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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.”


Press Releases

The CUPE proposals and clarification, (Jan 5, Jan 13, Jan 14)
CUPE 3902 (local branch), Executive Statement, (rejecting boycott proposal)
Canadian Graduate Students, Petition Against the Proposed CUPE Ontario Boycott of Israeli Academics and Institutions
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), petition
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), press release
B'nai Brith Canada, CUPE-National must address blatant discrimination by its Ontario affiliate, Press Release, January 6, 2009
B'nai Brith Canada, Why is CUPE National still silent on Hamas terrorism, Press Release, January 13 2009

News Reports

Union at Ontario Universities Proposes Boycott of Israeli Professors, The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 6, 2009
Sid Ryan's bigotry, National Post, 6 January 2009
Bob Dale, Ottawa needs to proscribe CUPE's anti-Israel agenda, The National Post, January 06, 2009
Sid Ryan keeps digging, National Post, 7 January 2009
Tamas Virag, Local Jews slam union ban idea, The Edmonton Sun, January 7, 2008
Kate Dubinski, Western rejects CUPE call for boycott, The London Free Press, January 8, 2009
CUPE should stay out of politics, Calgary Herald, January 08, 2009
Vanessa Kortekaas, CUPE Ontario leader apologizes for 'Nazi' reference, The Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 2009
Jessica Ireland, Ryan's Israel stance creates rift in CUPE, The Windsor Star, January 09, 2009
Susan Martinuk, Racism is behind push to ban Israeli scholars, The Calgary Herald, January 09, 2009
James Cowan, Right to fight?, National Post, January 10, 2009
Michael Coren, Lecture for a union, Toronto Sun, 10th January 2009
Oren Gross, CUPE Ontario's proposed boycott of Israeli academics is just plain anti-Semitic, The Globe and Mail, January 13, 2009
Kenyon Wallace, Ryan rebuked by national CUPE head, Toronto Star, 14 January 2009
Howard Levitt, Political lobbying doesn't help CUPE member interests, Financial Post, January 14, 2009
Joe Howell, CUPE Ontario proposes to ban Israeli academics from campuses, The Strand, 15 January 2009
Ryan’s rage, Editorial, Canadian Jewish News, January 15, 2009
Murray Teitel, A waste of CUPE's money, Toronto Sun, 15 January 2009
Sid Ryan must go, National Post, 16 January 2009

Responces, Blogs, Newsletters

CUPE Shows Their Colours, Pelalusa Blog, January 05, 2009
CUPE Wants HM Government to Condemn Israel, Dr Roy's Thoughts, January 05, 2009
Israel Academic Boycott Urged by Canada Labor Leader, ZWord Blog, January 06, 2009
CUPE’s Latest Gimmick: Just Plain Wrong, BlogUT (A blog by University of Toronto Students), January 6, 2009
Scratch A Leftist Labour Union, Small Dead Animals, January 06, 2009
CUPE asks that Israeli professors be blacklisted, Keyes, January 06, 2009
CUPE: Ban Israeli academics, The Shotgun Blog, January 07, 2009


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