All Posts Tagged With: "Israel"
Big ideas from Switzerland, Tennessee, Israel and Australia
Canada has fallen behind or is at risk of falling behind other countries in education and training if we don’t get our act together. That was a common theme at two conferences last week in Toronto, one hosted by The Conference Board of Canada, which is developing a Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education, and the other by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, a provincial agency that does research and offers policy advice to government. Speakers from several countries offered innovative ideas worth considering. Here are four of the most intriguing.
Switzerland streams into vocations
The Swiss government encourages apprenticeships and, unlike in Canada, 40 per cent of companies take them on. Many high school students are streamed into vocations starting at age 11 or 12 and are in factories or offices getting job experience by 15 or 16. “In Canada, if you have a university degree you’re somebody [but] vocational not so much,” said Urs Obrist, an Embassy of Switzerland expert who spoke at the CBOC conference. In Switzerland, he said, people accept that, “some horses are work horses, some are show jumpers and some are race horses.” However, the system is flexible enough that “late bloomers” can change streams. He pointed out that Switzerland has a very low youth unemployment rate. In 2012, 8.4 per cent of Swiss aged 15 to 24 were unemployed, the second lowest among 33 rich countries. Canada was 12th at 14.3 per cent.
There’s enough to worry about right there on campus
Sean Wilson, a board member of the University of Regina Students’ Union, says that student leaders should be focused on things like tuition, residences and public transit. Recently, they’ve often been focused on the Middle East instead. Not on those killed by their own government in Syria, the sexual minorities mistreated by Iran or women subjugated by Saudi Arabia. No, they’ve been debating whether to join such international power brokers as Lenny Kravitz and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland in their commitments to not buy Israeli products or host Israeli academics.
Big deal right? I would argue yes, and not just because these student unions are taking sides.
What students are talking about today (April 5th)
1. A new database from the Vancouver Sun shows the salaries of all public sector employees in British Columbia who earned more than $75,000 in 2011-12. The University of British Columbia dominates the first few pages of the post-secondary salaries section. Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, was the highest paid at $531,088. The University of Victoria’s David Turpin was the second-highest-paid president on the list (and fifth overall) at $430,760. Simon Fraser University’s Andrew Petter took home $396,837. The University of Northern British Columbia’s George Iwama made $273,488. Ontario’s public salary disclosure recently revealed that the highest paid president in that province is Amit Chakma of Western University, who earned $479,600 plus benefits in 2012.
2. Montreal police are defending the decision to charge a 20-year-old student protester with criminal harassment after she posted an image of graffiti on Instagram. The image Jennifer Pawluck shared showed police spokesperson Ian Lafreniere with bullet hole in his head. The arrest drew outrage along the lines of, “arrested for taking a photo!?” Police say there’s more to the story.
Jewish students say they’re victims of discrimination
This decision was made during a meeting called by the YFS’ executive members on March 21, when a motion was put forth to endorse the campaign, resulting in a vote of 18-2 in favour.
Approximately 200 undergraduate students attended the meeting.
Safiyah Husein, vice-president equity of the YFS, says the movement is a form of “international solidarity with the Palestinian call for justice, equality, and an end to the occupation,” that, “puts pressure on institutions to divest from companies currently funding weaponry for the Israeli military.”
More than 5,000 students signed a petition asking the YFS to discuss the BDS issue, says Husein.
What students are talking about today (March 14th)
1. Here’s a reminder of how student governments in the United States have much different concerns than our own. The student congress of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently changed the rules to make it harder for campus gun clubs to use student money to buy ammunition, reports Mother Jones. Following high-profile mass shootings on campuses, a number of states have passed laws preventing concealed guns on campus. More controversially, others, like Colorado and Utah, have laws that require colleges to allow concealed weapons.
2. Student newspapers across Canada, from The Argosy at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick to The Meliorist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta are publishing odes to St. Patrick, whose holiday for Irish Canadians and those who drink too much is coming up on Sunday. Meanwhile, Western University, in the town that hosted the famous St. Patty’s Day Riot last March, is offering some tips. Some are no brainers, like, have a plan of how you’ll get home (transit? taxi?) and don’t leave drinks unattended. More interesting are the reminders from Campus Police that keg parties are illegal, that drinking underage can lead to $125 tickets and that London’s new Nuisance Party Bylaw means rowdy hosts can face $500 fines. The lesson? Go to someone else’s party.
Prof. Pettigrew on why universities can’t divest
Here, Cape Breton University Professor Todd Pettigrew argues that divesting from “unethical” companies isn’t as easy as activists make it sound. After reading his commentary, check out Torrance Coste’s argument in favour of divestment.
I served, for a brief time, on the Board of Governors of Cape Breton University, and one thing I did during that period was speak in favour of looking into ethical investments. After all, we know from the proverbs that money talks. So if we are talking with our money, why not have it say something important?
Ethical investing, I argued at the time, seemed all the more urgent in the context of university education. If we are trying to teach our students to think critically, shouldn’t we ask tough questions about scholarship endowments and pension funds? Should we give scholarship funds to a student studying, let’s say, social justice, and then tell that student not to worry where that money came from?
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.
Concert would “deeply offend”
Tel Aviv University will not permit a scheduled Richard Wagner concert to take place on its campus after angry protests, reports Haaretz. A university spokesperson chastised the show’s organizer, Attorney Yonathan Livni, saying that the performance would “deeply offend the Israeli public in general and Holocaust survivors in particular.” Livni is the founder of the Israel Wagner Society. Wagner, a nineteeth century composer, espoused anti-Semitic views and was a favorite of Adolf Hitler, the German chancellor who led the Holocaust that killed six-million Jews during World War II.
STEM students will get $60,000 each
Seymour Schulich, who already has several Canadian schools named for him, has announced he has donated $100-million to fund scholarships in Canada and Israel, reports Shalom Life.
The Schulich Leader Scholarships are meant to increase enrollment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, in order to spur innovation.
All graduating high school and CEGEP students in Canada and Israel who are planning to study STEM subjects may apply. Each winner will receive $60,000 over four years. Five Israeli and 20 Canadian Universities will award one scholar each in the first year of the program. After that it will grow 75 awards per year. United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto will administer the cash.
Schulich, a business leader, has already made donations that have resulted in the following things named for him: a medical and dentistry school at the University of Western Ontario, a library and a school of music at McGill University, a law school at Dalhousie University, an engineering school at the University of Calgary, an education school at Nipissing University and a business school at York University.
Nick Day faced impeachment after comments on Israel
Queen’s University Rector Nick Day, has resigned.
The news follows a March vote in which 72 per cent of undergraduate students recommended impeachment. Day had angered many when he wrote a letter on behalf of students to former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, who had denounced Israeli Apartheid Week as a “dangerous cocktail of ignorance and intolerance.”
In the letter, Day blasted Ignatieff for allegedly supporting a “genocide” against Palestinians.
He was never impeached, in part because the Society of Graduate and Professional students, who are also represented by the rector, had chosen not to participate in Alma Mater Society vote and instead moved to “Support Academic Freedom and Queen’s University Rector Nick Day.”
They were forced to hold their own referendum when more than 10 per cent of graduate and professional students signed a petition in favour of one. Among those voted, 44 per cent wanted Day removed and 56 did not.*
Day said that he regretted signing the letter with his official title.
This post has been updated to add the results of the SGPS referendum.
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.
Some students oppose $5-million gift to university
Concordia University made it official Wednesday that it will house the Azrieli Instiute of Israel Studies on campus.
The ethnically-diverse Montreal school has often been a flash-point between pro-Jewish and pro-Palestinian students. That makes it unsurprising that some students are opposed to the $5-million gift to start the school, which was donated by developer David Azrieli.
Self-described social justice advocate Rushdia Mehreen wrote an opinion piece for campus newspaper The Link in which she opposed the institute on the grounds that it “effectively strengthens links between the university and Israel, a state in constant breach of international law.” She noted that Professor Eric Shragge, from the school of community and public affairs, plus the feminism- and social justice-focused Simone de Beauvoir Institute also oppose the institute.
But one of the institute’s founders says that the institute “is not about the politics.” Instead, co-director and religious studies professor Norma Joseph told the Montreal Gazette that ”it’s about the study of a geographic area — its culture, its history, its economics, its diversity, even its food.”
She added that she believes institute will bring together Jewish and Muslim students, possibly preventing conflicts like the 2002 riots that caused the cancellation of a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Understanding eliminates conflict,” says Joseph.
Lex Gill, president of the Concordia Student Union, told The Gazette that the institute’s creation is supported by faculty and students alike.
The new institute comes the same week that Yale University has announced it will create a new Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism.
That announcement followed criticism of Yale’s decision to close the Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) — a move that many supporters attributed to pressure from anti-Israeli groups, such as Palestinian Liberation Organization ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, who called the YIISA’s scholars “anti-Arab extremists.”
The Azrieli Instiute of Israel Studies will be the third such project Canada. There are Israeli Studies institutes at the University of Toronto and at The University of Calgary.
Group wants university to divest itself of companies that hold relations with Israel
A board of governors meeting at Carleton University was canceled Tuesday night due to a protest of more than 200. The protest, which partially blocked access to the meeting room, was organized in part by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA). According to SAIA members, the demonstration was a response to the university’s refusal to permit students to attend the meeting to debate a motion calling on Carleton to divest itself from companies that hold relations with Israel. The student motion, which targeted pension funds, was not included in the agenda, the administration says, because pension investments have already been reviewed and a policy was adopted in the fall that states “environmental, social and governance factors should be considered in investment decision-making.”
Ben-Gurion University accused of being complicit in oppression of Palestinians
The University of Johannesburg, in South Africa, has become the first institution to cut ties with an Israeli university. A 25 year relationship with Ben-Gurion University was severed after after the UJ’s senate debated the question for two hours on Wednesday. In a secret ballot 60 per cent of senators voted for the academic boycott, though professors will still be permitted to retain ties with Ben-Gurion on an individual basis. The move follows a petition, signed by more than 400 South Africans, to end formal ties over concerns that Israeli universities are complicit in military action taken against Palestinians. One of the signatories to the petition was Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who argued recently that “Israeli universities are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice.”
Demand universities divest from companies “involved in violations of Palestinian human rights”
On Monday March 7, the first day of Israeli Apartheid Week in Toronto, Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) at the University of Toronto announced the official launch of its joint Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] campaign with SAIA at York University.
Making brief reference to a similar campaign going on at Carleton University, SAIA U of T announced the new campaign, demanding that the university divest from four companies, claiming that “current investments in these four companies suggests it is complacent in war crimes.”
BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin were identified as contributors to “violations of international law by the Israeli state,” and named as the target of the York/U of T campaign.
According to SAIA’s research, the University of Toronto holds $1,746,000 and $1,157,000 worth of shares in BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman respectively. (Figures for Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin were unknown.)
Students are demanding that the universities divest from the four companies and refrain from investing in other companies that are “involved in violations of international law.”
The petition demands are posted below.
We, the undersigned, demand that:
(1) The University of Toronto and York University divest from and refuse to reinvest in BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin;
(2) The University of Toronto and York University refrain from investing in all companies involved in violations of international law. With respect to Palestine, this entails following the guidelines put forth by Students for Justice in Palestine in the historic divestment by Hampshire College:
The University of Toronto and York University should refrain from investing in companies that:
a) Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance of the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights;
b) Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;
c) Establish facilities or operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;
d) Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and construction of the Wall;
e) Provide products or services that contribute to violent acts that target either Israeli or Palestinian civilians.
Rebuffs Liberal leader’s condemnation of Israel Apartheid Week, saying Israel is guilty of genocide
Remember the Queen’s University rector who used a Remembrance Day address to air his own political pet peeves?
Well it seems Rector Nick Day is back at it. After Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff recently released a statement condemning Israeli Apartheid Week, which is taking place on Canadian and international campuses this week, Day released some words of his own, calling Ignatieff’s statement “deeply unethical” in a note posted on his Facebook page and sent to Rabble.ca.
UPDATE: Queen’s Rector faces impeachment
In his letter to the Liberal leader, Day does make some fair points about the right to hold open dialogue on the Israel/Palestine issue, but also delves into his own personal position on the issue, arguing that Israel “operates a discriminatory judicial system in Palestine” and is the perpetrator of “perhaps the biggest human rights tragedy of my generation.” (Was the Rwandan genocide last generation?)
He goes on to slam Ignatieff’s original statement, cautioning the Liberal leader that if he continues to condemn “critique of the genocide happening in Palestine, you and the party you lead are complicit in that genocide.”
Curiously, he also adds:
I was elected to represent the approximately 20,000 students of Queen’s University. If I ever used the influence of my office and the power of my public voice, as you have [. . .] I would have a very difficult time sleeping at night.
Shall we play “Spot the Irony?”
Nick Day has every right to hold any political position he desires, and the freedom to express his opinions openly. The problem, though, is when he signs his name as “rector,” he no longer just speaks for himself. And when speaking for 20,000 students, it is negligent and unjust to take a strong position on an issue that is so politically divisive.
Day could’ve sent the exact same letter in response to Michael Ignatieff’s statement. But instead of signing it, “Nick Day, Rector,” he should have signed it, “Nick Day, student.”
Peto says she was attacked for being a ‘pro-Palestinian activist’
Jenny Peto has broken her silence on her controversial master’s thesis in which she attempts to prove that Holocaust education is used as a subversive method of indoctrination to justify Israeli apartheid.
Peto’s paper, “The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education,” has garnered international attention for claiming that two Holocaust remembrance programs are essentially instruments of Zionist propaganda. Major news outlets picked up on the story and Peto’s paper was even debated in provincial legislature last month. Many slammed “The Victimhood of the Powerful” for supposedly spreading hateful messages, and others, including myself, decried the sorry state of academic affairs at U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) for awarding a master’s degree to a polemic riddled with unsubstantiated claims and wild extrapolations.
But according to Jenny Peto, who sat down with The Varsity to discuss the recent backlash, her paper was attacked simply because she was purporting unpopular ideas. “I think that this is about who I am as a pro-Palestinian activist and what I have to say,” she said, “which is very critical of Israel, very critical of mainstream pro-Israel institutions in Canada, and critical of what I see as an abuse of Holocaust memory to justify Israeli apartheid.” In other words, all of that talk of misleading claims and spreading hate was really just a guise for mainstream intolerance of pro-Palestinian ideas. I know; this whole thing is doused with concepts of the subliminal and subversive—just try to keep up.
Peto also defends her decision not to interview a single person affiliated with the two Holocaust remembrance programs central to her paper. She uses countless secondary sources to back her opinion that the March of Remembrance and Hope (MRH) and the March of the Living (MOL) instill a sense of victimhood in their participants and/or reinforce the uniqueness of the Holocaust, though none of her secondary sources directly reference the trips. Peto’s only sources of information specific to the programs in question are the pictures and testimonials on their websites. But it’s OK, she says, because no one else really does interviews anyway.
At a master’s level, very, very few people do huge human subject research, because you can’t just interview one or two people. [It's] the kind of research project that some PhD students, but mostly only faculty members with research assistants, undertake.
It’s a completely valid methodology and it’s completely acceptable, especially in the era of the Internet, to rely on publicly available information, such as websites, and doing a discursive analysis.
Perhaps it’s acceptable to omit human subject research for topics that–you know–don’t specifically require testimony as to what participants are being told once they get off the website and on the airplane. Or on the bus. Or walking through Auschwitz. None of that information is available through MRH’s or MOL’s website. And while it may not be typical of a master’s thesis to incorporate wide-spectrum interviews, it should certainly never be acceptable for a master’s thesis to be based on speculation, an unfortunate characteristic of Peto’s paper.
Why pay tribute to war veterans when you can make divisive political statements instead?
Today is Remembrance Day, where citizens across the nation pay our respects to the men and women who have served for Canada. Many people wear poppies as silent tribute to the war dead, pause for a minute of silence, and deliver ceremonial addresses in honour of Canada’s veterans. In some areas of the nation, however, these addresses tend to stray just a smidgen from the main point. Yup, just a smidgen. And on to campus . . .
Nick Day, Queen’s University’s student rector who has been elected to represent student views on social and financial matters to the university, delivered his laundry list of political talking points Remembrance Day address this morning at a Queen`s university-wide ceremony. Day began by telling the audience how his grandfather served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, fondly recalling passed-down war memories contained in an old, cracked cigar box. And then, according to the transcript Day posted on his Facebook page, he diverted:
The armies of the developed world have an unprecedented technological ability to create death.
What? Did you miss something? Maybe you were fiddling with your red poppy, you jingoistic, war-glorifier you.
I believe [my grandfather] would have a lot to say about several things that, in today’s fragmented world, are left unsaid. He would certainly speak up about the continuing violence done to the First Nations of Canada, who are plagued by disproportionate poverty, crime and incarceration, poor health, and who are disproportionately also the victims of violent crimes.
Day goes on to lament global inaction during the Rwandan genocide, and the so-called “international silence” on Palestinian human rights. (Understandable—perhaps the glare from someone’s white poppy was blocking out most UN declarations on Palestinian issues from the past several decades.) Day finishes off by with a quick stab at the Israeli Defense Force, exaltation of Romeo Dallaire, and then back to his grandfather.
Remembrance Day is a time to honour and remember the nobility of the principles defended by the brave citizens of Canada who have come before us. To honour those principles today, I think, requires us to recognize and stand against the atrocities committed at home and abroad.
In order to truly honour the sacrifices of those who fought for justice, we are now required to speak about new forms of injustice, perhaps ones that are harder to see, harder to recognize, that punctuate the lives of the many abused people of this planet.
No, Mr. Day. In order to truly honour the sacrifices of those who fought for justice, one has to actually deliver more than a line or two about those who fought for justice.
Unfortunately, crass and opportunistic hijacking of public addresses is becoming somewhat of a theme on university campuses. Last month, University of Winnipeg valedictorian Erin Larson used her convocation address to slam Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Her divisive political statements came off as ill-timed, to say the least, but Day may have taken the cake with this one.
Divisive political points have no place in a Remembrance Day address. A ceremony intended to honour the memory of war veterans should do exactly that. To deliberately look the other way demonstrates an inordinate lack of gratefulness towards previous generations, something for which I, as a member of this younger generation, am personally ashamed. Next year, I should hope Day and like-minded individuals wait until the 12th to clear their social consciences.
To avoid lawsuit, union leadership immediately voids vote
According to this story in the Guardian today, United Kingdom lecturers have overwhelmingly voted to boycott Israeli universities and colleges, saying that Israeli academics have been complicit in their government’s actions against Palestinians.
However, as soon as the vote passed it was declared void by the leadership of the University and College Union. Lawyers for the powerful union, which represents more than 120,000 academics, advised them to do so in order to avoid a lawsuit.
According to the Guardian, lecturers voted for a “boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign” against Israeli schools in protest against the country’s policies in the occupied territories, and also last January’s incursion into Gaza.
The vote was carried at the union’s annual congress, and was the ninth time the contentious issue has arisen at the meeting.
However, lecturers remain divided on the issue. The University of Brighton’s Tom Hickey, who put forward one of two motions, called on lecturers to “reflect on the moral and political appropriateness of collaboration with Israeli educational institutions”.
Whereas Sheffeld Hallam University’s Camilla Bassi said a boycott wouldn’t help anyone, and would be part of an “anti-Jewish movement” when what is really needed is more links between Israelis and Palestinians.
Upholding the right of others to say something doesn’t mean you agree with them
The following opinion was designed to be published in The McMaster Silhouette and is tailored to that audience.
Reading week is over, which means many campuses are dealing with Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).
It’s a tough issue to grasp, especially when the truth is so subjective. This year, it is even tougher after the fighting in Gaza this winter and apparent election of a right-wing coalition government by the Israelis.
Emotions are still running high, and not just on campuses. I write this from Doha, Qatar where I’m presently on assignment. Reading the English language newspapers here, one immediately realizes just how important the Palestinian crisis is to the region. On Feb. 25, stories about Gaza were on the front page of both the city’s English-language newspapers.
Interest groups on both sides of the debate have increased their pressure on universities following last year’s incident at McMaster University. For both sides, the decision to impose a community standard on advertising for Israeli Apartheid Week was seen as a significant event.
For the pro-Israeli side, they saw action against an event they believe inspires hate against their country. Some even call it anti-Semitic. The pro-Israel lobby was galvanized to pressure universities to end Israeli Apartheid Week.
The pro-Palestinian side of the debate saw this as a threat to their cause and were galvanized to organize a rally at McMaster University, which resulted in a police investigation to see if the hate crime provisions of the Criminal Code were violated. The Crown decided there was not enough evidence to meet the high bar set for hate speech.
Both sides completely missed the point; but they often do. Whenever I write on the debate, I receive dozens, if not hundreds of emails and even phone calls from people on both sides. My favourites are the ones that accuse me of being Islamophobic or anti-Semitic. The issue was not IAW: it was the individual poster.
This year, a couple of universities have acted to impose restrictions on advertisements promoting IAW. Many universities are citing the decision of McMaster University last year.
Carleton University banned a poster showing a cartoon depicting a helicopter with the word Israel firing a missile on a child wearing Palestinian grab.
While the poster is provocative, it does not reach the level that the banned McMaster IAW did last year. There is no depiction of blood, the Israeli flag is not used and there is no graphical representation that could be seen to depict Judaism as a whole. Carleton should have allowed the poster.
IAW does have a place on a university campus. While I disagree with the choice of methods used by organizers of IAWs on various campuses, the academy has a responsibility to uphold free speech. Upholding the right of others to say something doesn’t mean you agree with them.
Extremists on both sides often forget who they hope to persuade: the people, like me and you, who are in the middle. It was only recently that someone managed to get me to reassess my position on the conflict. Instead of over-the-top chants and propaganda, she asked me to watch a video hosted by Google and to look further into the issue.
There is plenty of wrong that has been done by both sides in the Middle East; there is plenty of wrong here. By engaging in overly provocative graphic advertising, IAW organizers end up hurting their cause. By asking universities to ban IAW, the pro-Israel lobby hurt their cause.
Both sides need to realize they are not achieving their goals with their present methods.
No side gets exclusive claim to being the victim. They are attacking each other.
The Israeli/Palestinian debate is important and it belongs on our campuses. I only wish true academics would take up the issue and organize proper discussions. I understand why they don’t, and lament the cowardly state of the academy in our country.