Citizen Action Monitor

University of Waterloo student group’s call for severing ties with Israeli universities draws Israel Lobby bullying

Tell bullies to butt out — Support the students by signing petition to Waterloo U president.

No 1531 Posted by fw, December 5, 2015

Joanne Naiman

Joanne Naiman

“I was very excited to learn this week that a group of students at the University of Waterloo (UW) recently submitted a petition with over 4000 signatures to the university’s Federation of Students. It calls on them to hold a referendum asking the undergraduate student body if they support severing ties with Israeli academic institutions found to be complicit in the violation of Palestinians’ human rights. Organized by a group calling itself Ethical Collaboration UW, the petition passed the threshold of 10 per cent of student signatures needed to trigger a referendum required by the Federation of Students bylaws. …. The students of UW are now asking others to show their support for the original petition by signing on to this new one.”Joanne Naiman, Independent Jewish Voices (IJV)

As a friend of IJV Canada, I received Joanne’s email yesterday. It is reposted below,

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The Israel Lobby is bullying students again — help the students push back! email from Independent Jewish Voices Canada, December 4, 2015

Dear Friend,

Gaza Massacre

Israel’s Gaza massacre of 2014– which included the flattening of the neighbourhood of Shuja’iyya (above), murdering 90 Palestinians — was supported by Israel’s academic institutions.

I was very excited to learn this week that a group of students at the University of Waterloo (UW) recently submitted a petition with over 4000 signatures to the university’s Federation of Students. It calls on them to hold a referendum asking the undergraduate student body if they support severing ties with Israeli academic institutions found to be complicit in the violation of Palestinians’ human rights. Organized by a group calling itself Ethical Collaboration UW, the petition passed the threshold of 10 per cent of student signatures needed to trigger a referendum required by the Federation of Students bylaws.

Give them justice

Israel’s discriminatory system of collective punishment prevents West Bank Palestinians from accessing their universities. Not only do Israeli universities refuse to condemn this — they provide research to perpetuate it!

The petition focuses on various forms of discrimination faced by Palestinian students in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. This includes obstructions for Palestinians created by checkpoints, roadblocks, the closure of cities and the separation barrier, as well as restrictions on scholarships and participation in on-campus activities for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

If you support them, sign this letter petition of external support for their campaign now!

It is really heartening for me to see the large number of students who supported this petition, the obvious result of the hard work carried out by the student group initiating it. These are clearly not the “apathetic young people” we often hear about in public and private discourse.

The Israel lobby is trying to intimidate the principled and courageous students active in Students for Palestinian Rights who have dared to stand up for human rights and justice.

Not surprisingly, the Israel lobby group CIJA [Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs] has already started mobilizing against this student campaign, by putting pressure on the administration to oppose the initiative and describing the organizers and supporters of this initiative as “fringe activists”, despite the fact the campaign has received support from several campus groups including the Aboriginal Students Association and the Muslim Students Association.

Help the students push back against CIJA’s bullying tactics by sending a clear message of support to the UW administration through this petition, which was initiated by Ethical Collaboration UW.

As I wrote in an earlier piece on campus organizing for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, the Lobby’s absurd labels are nothing more than heavy-handed attempts to shut down legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies on university campuses across North America. Their efforts are a sign of their growing desperation. Their aim, of course, is to keep folks from actually listening to these criticisms or examining the facts of the situation for themselves.

Will you join the students at UW in responding to this attempt to shut down student participation in the democratic process and engagement in open debate? The students of UW are now asking others to show their support for the original petition by signing on to this new one.

Please take a moment to sign it now!

In Solidarity,

Joanne Naiman
Independent Jewish Voices – Vancouver

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