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Israel Academic Boycott Urged by Canada Labor Leader

Source: Ben Cohen, ZWord Blog, January 6, 2009

One of the more sinister aspects of the academic boycott campaign against Israel in the UK was its demand that Israeli academics take a disloyalty oath: that in order to engage in international collaboration with other academics, they had to first disavow their government. That tactic has now been imported to Canada.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario, the largest labor union representing staff members at the province’s universities, plans to introduce a resolution at its conference next month to ban Israeli academics from teaching, speaking, or doing research at Ontario universities if they do not first condemn Israeli actions in Gaza.

The union, which represents teaching and research assistants and other members of the support staff at many universities, says the proposal is a response to the bombing on December 29 that damaged the Islamic University of Gaza. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the bombed buildings had been used as “a research and development center for Hamas weapons,” referring to the terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip.

The Islamic University has also functioned as a hideout for terrorists and a prison for captives:

Kidnapped soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit spent most of his time in captivity imprisoned on the campus of the Islamic University in Gaza, said senior Palestinian sources on Monday.

Shalit was kidnapped on June 25th 2006 and up until three months ago had been held at the university — a prominent Hamas stronghold — but arguments amongst his captors led to his relocation.

The Islamic University is under complete Hamas control, with faculty members and students alike all loyal to the organization. Within its walls there are not only regular academic studies but also military training and religious preaching.

Palestinian officials have labeled the university a “sanctuary for wanted men” and they note that Hamas mastermind Yahya Ayyash fled from the West Bank to Gaza in 1995 and hid in the Islamic University for several months during the time he was being pursued by Israeli forces for his role in numerous suicide bombings in the 90’s.

Obviously, such “dual use” places of higher education don’t give CUPE’s Ontario branch, which voted in favor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in 2006, pause for thought. Instead, Sid Ryan (pictured), the union’s President, is content to scream the Nazi analogy:

“Attacking an institution of learning is just beyond the pale,” CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan said last night. “They deliberately targeted an institution of learning. That’s what the Nazis did.”

Let’s give the last word to Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress, quoted in the same piece:

“What happened at the university still is in question. Was it a place where arms are being stored?” Mr. Farber said. “Anyone who compares Jews and Nazis really enters into the dark realm of anti-Semitism. Mr. Ryan should be absolutely ashamed of himself.”

Reproduced at Zionism On The Web with permission of the author.