Citizen Action Monitor

My response to a letter to the editor re BDS referendum at U of Windsor

Windsor Star stirs the pot of controversy

No 999 Posted by fw, March 7, 2014

Just to recap, a recently held BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) referendum, sponsored by the University of Windsor Palestinian Solidarity Group (PSG) has sparked controversy in the pages of the Windsor Star throughout this week.

In today’s edition, a letter to the editor of the Windsor Star is reproduced in full, absent the author’s name. Below that is my letter in response.

*****

Students misled

Re: Students OK controversial referendum, by Rebecca Wright, March 3.

The vote to boycott and divest from Israel is not just antiZionism, it is the new antiSemitism.

How sad that you had to pay so much tuition to be induced to hate. I am saddened by what happened.

Students, you were poorly informed before you voted. For one thing, to come against Israel is to come against higher learning.

Since 1895, 193 Nobel Prizes or 22 per cent were given to Jews in the fields of literature, chemistry, economics, physics, world peace and medicine.

Also, if you are going to be true to your divestment, I would recommend that you never get sick — many medicines were discovered or invented by Israelis or Jews. For example: • Digitalis for heart disease: Ludwig Traube. • Novocaine, used for toothache: Widal and Weil. • Research into insulin for diabetes: research by Minkowsky. • Pyramidon and antypyrin used for headache: Spiro and Ellege • The proposed the use of chloral hydrate for convulsions: Oscar Leibreich. • Psychoanalysis: Freud, a Jew. • The “Schick” reaction for children with diphtheria: Bella Schick. • The treatment of ear and brain damage: Jewish Nobel Prize winner, Robert Baram. • Infantile paralysis: anti-polio vaccine: Jonas Salk.

The wonder drug streptomycin, the cure for tuberculosis: Zalman Waxman.

Oh, and by the way, don’t call for a doctor on your cellphone because the cellphone was invented in Israel by a Jewish engineer.

Students, we look to you as the leaders of tomorrow. Do not be misled by anyone who bullies or misinforms you and may peace return to the campus.

[Writer’s name omitted]

*****

My letter in response

If anyone is being misled in this brouhaha over the BDS referendum it is the readers of the Windsor Star by its ongoing pro-Israeli coverage of Israeli-Palestinian news, this week and over the years.

No one disputes that Israeli and Jewish scholars have made significant contributions to knowledge. But don’t be misled by this specious argument. It redirects attention away from the central issue: U of W’s Palestinian Solidarity Group’s sponsorship of a BDS referendum is a valid and ethical cause.

Moreover, don’t forget that Germany, a land of great scholars and intellectuals, also unleashed the Nazi monsters. Ah, the banality of evil.

Speaking of evil, readers are referred to two recent reports of Israeli military assaults on innocent Palestinians, reports of a kind that rarely if ever appear in the Windsor Star.

First, an Amnesty International Report titled “Trigger-Happy: Israel’s Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank.” The study records the mounting violence and human rights violations due to Israeli use of ‘unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force.’ Israel is now killing Palestinian civilians with impunity.

Second, on Jan 31, without warning, Israeli forces attacked two teenage Palestinians returning home from soccer practice. As they approached a checkpoint, the soldiers shot them repeatedly in the feet, unleashed attack dogs that mauled and dragged the boys, then the troops beat them, breaking their knees. (Source: “State Dept to ‘check out’ vicious attack on Palestinian athletes” by Annie Robbins of Mondoweiss).

Getting to the point: Against Israel’s military might — backed by US funding, spying intelligence, and military equipment — the non-violent BDS campaign is about the only tool Palestinians have to raise worldwide public awareness and, hopefully, to eventually win justice.

But if the Windsor Star has its way, Palestinian supporters at the University of Windsor may be denied even this tool. 

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2014 by in moral & ethical counterpower, student & youth counterpower and tagged , .
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