Citizen Action Monitor

Independent Jewish Voices weighs in on BDS Referendum at University of Windsor

IJV calls on university president not to pressure Students’ Alliance to withhold ratification of voting results

No 1005 Posted by fw, March 12, 2014

“The reaction of the university administration to the voting results of a student referendum is unfortunately predictable, as it has become commonplace for student-led initiatives for justice in Palestine to be quashed or silenced by various administrations in Canada.”Independent Jewish Voices

Before getting to the substance of IJV’s post, a word about Independent Jewish Voices (IJV).

Founded in 2008, Independent Jewish Voices – Canada is a national human rights organization whose mandate is to promote a just resolution to the dispute in Israel and Palestine through the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties.

Turning to IJV’s statement on the BDS Referendum, although it is recent, the statement does not reflect the latest pro and con discussion occurring primarily in the opinion pages of the Windsor Star and in the Comments section of its digital edition. Some of that discussion can also be found in recent posts on this blog, particularly in this March 11 post — Rebuttal to letter arguing U of Windsor BDS referendum violates Students’ Alliance constitution.

Nevertheless, a voice as important as IJV’s has a place in what has turned out to be a fractious conversation. To read IJV’s original post, and an accompanying interesting comment from a U of Windsor student, click on the following linked title. Below is a reposting of the article.

IJV Statement on BDS Referendum At University Of Windsor, March 10, 2014

Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) strongly supports the University of Windsor Student Alliance (UWSA) referendum on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and we call on university President Alan Wildeman to refrain from exerting any further pressure on the UWSA to withhold the ratification of the voting results.

The reaction of the university administration to the voting results of a student referendum is unfortunately predictable, as it has become commonplace for student-led initiatives for justice in Palestine to be quashed or silenced by various administrations in Canada. President Wildeman’s pressure on the UWSA to withhold the ratification of the voting results is reminiscent of Canadian university presidents banning the 2009 Israeli Apartheid Week poster on several Canadian campuses, and the University of Toronto’s recent banning of the group Students Against Israeli Apartheid for holding a protest the administration deemed to be ‘too loud.’ These examples only begin to scratch the surface of the level of intimidation, demonization, and discrimination directed at Palestine solidarity activists from university administrations across the country.

It is our understanding that this pattern of intimidation is reflective of a broader aversion amongst university administrations towards acknowledging Palestinian rights.  Palestinians’ human rights are seen by many university administrations as dispensable, while Israel’s ongoing and systematic crimes against the Palestinians are continuously justified. Wildeman’s attempts to silence legitimate student actions in support of divesting from companies that are complicit in war crimes committed against Palestinians is the most recent display of intimidation to silence dissent on  campus, and to discredit Palestinian non-violent efforts to gain visibility as human beings in the public arena.

IJV stands in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination by endorsing the BDS movement. The organization applauds the UWSA for bravely providing a democratic platform through which University of Windsor undergraduate students could choose to voice their opinion on this important moral issue. In the interests of academic freedom and freedom of expression, IJV encourages President Wildeman to respect the democratic process in place and to abstain from meddling further in UWSA student affairs.

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