This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

York University's Anti-Israel Infamy

"The BDS movement is not only a boycott of of Israeli made products, but a boycott of the Jewish people and the Jewish culture. It is a means to isolate and alienate Jewish students and Jewish Professors on university campuses. Although the very idea of boycotting Israeli made medical technology, along with scores of Israeli made drugs and research innovations, is absolutely ludicrous, this has not prevented the BDS movement from proclaiming just that."

IDF uncovers Hamas attack tunnel inside Israeli territory

  • At York a number of people, both students and faculty members, criticize the State of Israel unfairly and incessantly. They have sometimes managed to take over the student government and some of the unions. They have no power to influence university policy but they can spread their calumnies about Israel and make Israel supporters feel uncomfortable.
  • The criticism of Israel can have antisemitic overtones. When people who have no particular connection to the Middle East obsessively criticize Israel and ignore human rights abuses in other countries it seems at a minimum plausible to think they may be antisemites. The border between fervent anti-Zionism and antisemitism is often porous.
  • Professors teaching a course unrelated to politics or to the Middle East sometimes use their courses as a bully pulpit to criticize Israel. Jewish students in these classes feel that they have no recourse but to listen and suffer in silence. After all, the professor is the one giving them a grade.   Professor Martin Lockshin, historian, Jewish biblical interpretation, York University

Pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian protestors face off at York University's Vari Hall
Pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian protestors face off at York University's Vari Hall FILE PHOTO
The reality of Israel is that it is and has always been under siege from 1948 forward to the present. Its presence in the Middle East, a tiny sliver of land perched within a huge enclave of hostile Arab forces representing nations governed and oppressed by tyrants, kingdoms, theocracies, oil sheikdoms all of which find the presence of a heritage Judaic democratic nation in their midst an assault against Islam represents a precarious perch. One concerted effort after another to militarily eject Israel from the Middle East has failed.

In its place once the futility of conventional armies converging on a state determined to protect itself proved itself time and again, the tactic turned to oil wealth buying loyalty and public relations ventures hugely dependent on latent anti-Semitism in the global community, along with Islamic influence blocs at the United Nations making common cause against Israel with the non-aligned nations bloc succeeding in slandering Israel, accusing it endlessly of human rights abuses, charges levelled by none other than human-rights-abusing nations.

York University in north Toronto has more Jewish students enrolled than any other university in Canada. The university has long been a stronghold of Jewish university opportunities and has graduated countless Jewish students who have gone on to enrich Canadian culture, business, arts and sciences. For the past decade, however, Jewish students have felt increasingly uncomfortable, unwelcome, targeted and threatened under crude assaults geared toward destroying Israel's legitimacy as a nation among nations.

York's reputation within the Jewish community has declined in lock-step with its failure to counteract such a crudely hostile climate where supporters of Israel feel themselves to be vulnerable to the all-too-obvious menace that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups have targeted them with. Canadian Muslim university students, pro-Palestinian leftist university student  unions have manipulated events at the university to continue a slander campaign and to threaten Jewish students.

From verbal assaults and physical intimidation leading to the blockading of Jewish students, to the endorsation of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, culminating in a large mural of a Palestinian demonstrator holding a rock behind his back in a purportedly Israeli setting with the scene recognized as a provocative glimpse of an intifada against the "occupying power", it is little wonder that Jewish students feel beleaguered and unprotected by the university administration.
This painting hangs in York University’s student centre, despite repeated complaints from Jewish students.
This painting hangs in York University’s student centre, despite repeated complaints from Jewish students

The president of York University, Mamdouth Shoukri, responded to repeated requests by the Jewish community and the university's students for remedial action by announcing the formation of a president's advisory committee to examine "effective methods to ensure inclusive, respectful exchanges of ideas, particularly on sensitive social and political issues". The committee membership however, has been revealed to be of no neutral value whatever in addressing the deliberate alienation of Jewish students on campus.

One committee member is a high profile BDS activist who had attempted to join a flotilla to Gaza, another signed an open letter to pressure President Shoukri to boycott Israel because of its "genocidal" intentions, yet another signed a 2013 petition accusing Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and that Canadian universities should cut ties with the Jewish state. Such tainted appointees simply point out that there is no serious intent to address the problem. Appointing committee members whose vocal anti-Israel biases expose them as part of the problem, stands out as a  hostile action in and of itself.

One that York University's administration and its president urgently need to address.

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