Support the international boycott movement against Israel!

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Unionist

Thank you sanizadeh - I agree with your reading of the appeal, and I think, on reflection, that the CUPE Ontario university workers' committee may have got it wrong.

I strongly believe it is our duty to listen to the victims of oppression and injustice and respond positively to their appeals for support, without dictating to them what the form of that support should be (except perhaps for some rare exception where their requests are not feasible).

I would very much like to hear what others feel about the appeal as quoted above. If it enjoys support among posters here (and from your comments, I think that's a live possibility), let's think of writing to CUPE Ontario and suggest that they model their action more closely after what the Palestinian academics and university workers have actually requested.

Thoughts?

sanizadeh

Thanks unionist.

Regarding the appeal by the Palestinian federation of university professors, I would like to note that their appeal demands international boycott of "Israeli academic institutions", not individual scholars. This appears to be similar to the academic boycott of South Africa, where British academics refused to accept positions or to deliver presentations in South African universities. I don't have a problem with this approach. Institutions are symbols of governments.

How it could be implemented in Canada? I am not quite sure but  SCC offered some possible suggestions: divestment of university endowment funds from companies who invest in occupied territories, boycotting international scientific conferences in Israeli universities unless Palestinian universities are included as partners or allowed to participate, Adding partners from Palestinian universities to research collaborations with Israeli universities (if possible), providing short-term positions for Palestinian scholars and students who are unable to continue their work there etc. I am sure others can come up with many better ideas too.  

saga saga's picture

Unionist wrote:

Thank you sanizadeh - I agree with your reading of the appeal, and I think, on reflection, that the CUPE Ontario university workers' committee may have got it wrong.

I strongly believe it is our duty to listen to the victims of oppression and injustice and respond positively to their appeals for support, without dictating to them what the form of that support should be (except perhaps for some rare exception where their requests are not feasible).

I would very much like to hear what others feel about the appeal as quoted above. If it enjoys support among posters here (and from your comments, I think that's a live possibility), let's think of writing to CUPE Ontario and suggest that they model their action more closely after what the Palestinian academics and university workers have actually requested.

Thoughts?

Excellent!

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

I am still trying to figure out why some people think its ok to ban Soccer players from international competitions, but not ok to ban "academics" from going to conferences. Its as simple as that.

saga saga's picture

Cueball wrote:
I am still trying to figure out why some people think its ok to ban Soccer players from international competitions, but not ok to ban "academics" from going to conferences. Its as simple as that.

 

The rationale, somewhere above, was that black South Africans were barred from participating, so the white ones were as well: The makeup of the team did not pass IOC muster/rules, in effect.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yes, and destroying educational facilities directly bars Palestinians from participating in academic conferences where accreditation is needed. 

You're basically suggesting that SA should have been able to avoid sanctions against its soccer team by blowing up the soccer pitches where Black South Africans were practicing and killing the players, instead of using a legal instrument to prohibit black soccer players from playing.

Oddly enough:

Turkish basketball fans stop Israeli team playing

Quote:
ANKARA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Turkish basketball fans chanting "Israel, killers" stopped the start of a game against an Israeli team on Tuesday by throwing objects onto the court in protest against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

saga saga's picture

Cueball wrote:

You're basically suggesting that SA should have been able to avoid sanctions against its soccer team by blowing up the soccer pitches where Black South Africans were practicing and killing the players, instead of using a legal instrument to prohibit black soccer players from playing.

Am I really? I assure you that was not my intention, my words, nor my meaning. I admit I sometimes become so mired in the pithy and plentiful analogies (ie, straw 'men') here on babble that apparently I don't even know what I'm saying myself!! Fancy that! Thanks for clarifying me ... for me ... I think.

Sheesh!

Next time someone asks for information that they could read for themselves in the thread, I will simply suggest they doff the high and mighty rhetoric and friggen go find it.

Now please excuse the intrusion of my attemopt to assist you, and carry on. I'm sure someone wants to play derail-the-thread with your analogy, that you mistakenly ascribe to me, but I have no interest in such asinine morphological pastimes.

However, I fully expect to be morphologically tarred and feathered  for even suggesting whatever the fuck it is that you said I said, that I did not.

 

Star Spangled C...

Cueball wrote:
I am still trying to figure out why some people think its ok to ban Soccer players from international competitions, but not ok to ban "academics" from going to conferences. Its as simple as that.

National athletic teams are official representatives of their given country. As a Canadian academic teaching abroad, I am not an official representative of Canada or its government. I am an individual conducting research and teaching students. Nor does the fact that I am on faculty of a public university in the states make me a representative of either the United States or teh Commonwealth of Virginia. My country of birth, the passport i hold, the school that employs me and even my viewpoints on things other than my chosen field of study have absolutely nothing to do with whether I should be allowed to teach, conduct research, study, etc.

Star Spangled C...

Cueball wrote:

Oddly enough:

Turkish basketball fans stop Israeli team playing

Quote:
ANKARA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Turkish basketball fans chanting "Israel, killers" stopped the start of a game against an Israeli team on Tuesday by throwing objects onto the court in protest against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Lovely. Just lovely, Cueball.

"Moments before the tip-off of the Israeli team's Eurocup encounter against Turk Telekom some 3,000 Turkish fans shouted 'Allah Akbar' and, by some accounts, 'death to the Jews' in protest against the IDF's actions in Gaza.

Other fans threw bottles at the Israeli players and stormed the court, forcing the Israelis to flee for the dressing rooms.

The players and staff were only able to leave for their hotel thanks to a massive police escort after being stranded for two long hours in the locker room. "

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167284870&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

What barbarians!

Star Spangled C...

Looks like those right wing extremist fanatics on the editorial board of the Toronto Star are also against CUPE: http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/562687

And from what I hear, that zionist, imperialist union-hater (and CAW employee) Peggy nash also denounced the move last night on the Michael Coren Show.

Objective Observer

The reason they oppose this measure is because it's blatantly racist. When there are so many other countries that could have their academics boycotted (USA for one, Saudi Arabia for another), and they choose only the primarily Jewish one, that's racism.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Your hyperbole does you no favours, SSC.

It's diffiuclt to argue with that editorial, simply because when you wade through the ad hominems, misguided extrapolation and hyperbole that makes our ex-pat academic shiver with pleasure, there's not much to argue with.

1. This is not an attack on free speech. This argument is often trotted out by right-wing hacks when their freedom to oppress othes is threatened. In fact, it is a boycott on visiting academics. Israeli students and Israeli citizens are welcome to visit, demonstrate and engage with Canadian campuses as they see fit. 

2. Israeli nationals who currently work at universities will not be fired.  As far as I can tell, the boycott actually only applies to visiting academics. Of course, since the boycott is not officially established yet, none of us know the truth. This doesn't stop Israel apologists from assuming that CUPE wants all Jewish professors rounded up and shot.

3. It doesn't matter what the Star thinks of Sid Ryan. Calling Ryan an 'inveterate publicity hound'might be effectiv, but it has nothing to do with the merits of the case. Neither does pulling quotes out of context, dismissing them as 'hyperbole' and failing to critically address the seriousness and criminality of the Gaza occupation and current invasion.

4. We are not talking about a dispute in foreign policy. As evidence everywhere demonstrates--and as the International community with the exception of the United States and their Canadian lapdogs understand--the Gaza crisis is a war crime. It is a heinous affront to humanity, disgusting in its disregard for human life and constitutes the worst, rotten and tragic elements of our world. It infects us all and it must be stopped wholly and unreservedly. To reduce it to 'Israel's military response to Hamas rockets' wilfully misses the point the whole world gets.

Sven Sven's picture

Catchfire wrote:
What barbarians!

Well, I would say that yelling "death to the Jews" is barbaric. 

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Cueball Cueball's picture

Objective Observer wrote:
The reason they oppose this measure is because it's blatantly racist. When there are so many other countries that could have their academics boycotted (USA for one, Saudi Arabia for another), and they choose only the primarily Jewish one, that's racism.

Your being inconsistent again. Not a few days ago you were complaing that Martin's tag line was racist because he wanted to nuke the Knesset. Then you opined that Israel was not a "racially based" state. We went over this point that if Israel is not a "racially based state" then nuking its parliment could not be racist.

Now you are at it again. Israel is either a racially based state, or it is not. If it is not, boycotting Israeli academics could not be racist, since it includes any academic from Israel. regardless of race.

Staying logically consistent on these issues would be really helpful. It is begining to look like you just pick and choose convenient arguements to support your pre-determined biases, from an entirely emotive standpoint.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Cueball wrote:
I am still trying to figure out why some people think its ok to ban Soccer players from international competitions, but not ok to ban "academics" from going to conferences. Its as simple as that.

National athletic teams are official representatives of their given country. As a Canadian academic teaching abroad, I am not an official representative of Canada or its government. I am an individual conducting research and teaching students. Nor does the fact that I am on faculty of a public university in the states make me a representative of either the United States or teh Commonwealth of Virginia. My country of birth, the passport i hold, the school that employs me and even my viewpoints on things other than my chosen field of study have absolutely nothing to do with whether I should be allowed to teach, conduct research, study, etc.

Strawman, we are talking about academics who are presently working at Israeli universities.

Parsing the definition of what institutions "represent" their respective countries is just double talk. Individual South African athletes were also boycotted, such as tennis players, not just members of quasi-offical associations.

And most sports associations are only "quasi-official." There association with their host government is a result of the fact that they are officially monitored by the government, and, at least in part, supported financially by the government, nothing more. That more or less sums up the relationship between most universities, and their host country.

South African sports associations were not state organs per se.

Cueball Cueball's picture

saga wrote:
[However, I fully expect to be morphologically tarred and feathered  for even suggesting whatever the fuck it is that you said I said, that I did not.

Sorry, I appreciated your intervention, and I meant "you" more figuratively than specifically in this case.

Star Spangled C...

Cueball, when an athlete competes in an international sporting event like, say, the Olympics, they are obviously representing their country, whether they play a team sport like soccer or an individual one like tennis. Canadian tennis players at the olympics are still part of "Team Canada." They wear a Canadian uniform. They participate in opening and closing ceremonies as representatives of their country. Should they win a medal, their country's flag is raised and their national anthem played.

When I'm in my classroom or lab, I don't have a Canadian flag emblazoned on my chest and when I speak at a conference, I don't enter to the sound of the Canadian national anthem. (Nor, obviously, does an Israeili prof).  In fact, given that none of my degrees are from a Canadian school and I don't teach in one, my citizenship is utterly meaningless to my professional conduct.

You're correct that universities are financially supported by governments. I, for one, am rather happy about that and imagine msot academics and students, alike, are as well. But, again, that's not the issue. It's one of consistency. If you oppose the war agaisnt Afghanistan, why not ban Canadian academics? I'd venture to say that Canadian academia's ties to the canadian military is jsut as close as the situation is in israel. There's an entire university in Kingston directly affiliated with canada's military and graduates its students as military officers.

Cueball Cueball's picture

More double talk. We are not just talking about the Commonwealth games or the Olympics. We are talking about most every professional and amateur sporting event. Rugby, for example is not an Olympic sport. But white South African Rugby players were barred.

Most professional Rugby players don't wear their national flag on their Jersey either. And again, you are not presently working at a Canadian university. How many times do we have to repeat that the ban would be against academics on staff at Israeli universities?

Basically those academics who are on the state payroll.

How far are you willing to go with this obfuscation and distortion?

Star Spangled C...

Also, it's interesting that you used tennis as an analogy, cueball because i actually DID play competitive tennis. I was never good enough to compete internationally but, had I been, and been on the Canadian National Tennis Team, when i travelled to international competitions, it would ahve been pretty clear that I was there as a representative of Canada...at least of Tennis Canada. On the other hand, the last time I presented at an international symposium was in Ireland, where I presented a paper on diagnostic issues in soft-tissue muscle injuries (I'll send it to you if you're experiencing sleep troubles). When I presented that paper, can you reasonably argue, that I was doing so as any sort of official representative of Canada simply because i travelled there on a Canadian passport? Was I representing America because that's where I live and teach and received funding from? Representing Virginia, my state of residence? Were my views on soft tissue muscle injuries the official position of any government? Of course not. I wasn't even representing the University of Virginia in any official capacity...which is NOT true of when, as an undergrad, I played on teh UVA tennis team and WAS representing the school in an official capacity at tournaments.

Star Spangled C...

Cueball wrote:

 How many times do we have to repeat that the ban would be against academics on staff at Israeli universities?

Basically those academics who are on the state payroll.

How far are you willing to go with this obfuscation and distortion?

Because being on teh state payroll is a non-issue and a smokescreen. The entire premise of 'academic freedom" is that people don't interfere in academic research regardless of whether it's at a state-funded or "private" university. I teach and research at a public university. That doesn't mean that my publications can be construed as representing the government that funds my institution. To say that it bans academics on the state payroll means ANY academic at a public university.

I previously put "private" in quotation amrks because, in reality, there are few truly "private" universities in North America anyways (I don't know aobut israel). Even "private" schools like Harvard receive signigicant government funding, whether it be in terms of grants, research contracts, federal or state awards, students receiving federal or state scholarships or receiving government loans, etc. If your university is affiliated with a hospital as mine and many other are and you treat patients on Medicaid or Medicare, you are getting government funding. Being on faculty at such an institution does not make one an "agent" or "representative" of any government. Otherwise, we can only presume that Noam Chomsky is an official agenct of the Bush administration and should penalized for Bush's actions because he's on faculty at a university that receives government funding.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I can reasonably argue that you are a representative of the institution for which you work, and that your presence at international events enhances their reptuation and influence in precisely the same manner that sports professional do when they compete internationally. Therefore, if your employer is funded by an organization or state that is engaging in war crimes, I can reasonably argue that sanctioning you is sanctioning the person who pays your bills, in precisely the same manner that sports professional do when they compete internationally.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I can reasonably argue that you are a representative of the institution for which you work, and that your presence at international events enhances their reptuation and influence in precisely the same manner that sports professional do when they compete internationally. Therefore, if your employer is funded by an organization or state that is engaging in war crimes, I can reasonably argue that sanctioning you is sanctioning the person who pays your bills, in precisely the same manner that sports professional do when they compete internationally.

Noam Chomsky would be required to publically distance himself from the actions of his employer in order to avoid such a ban. Naturally in his case he does this anyway, as a matter of course, on a rgualr basis.

Star Spangled C...

Cueball wrote:
I can reasonably argue that you are a representative of the institution for which you work, and that your presence at international events enhances their reptuation and influence in precisely the same manner that sports professional do when they compete internationally. Therefore, if your employer is funded by an organization or state that is engaging in war crimes, I can reasonably argue that sanctioning you is sanctioning the person who pays your bills, in precisely the same manner that sports professional do when they compete internationally.

Well, I teach at a university that receives funding from the U.S. government which many would argue has engaged in war crimes. Would denying me a speaking spot at a conference (on medicine and nothing to do with foreign policy) be a sanction of the U.S. government? If yes, then why not apply this standard to me and not jsut Israelis?

You said that you can reasonably argue that I am a representative of the institution for which I work. Fair enough. Does that, therefore, make Noam Chomsky a representative of MIT? Should his views on the Middle East be taken as offically representative of MIT and, by extention, the government that provides considerable funding to MIT?

Cueball Cueball's picture

It is irrelevant, except in as much as his public statements would allieviate himself from the ban, by opposing the actions that are being opposed.

Other than that the views of the individuals is irrelevant, since the boycott is aimed at the institution and its representatives.

Michelle

Long thread.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Well, I teach at a university that receives funding from the U.S. government which many would argue has engaged in war crimes. Would denying me a speaking spot at a conference (on medicine and nothing to do with foreign policy) be a sanction of the U.S. government? If yes, then why not apply this standard to me and not jsut Israelis?

Because if we had waited for all human injustice everywhere to be stamped out until boycotting Aparthed South Africa, the boycott might never come into existence. Notably, your arguement is precisely one of the main ones used by appologist for South African Apartheid, when argueing against the boycott.

I agree that it is not entirely fair, and that you very much deserve a boycott, but one thing at a time eh?Wink

We will get to you and the USA all in due time. But right now we are breaking off the roots of the imperialist tree, one root at a time, starting with the overtly racist and militarist colonial projects such as Apartheid Israel.

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