Queen's Against the Call to Divest from Israel
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED MEMBERS OF THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY OF QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY, OPPOSE THE DISCRIMINATORY PROPOSAL OF VARIOUS GROUPS TO BOYCOTT ISRAELI ACADEMICS AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND TO DIVEST FROM ISRAEL AND/OR COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS IN ISRAEL. Singling out Israeli academics and institutions for boycott is DISCRIMINATORY and ANTITHETICAL TO THE CORE VALUE OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM, which is cherished by Queen’s and other universities around the world. There was no boycott against Palestinian academics during the intifadas as Israeli civilians were murdered by suicide bombings. Despite the use of the Islamic University in Gaza for launching both rocket and mortar attacks, as well as for the manufacturing of weapons, we are not calling for a boycott of Palestinian academics. Israeli scholars are world-renowned for their contributions in areas such as science and technology. Queen’s, as a prestigious academic institution, should be promoting exchange programs with other top institutions like Hebrew University. No other nation's academics or institutions are being subjected to such action, whether or not their governments are in a state of war. WE URGE REJECTION OF ALL SUCH DISCRIMINATORY AND OPPRESSIVE INITIATIVES. ISRAEL HAS BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED of deliberately targeting civilians, schools, hospitals, and administrative buildings. The reality is that Israel has always made real efforts to avoid harming civilians, including going to great lengths to provide warnings prior to strikes against militants. In the recent Cast Lead campaign, a direct reaction to the escalated rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, Israel’s targeting of the Islamic University came as a response to its identification as a Hamas bomb factory and weapon research and development facility, a report confirmed by Fatah and the New York Times. However, Israel avoided targeting other schools and universities, even when Hamas fighters used them as hideouts and launching pads. Furthermore, Israel’s reported attack on a UN school in the town of Jabaliya on January 6, 2009, has since been proven a false accusation. In direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, HAMAS USES PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS AS HUMAN SHIELDS, firing rockets from civilian areas, including academic institutions, in order to provoke Israel to kill as many civilians as possible, hoping to garner world sympathy. In their explicit pursuit of complete dissolution of the Jewish state, HAMAS FIGHTERS HAVE REPEATEDLY TARGETED ISRAELI CIVILIANS, SCHOOLS, AND CHILDREN, threatening Israelis’ right to education. In Southern Israel, children are afraid to go to school as rocket attacks are deliberately timed to strike when Israeli children are on their way to and from school. In 2004, HAMAS BOASTED RESPONSIBILITY for firing a Qassam rocket that killed a 49-year-old man and his four-year-old grandson as they walked up the pathway to the boy’s kindergarten. Hamas has targeted Sapir College in Sderot and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. In 2002, a Hamas terrorist blew up the cafeteria of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In an atmosphere of religious and nationalist incitement, Palestinian youth attending Gaza’s academic institutions, including UN run schools, are educated to develop a deep-seeded, VIOLENT HATRED TOWARDS ISRAEL, ENCOURAGING TERRORIST ACTIVITIES AGAINST JEWS AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL. ISRAEL HAS NO INTEREST IN UNDERMINING EDUCATION OR HEALTH CARE IN GAZA. On the contrary, a healthy and well-educated population in a prospering Palestinian state is Israel's best hope for peace in the years to come. Often, Palestinians come to Israel for health care and education because they have confidence in Israeli facilities and in the people who work there. Israeli institutions serve them both out of simple humanity and in order to build bridges to peace. THE CALL FOR QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY TO DIVEST FROM ISRAELI ACADEMIA IS BOTH DISCRIMINATORY AND UNFOUNDED. This petition will be presented by print and email to Principal Tom Williams on February 27, 2009 by Israel on Campus at Queen's University. Students and alumni, please include your degree and year with your name. Likewise, faculty and staff, please include your position at Queen's. PLEASE DO NOT USE AN APOSTROPHE IN YOUR NAME OR DEGREE. Your signature will not be recorded if you do. You may be asked to donate money after signing. Just to clarify: the donation has nothing to do with this cause or petition, it is a request from the iPetitions website.