to refuse to hold scientific conferences in Israel unless Palestinian academics are allowed to participate freely, or calls to hold conferences in Palestinian universities instead.  

Objective Observer

Boycotting Israelis, while not also boycotting Saudis or Americans, is racist.

martin dufresne

Bullshit. This 'you can't boycott A without boycotting B, C and D' would just ensure that no entity is ever boycotted until every counter-argument is answered. When someone says "you can't", he is counting on you believing him.

SCC

Boycott things or investments in the Israeli occupation policy, don't boycott people who have little to do anyway with decisions made by their governments.

Sven Sven's picture

But, sanizadeh, you are making a principled argument.

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

josh

Objective Observer wrote:
Boycotting Israelis, while not also boycotting Saudis or Americans, is racist.

That's as bad as anything Unionist has posted.

Star Spangled C...

If anyone actually has the intellectual consistency to answer the following, please do so: if you are calling for israeli academics to be boycotted due to the actions of teh Israeli government, why not also support a boycott of Canadian academics?

Israel's actions in gaza are appalling? So are Canada's in Afghanistan. Hell, I'd venture to say that Canada has killed considerably more people in Afghanistan than Israel has in gaza.

Israeli academia is tied to teh Israeli government? Same applies in Canada. Researchers get grants from military ventures. hell, tehre's an entire unviersity in Kingston directly affiliated with teh Canadian military that graduates its students to become military officers. Many Canadians receive university scholarships from the military for aprt-time service or a commitment to service upon graduation.

Will CUPE ask its members to boycott Canadian schools? Of course not. That would mean job losses for them. Easier to jsut pick on Israel and delude themselves into thinking that any academic int eh world actually gives a shit what tehy think.

josh

It seems that many who claim to oppose the CUPE boycott view things in the same black and white lens as do many who support the boycott. And to compare what Canada is doing in Afghanistan to what Israel is doing in Gaza is simply ludicrous.

Sven Sven's picture

josh wrote:
It seems that many who claim to oppose the CUPE boycott view things in the same black and white lens as do many who support the boycott. And to compare what Canada is doing in Afghanistan to what Israel is doing in Gaza is simply ludicrous.

What about Evil Amerika™?  Given that America represents the very pinnacle of evil, if CUPE had any principles, then surely American academics should be subjected to *some* form of boycott, no? 

_______________________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Star Spangled C...

josh wrote:
 And to compare what Canada is doing in Afghanistan to what Israel is doing in Gaza is simply ludicrous.

Why?

Occupation? Check.

Aerial bombardment? Check.

Ground assaults? Check.

Large-scale civilian casualties? Check.

Innocent people being killed over the actions of the governments? Check.

Jewish? Oh, I guess therein lies the difference.

remind remind's picture

Still trying to frame any initiatives against Israel's conduct as being anti-semetic, is such BS that it requires nothing more than cue's  "bollocks" in response.

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"watching the tide roll away"

josh

SSC, that's like saying war is war.  Again, another black and white view of things.  And the idea that one cannot boycott an aggressor in one conflict without boycotting aggressors in all conflicts suffers from the same malady.

The I/P conflict is unique, has been going on for quite some time, and involves a geopolitical fault line.   It warrants greater attention.

 

Sven Sven's picture

josh wrote:

SSC, that's like saying war is war.  Again, another black and white view of things.  And the idea that one cannot boycott an aggressor in one conflict without boycotting aggressors in all conflicts suffers from the same malady.

The I/P conflict is unique, has been going on for quite some time, and involves a geopolitical fault line.   It warrants greater attention.

Does it require "greater attention" that the actions of Evil Amerika™?  Perhaps it does.  But, even if Israel's actions are more odious than American actions—and if you read more than three randomly-selected threads on babble you'll see that America is villified as much as Israel—has CUPE done anything with respect to American (or any other country's) foreign actions?  No.  It's an on-off switch that, essentially, only applies to Israel.

_____________________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Sven Sven's picture

Collective guilt?  A concept to be condemned (except in the case of Israel).

Academic freedom?  A concept to be rigorously protected (unless throwing it under the bus can be used to hurt Israel). 

____________________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Sven wrote:
What about Evil Amerika™?  Given that America represents the very pinnacle of evil, if CUPE had any principles, then surely American academics should be subjected to *some* form of boycott, no? 
You should try taking your "y'all jist hate amurikins" shtick to another site where it might be more appreciated, Sven.

KeyStone

"Jewish? Oh, I guess therein lies the difference."

Hey, I just had a great idea.

How about every time someone criticizes Israel, we call them anti-semites and compare them to Nazis?

I bet no one has ever thought of that before.

remind remind's picture

Sven wrote:
if you read more than three randomly-selected threads on babble you'll see that America is villified as much as Israel has CUPE done anything with respect to American (or other country's) foreign actions?  No.  It's an on-off switch that, essentially, only applies to Israel.

Well, that is quite the empty statement, which means nothing. And I would bet you know sfa about CUPE, nor their former actions in respect to anything. It is just a good excuse to union bash.

Afterall, you are one the silly people that think people hate the USA cause they are jealous.
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"watching the tide roll away"

Sven Sven's picture

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:
You should try taking your "y'all jist hate amurikins" shtick to another site where it might be more appreciated, Sven.

But, I don't believe that most, if any, babblers "hate Americans".  I think many babblers disagree very strongly with American foreign policy.  That's obviously a significant difference.

And, given that strong disagreement with American foreign policy, it seems to me that if CUPE is going to take action against Israel, I would imagine, as a matter of principle, CUPE would take even stronger action against Evil Amerika™, given that America is, for many, the very pinnacle of evil and Israel, in relative terms, is merely a two-bit player.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Sven Sven's picture

remind wrote:
It is just a good excuse to union bash.

Actually, the fact that CUPE is a union is irrelevant, from my perspective.

But, nice try at diversion.

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Fidel

It's the freedoms, Sven. Keep your eyes on the prize

SCC

Well, you know josh, this appears to be one of those debates where "you are either 100% fur us or 100% agin us". And rationality flies out the window.

I am not surprised 95% of Canadians do not want to touch Middle East politics with a 10-foot pole, oops, I mean a 3-metre pole (you know, there is our metric system and all ...)

I find this merry-go-round not very useful.

Mom worked in academia, and a friend of mine is part of the Ryerson admin so I have some familiarit with academia.

The problem with an academic boycott has been pointed out by sanizadeh: it cannot be enforced. It is also likely illegal under various Canadian laws and unviersity ethics codes.

On the other hand, universities have endownment funds and pension investment funds. Legally, they are allowed to adopt ethical investment criteria: no cigarettes, no oil sands. It is legal for a university to adopt a policy not to invest or to divest from/in firms that help build settlements in the West Bank. Or that help repressive regimes in Tibet or Darfur or Columbia or Cuba or Zimbabwe. There are no legal or political obstacles to any of those things being divested from school pension funds. So it is a practical option, doable, achievable and avoids the mistake of targetting professers who most likely have little to do with the policy being criticized.

I am surprised that people continue to support a academic boycott they probably already know is illegal or contrary to various academic ethics codes or, at the very least, not about to be adopted by any Canadian university Senate or Board of Governors I know of.

But hey, all the people yelling in a rage for boycotting professors sure sound radical, "look at me, look at me, I'm sticking it to theman."

Not really.

But I have concluded a long time ago that most of the debate about the Middle East is about striking the right pose, and not necessarily about helping anyone on the ground.

So: boycott things, not ordinary people, even if they are boring academics. Oh, and send money to the Red Cross or Oxfam. And ask governments to pressure the Security Council to get a ceasefire and open border crossings.Those will do a lot more for real people in Gaza as we speak right now than yet another post denouncing the "evil" Israelis or Palestinians. I guess that is too pragmatic and down-to-earth to assuage people of whatever faction who like to rant and rage.

 

 

 

Bubbles

I am not sure exactly what sanctions had been applied to South Africa during its apartheid period, but something equivalent  might work here.

 

If Israel wants to apply an academic boycott because of our war in Afghanistan, I am all for it, if it gets us out of there. May I suggest you ban our politicians from Israel too while you are at it.

Bubbles

"But I still believe an ethical endowment investment fund policy makes the most sense. Of course, that takes time, not slogans. "

 

I am not sure what an ethical endowment investment fund is, but anything with 'fund' in it seems to be predestined to sink.

SCC

How about boycotting academics who work for the Iranian, or Israeli or Syrian or Zimbabwean or Cuban or US military (add your very own suggestion to the list if you want, hey add PLO or Hamas police if you wish) and allowing in the poets, cancer specialists, architecture profs and entomologists?

Sounds even-handed. 

It is called the UNIVERSAL declaration of human rights for a reason.

Hey, might as well as create a scholarship for a Gaza prof or two along the way.

Support thinkers or researchers, not people with guns.

Just saying.

But I still believe an ethical endowment investment fund policy makes the most sense. Of course, that takes time, not slogans.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
Well, you know josh, this appears to be one of those debates where "you are either 100% fur us or 100% agin us". And rationality flies out the window.

That's interesting. What percentage of you supports murdering innocent people (40 children today alone) trapped in a prison cum sewer? 

 

 

Sven Sven's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:

That's interesting. What percentage of you supports murdering innocent people (40 children today alone) trapped in a prison cum sewer? 

That's about as useful as asking: "What percentage of you support murdering 3,000 innocent people in an office tower?" or "What percentage of you support the murderous genocide in Darfur?"

I'm confident the answer to all three questions is "zero percent".

So, where does that get us?

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

SCC

Refers to what I posted earlier about university endowment funds. 

Boycott of academics unless they swear some kind of ideological oath of purity - probably not legal in Canada, and most definitely against academic ethics codes in all universities from what I know.

Deciding to no longer invest endowment or pension funds in firms that are involved, for example, in settlement building in the West Bank (occupation, violence, denial of Palestinian rights, bulldozing olive trees) or in Darfur (genocidal regime) or in oil sands or in Saudi Arabia (total gender apartheid) or in Iranian nuclear stuff (if no one trusts they really only want peaceful gadgets) or in whatever the Board of Governors deems against the ethical investment policy.... (take your pick) - perfectly legal. 

Ergo, doable eventually, or pragmatic or whatever one calls it. No overheated furious rhetoric required. And the Middle East debate already has incendiary verbal outbursts to the power of 10.

All you need is to pick one company to start. For example, I read somewhere that Caterpillar sells earthmoving gear used in house demolitions by Israel. Why not start to see if your university endowment fund invests in them? Same applies to other governments the university community may disagree with.

In my experience, the key is to make it a general investment policy, not a specifically anti-Israeli policy. Lots of governments have bad policies. Israeli policy on the Palestinian issue happens to be an example of a particularly disastrous and destructive one.

Anyway, I don't see any University Senate ever, ever voting to bar foreign academics based on nationality. That idea will be rejected as preposterous by administrators an dother academics for reasons outlined in this htread by sanisadeh. 

Socially responsible investment policy - that's a different matter. There is some potential there to get people to think and maybe act. Like the 95% of Canadians, including students I am sure, who won't touch the issue with a 10-foot pole because the impression many have is that the only people who ever seem to speak up (here or elsewhere) yell at each with a lot of emotionally over the top taunts.

Socially responsible investment by universities also has the advantage of telling Israelis it is their policies you oppose, not the average civilians who happen to live in their country. The message is: if the policies change, the university will of course with pleasure reevaluate its divestment decision. Harder for the hardcore Likud to oppose. And  extreme fundamentalists and Hamas supporters will look truly dumb for opposing it too. I don't see Canadians flocking to support either of those 2 camps.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Israel has shown no compunction in persecuting Israeli intellectuals, including academics who speak out against the occupation, and even those who have challenged the historical record of the Zionist invasion of 1948.

Illan Pappe was basically driven from his post at the University of Haiffa, where he was tenured professor. Furthermore, Israel has done everything it can to prevent Palestinians from becoming "academics" at all by blowing up their schools and universities.

That alone basically nullifies any of these arguements based in the sanctity of "academic freedom" and should be enough to justify a boycott of Israeli Universities and their representatives abroad.

People seem to have no problem with the idea of boycotting Israeli products, and by extension, quite litterally preventing Israeli business people from doing business in Canada, yet for some reason they seem to think that academics should be awarded special privilege.

No one had any problem prohibiting South African sports teams from competing in international competitions, because Apartheid acted to prevent Black athletes from participating in international competitions. Likewise, if Israel is actively preventing Palestnians from participating on the international stage as academics, Israeli academics should likewise be sanctioned.

If Israel and its institutions want to have the academic freedom of its university based intellectuals respected, then in must act in kind. It does not, so therefore this boycott is entirely legitimate.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

That alone basically nullifies any of these arguements based in the sanctity of "academic freedom" and should be enough to justify a boycott of Israeli Universities and their representatives abroad.

So you're saying that if Israel doesn't respect academic freedom for its own citizens, we shouldn't either?

Robert Mugabe has his own citizens beaten.  Does that "nullify" any arguments that they deserve safety and security? 

Quote:
It does not, so therefore this boycott is entirely legitimate.

You speak with the perfect confidence of a God on earth.  What happens when your God-like proclamations are at odds with Unionist's God-like proclamations?  Is it like the rhetorical version of the unmoveable object and the unstoppable object?  I bet neither of you backs down an inch.  Ever.

Anyway, your "logic" is essentially identical to saying that if India still has an unofficial caste system (which they do) then it's perfectly alright for us to treat an Indian badly (and if they don't like that then they need to stop treating others badly first!!!!!)

Juvenile and petulant.

SCC

That is the case Cueball: academics, domestically and internationally, do have special privileges. In many countries, it is even statute law.

Some Israeli university has violated the academic freedom of that professor you mentioned (never heard of him or her). I assume it is correct. And their military has bombed educational sites of the Palestinians.

Ergo, we should violate the academic freedom of Canadian universities in telling them and their profs here whom they can invite. And Canadian universities and faculties should take it out on Israeli professors and researchers. I didn't know Israeli entomologists or medical researchers were moonlighting on the weekend flying air force jets.

I see no logical connection between Israeli policies in Gaza and whether Canadian profs can work with Israelis unless someone unspecified at some as yet unnamed thought control organization somewhere in some unspecified location with some unspecified mandate applies an ideological purity test. Under what statute, labour code, human rights code, professional ethics code or university charter would the purity police operate?

Just asking.

My momma taught me (and I teach my daughter the same): 2 wrongs do not make a right.

I doubt you will get far at any Canadian university senate or board of governors with this type of argument. Are you even vaguely familiar with the laws that apply to the administration of higher education in Canada? I mean, you are facing a wee little obstacle - like no legal foundation.

Again, an investment code for your university's endowment or pension funds is more sensible. As well as being legal and doable.

Cueball Cueball's picture

First, the idea that going to a university awards one special privilege, is elitist in the extreme, and in my view directly abrogates the fundamental rights of anyone who is not an academic.

Second, a great number of Israeli universities are heavily state funded institutions, and as such they are an intergrated part of the state infrastructure that is presently denying Palestinians their academic freedom.

Again,  South African sports teams were prevented from competing in international competitions, because Apartheid acted to prevent Black athletes from participating in international competitions. Likewise, if Israel is actively preventing Palestnians from participating on the international stage as academics, Israeli academics should likewise be sanctioned.

No one is saying we should blow up their universities or burn down their schools. We are merely saying that they should be prevented from pedalling their products abroad.

Whining about the academic freedom of some individuals, is like saying the individual rights of white South African soccer players was being infringed during apartheid.

And you are right. It was. That was the point.

josh

Cueball wrote:

People seem to have no problem with the idea of boycotting Israeli products, and by extension, quite litterally preventing Israeli business people from doing business in Canada, yet for some reason they seem to think that academics should be awarded special privilege.

 

Yeah, let's get rid of tenure while we're at it.  Who do those academics think they are.  And fire the radicals and the Marxists while we're at it. 

Cueball Cueball's picture

No.

You are missing the context. The context is that Israel, and its institutions are directly abrogating the rights of Palestinians to become academics by blowing up their schools and universities.

Israel has already crossed that line.

Objective Observer

The problem isn't the schools. It's the Hamas bombs and other weapons stored in them that really get the attention of the Israeli military.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/32368_UN_School_Used_by_Terrorists_As_a_Weapons_Dump

remind remind's picture

Go cue, go, except for the not getting rid of tenure, of course it should be gone.

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"watching the tide roll away"

remind remind's picture

OH for fuck's sake, now we are having little green footballs quoted here as if they are somehow credible, fuck, fuck fuck!

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"watching the tide roll away"

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Why are we allowing racist trash to linked on babble?

Quote:
That's about as useful as asking: "What percentage of you support murdering 3,000 innocent people in an office tower?" or "What percentage of you support the murderous genocide in Darfur?"

I'm confident the answer to all three questions is "zero percent".

So, where does that get us?

You're so smart Sven. You're also entirely transparent and hardly worth my time.

Nevertheless contributors here want to attack a union for taking the only principled public postion of any institution in North America. Now think about that. Only one Canadian union has stood with the victims of a barbaric regime intent, it would seem, on liquidating a people.

And then intelligent people (with the noted exception of the moron who posts here) want to quibble the method of that support. Fucking amazing. And while you were getting all self-righteous over one courageous union, how many Palestinians were dismembered by shrapnel or burned by white phosphorous?

 

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Objective Observer wrote:

The problem isn't the schools. It's the Hamas bombs and other weapons stored in them that really get the attention of the Israeli military.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/32368_UN_School_Used_by_Terrorists_As_a_Weapons_Dump

Exactly. So, rather than flattening the school, they could just use 30mm chain gun, or other small caliber weapons to attack the actual target. Obviously it is the school that is the target.

By the way, the "Little Green Goofballs" article is disinformation, itself, because it suggests that the images of someone using mortars from the UN school in Gaza, when in fact it is from "a" school in Gaza in 2007.

One asks:

Where is the actual footage from the actual attack on the UN school?

Where is the actual footage from the actual attack on the American Institute?

Where is the actual footage from the attack on the Islamic University?

The IDF seems to have no problem getting video images of "some" attacks but not others? Why that?

 It also suggests this is proof that the school is an ammo dump. No it does not. What is indicates is that Hamas people were outside of the school and firing mortars -- they are not seen, entering the school or any such thing. In fact it shows them leaving the school, which suggests that their weapons and ammo were not stored in the school.

What you are seeing is people engaging in Urban warfare. Just as Israel does when it sets up a command post or a forward position in an urban area, often in buildings which still contain civilians. Let's note, there are no civilians in this footage. In fact the school looks empty.

sanizadeh

Cueball wrote:

First, the idea that going to a university awards one special privilege, is elitist in the extreme, and in my view directly abrogates the fundamental rights of anyone who is not an academic.

Second, a great number of Israeli universities are heavily state funded institutions, and as such they are an intergrated part of the state infrastructure that is presently denying Palestinians their academic freedom.

Again,  South African sports teams were prevented from competing in international competitions, because Apartheid acted to prevent Black athletes from participating in international competitions. Likewise, if Israel is actively preventing Palestnians from participating on the international stage as academics, Israeli academics should likewise be sanctioned.

No one is saying we should blow up their universities or burn down their schools. We are merely saying that they should be prevented from pedalling their products abroad.

Whining about the academic freedom of some individuals, is like saying the individual rights of white South African soccer players was being infringed during apartheid.

And you are right. It was. That was the point.

Sport teams compete as representatives of the country or clubs. Individual academics do not represent the country or  the institution they work at. It is the nature of academic job. An academic is not a "product" of the university he works at. 

CUPE could have called for ban on cooperation with Israeli institutions instead of targetting individual academics. 

And, yes, while "Going to a university" provides no privilege; working there as an acadmeic provides certain protections under te concept of academic freedom, the purpose of it is to allow free and critical exchange of thoughts without external pressure from govenments or mobs.

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Does an F-16 qualify as a "mob" or a "external government preassure"? 

Sorry. No. The academic that are produced by Universities are a product. The international repuations of academics directly reflect on the reputations and selling power to attract students to universities where they teach and where they are alumni. I am growing doubtful of your self-professed credentials as an academic, if you do not clearly understand this relationship.

No I don't actually think that. What I actually think is that you are willfully ignoring it in favour of an idealized view of how you would like academia and its institutions to function.

So no. This is not about sanctioning individuals. This is about sanctioning institution that are directly part of the process of disenfranchising Palestinians from the academic community in the world at large, by clearly establishing that the representatives of state institutions that not only fail to defend the rights of Palestinian to academic freedom, but are culpable in acts which directly abrogate those rights, are not welcome here.

You have spent a fair amount of time discussing your activities defending Iranian academics. Good for you, you should continue doing so. Except in the most banal ways, Iran is not directly disenfranchising any persons outside of its own jurisdictional sphere, and it is certainly not bombing any schools or universities. The comparison is moot, therefore.

sanizadeh

Cueball wrote:

Does an F-16 qualify as a "mob" or a "external government preassure"? 

Absolutely. I am not questioning the fact that Israel is violating Palestinians' academic freedom.

Quote:

Sorry. No. The academic that are produced by Universities are a product. The international repuations of academics directly reflect on the reputations and selling power to attract students to universities where they teach and where they are alumni. I am growing doubtful of your self-professed credentials as an academic, if you do not clearly understand this relationship.

The universities may use academics' reputations as selling points, nevertheless, I don't think many academics would think of themselves as representing their university when offering a talk, presenting a paper or conducting research. I certainly don't. I am not claiming that an academic's work is completely independent of his working environment, i.e. the university, but he is also not a typical corporate or public employee who carries out tasks on his boss' order. An Israeli academic is as responsible for his government's action as a Canadian Professor is responsible for the Canadian government's actions, good or bad.

 

My view of academia might be a little idealized, but I think your view, which is the exact opposite, is farther from the reality than my view is.

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So no. This is not about sanctioning individuals. This is about sanctioning institution that are directly part of the process of disenfranchising Palestinians from the academic community in the world at large, by clearly establishing that the representatives of state institutions that not only fail to defend the rights of Palestinian to academic freedom, but are culpable in acts which directly abrogate those rights, are not welcome here.

Fine. Then sanction those institutions, not Individual academics. boycott official relations and cooperations. It is not only easier to do (and a lot more effective), but also does not violate the notions of academic freedom.

sanizadeh

SCC wrote:

A boycott violates too many university policies. Violates rights of Canadian academics to academic freedom. No rational connection between means and ends.

That's exactly the point. The proposed ban violates the academic rights of Canadian academics, not Israelis. On the other hand, a ban on cooperation between universities or proposals for divestment not only works more effectively, but also has none of the former's legal problems. 

SCC

Well, it also does violate academic freedom for Israelis because some of them are already working in Canadian universities, and the proposal means many of them would be fired or banned unless they pass some obscure ideological test no one knows who would be in charge of administering and that is totally unrelated to their academic activities, but they may not have the exact same legal rights as their Canadian academic partners whose autonomy would be violated.

However, this does not change the fact that CUPE seeks to solve an Israeli-Palestinian problem by attacking the autonomy, freedoms and rights of Canadian institutions and traditions.

Logic 101, anyone?

SCC

Frustrated Mess, that one North American union you so admire hasn't been followed by anyone for all the reasons outlined by various contributors.

The academic boycott idea won't wash.

Major problem - no legal foundation. Canada is a country of laws. University autonomy and professors freedom to work with whom they want is another foundational idea to OUR democracy. You will get a lawsuit the first time an Israeli researcher (already in Canada, and perhaps with dual Canadian citizenship) is denied some post for political reasons. Do you wish for a list of the many Charter decisions that say that is illegal?

A boycott violates too many university policies. Violates rights of Canadian academics to academic freedom. No rational connection between means and ends.

Israel violates academic freedom of Palestinians? Ergo, we should violate the freedoms of Canadian academics. No rational connection between means (attack a tradition that took generations to build and defend here in this country) and ends (oppose Israeli policies in Gaza)

Divestment from this or that firm tied to the occupation in the West Bank or to armed forces fighting in Gaza has none of these problems. It is legal to apply various ethical criteria to your university's endownment fund or pensuion fund investments, it violates no policies I know of, there is rational connection between means and ends.

We are adults here, this is not the high school cafeteria where you win if you pout or yell at people long enough. So maybe, you stop the temper tantrum, OK? 

You just can't always lash out at people. This is serious discussion, you have to bring forth serious arguments for your case, not just lash out. Why are you so attached to an academic boycott? Why not more doable ideas like ethical investment criteria for university funds? Or a scholarship for a Gaza student? Or a petition for an immediate ceasefire and letting the Red Cross and journalists in? Those are all practical things with some real impact.

Bubbles

I wonder how easy it is to invite some Palestinian academics from that Gaza University to have a talk here? Would Israel give them an exit permit? It might be more usefull to go the route of travel restrictions.

 

Also in this time of internet I am not sure how effective an academic boycott would be.

 

SCC, I am rather sceptical about ethical investments in corporations. Corporations can change directions and ownership on a dime. To many Madoffs and Enrons have spoiled that aproach. Also with the widening spread between poor and rich, money is becoming an increasingly dirty, unethical commodity.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

There was an academic boycott of South Africa. I am certain you all opposed that for the same reasons, right? There was also an economic boycott of South Africa and I'm equally sure you would oppose that, correct?

I will tell you something and I hope I don't understate it: All this stuff about freedom, is a luxury of the rich, privileged and entitled. There is no freedom, academic or otherwise, for most of the world. In Gaza their is not even the freedom to live. Only the freedom of to rot in squalor and to die. So understand, when you speak of academic freedom and other trivialities of rich societies more obsessed with the ivory tower than the gun turret, you might as well be speaking of hats and shoes within the shops along an exclusive street.  It is cheap and easy and and all too typical of the selfish and rich.

sanizadeh

(Added this comment to my previous post - had forgotten I could edit the posts!)

sanizadeh

Frustrated Mess wrote:


There was an academic boycott of South Africa. I am certain you all opposed that for the same reasons, right? There was also an economic boycott of South Africa and I'm equally sure you would oppose that, correct?

My knowledge of the academic boycott of South Africa is limited to what I found on wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_boycott_of_South_Africa). According to the link, the following was the declaration of those who signed the boycott:

"[we the undersigned] Pledge that we shall not apply for or accept academic posts in South African universities which practise racial discrimination."

Even this simple pledge was highly controversial at the time. But I have no problem with the above. It correctly targets the institutions, not the individuals. Please let me know if the boycott actually went beyond that. 

Now to the second part:

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I will tell you something and I hope I don't understate it: All this stuff about freedom, is a luxury of the rich, privileged and entitled. There is no freedom, academic or otherwise, for most of the world.

Precisely. Freedom is a luxury to you, my rich white Canadian friends , something that has never been denied to you. Of course you would consider it a luxury. Of course you would not know what it means to live without freedom. You never had to fight for it. A luxury, as you correctly pointed out.

For the rest of us in the world, for Palestinians and Iranians and those who lived under fascist dictatories of South America and Communist dictatories of Eastern Europe and others, freedom was not a luxury. It was a dream. It is a dream for a Palestinian to be able to move freely from a town to another, to be able to live anywhere he chooses in his own country, to be able to go to university or take the job he wants or freely speak without worrying about being hit by a sharpnel or arrested by army or the local militia. To be able to build his country and live his life without interference from both invaders and local despots. That's freedom. 

And the Palestinians have shown they are prepared to die to achieve those freedoms. This is what the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about. Freedom.

Precisely because of this appreciation of rights and freedoms, I do not want to see it being denied to myself or to others.

 

 

Unionist

sanizadeh wrote:

And the Palestinians have shown they are prepared to die to achieve those freedoms. This is what the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about. Freedom.

Precisely because of this appreciation of rights and freedoms, I do not want to see it being denied to myself or to others.

Sanizadeh, as usual your remarks are thoughtful and appreciated.

I'm not sure why people are prattling on and on about the CUPE Ontario university workers in this thread, which I actually opened to discuss the international boycott movement.

In that spirit, please bear with me while I quote, again, the [url=[=red]full">http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10075.shtml][b]full text of the international appeal[/url] issued last week by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees. After reviewing it, I would very much appreciate hearing your view on this appeal, whether it is reasonable, and if so, what measures we in Canada could take to support and respond to it:

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The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees condemns in the strongest possible terms the bombing today of the campus of the Islamic University in Gaza. This wanton destruction of an academic institution is only the latest in the ongoing lethal campaign launched by the Israeli government and army against Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip. This murderous rampage has caused more than 300 deaths and the injury of close to 1,500 Palestinians. And the carnage continues with impunity.

We add our voice to the urgent appeal issued two days ago by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) urging international civil society not just to protest and condemn Israel's massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violations of international law and Palestinian rights. We agree that, without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.

Today, at the height of the lethal Israeli assault against the Palestinian people in Gaza, we are met with deafening silence emanating from the Israeli academy. Does it condone the murderous bombing campaign that its government is carrying out in the name of all Israelis? Are the members of the academy dutifully preparing for the reserve call-up just approved by their government, ready to serve in the death squads committing war crimes around the clock? Are Israeli universities willing to call for an end to the occupation? Are they going to cut their organic and deep-rooted ties with the military-security establishment? There is no doubt that the aggression against the Gaza Strip has reached horrendous proportions, described by many international public figures as constituting war crimes and a continuation of the ethnic cleansing unleashed 60 years ago.

We urge academics around the world to intensify their boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and to isolate the Israeli academy in international forums, associations of academics, and other international venues. Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the entrenched system of oppression practiced by the Israeli state, and their silence at this critical moment is only the most vociferous indicator of this complicity.

Dr. Amjad Barham
President
Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees

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