All Posts Tagged With: "Gaza"
Student group seems distracted and afraid of transparency
What do the War of 1812, the Israel-Gaza conflict and bottled water have in common? They are causes the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) decided, on the closing evening of the semi-annual general meeting (AGM), to campaign about. How odd for organization that’s supposed to be focused on student issues.
During that Nov. 30 meeting in Ottawa, the CFS voted to organize letter-writing campaigns against the Harper government’s representation of 1812 and its opposition to Palestine’s observer status at the United Nations. This came after hours of debate on transparency and openness—two areas the CFS would do well to improve on. Some of the measures that would improve openness and transparency were, unfortunately, rejected.
The Canadian Federation of Students, funded by mandatory student fees from dozens of universities and colleges, is meant to represent students on issues like tuition. The fact that these non-student (albeit important) issues take up so much of their time shows the CFS may have lost its way. Worse, students may have no idea what the CFS is up to because it seems to fear transparency.
How UofMosaic is tackling tensions on campus
A group called Laurier 4 Palestine (L4P) tacked up illustrated posters in the atrium of Wilfrid Laurier University’s main building in Waterloo, Ont. during Israeli Apartheid Week, earlier this month.
One was of a gaunt and lifeless body beneath a barbed-wire fence with an Arab keffiyeh around his neck and wearing a striped uniform. The juxtaposition of the keffiyeh and the stripes ignited a war of words between Muslim L4P members and Jewish students from Hillel Waterloo. It was the type of uniform that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust, says Hillel Waterloo director Jessica Kronis. The poster implied that the occupation of Gaza is comparable to the genocide that killed six-million Jews. Kronis says it made Jewish students feel unsafe.
Scholarship money provided by U.S. Department of State
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza is upset that the Hamas-controlled government has stopped eight students from travelling to the U.S. to study on scholarships.
The Minister of Education told the 15- to 17-year-olds, who had received funding through the U.S. Department of State, that they can not leave the country because of “social and cultural reasons.”
“This decision means that a number of our best students will be deprived of benefiting from scholarships to study abroad while we are in a dire need to communicate with the outside world,” said PCHR in a press release, adding “it is neither acceptable nor logical that … we impose illegal restrictions on the enjoyment of the right to education and the right to freedom of movement.”
The Youth Exchange and Study Program scholarship recipients would have lived with host families, attended U.S. high schools and participated in community service, youth leadership training, civics classes and other workshops for one year. Palestinians from Gaza have participated since 2003.
PCHR says they made an “intensive effort” to persuade the Minister to change his mind.
Hamas, which overthrew the Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007, is considered a terrorist organization by the Canadian government for having launched hundreds of terrorist attacks.
$13,000 spent on legal fees surrounding controversy over $700 donation
Following several months of controversy, UBC’s students’ union has finally approved a $700 donation towards the Canada Boat to Gaza, scheduled to sail at the end of March. The donation will be officially made by student group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) which receives its funding from a semi-autonomous students’ union resource centre.
After students complained about the donation in November, the students’ union had put a hold on the funds when the vice-president finance reasoned the donation should be brought to student council. Council later approved the donation, but a stipulation was included mandating the union investigate possible ties to terrorism.
An email to the VP finance, from Fintrac, an organization that investigates terrorist funding, has now quieted any lingering suspicions about terrorist links. “Fintrac does not maintain a list of organizations, charities or non-profit groups that are in good standing. It will not verify or evaluate groups about which you requested information,” the email read.
The Ubyssey reports that $13,000 has been spent on legal fees related to the $700 donation.