...Be a shame if something happened to it
The Canadian Union of Public Employees has a message for any Israeli academics who may want to teach or speak on unveristy campuses in Ontario:
Condemn Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip. Or else.
CUPE drafted the proposal as a response to a December 29th attack on an Islamic University in Ghaza.
"Attacking an institution of learning is just beyond the pale," CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan announced. "They deliberately targeted an institution of learning. That's what the Nazis did."
Of course Ryan is overlooking the fact that Hamas is widely known to use schools and hospitals as hideouts for their fighters, normally using the occupants of those buildings as human shields or to provoke international outrage when those buildings are attacked.
Reports that the University was being used to store weapons for Hamas remain unconfirmed.
But as debate over Israel's actions in Gaza become a matter of intense international debate, as they so often do, CUPE's move to force Israeli academics to denounce Israel's actions would ultimately have the effect of limiting this debate on University campuses across Ontario.
Moreover, Ryan is overlooking an important issue underlying the permanent state of affairs between Israel and its various Islamic militant foes: that is, a state of total war.
Canada has not been at a state of total war for well over 60 years. While Ryan's criticism may suit an ordinary country under ordinary states of warfare, but Israel is no ordinary country and its conflict with Hamas is no ordinary conflict.
If anything, perhaps Ryan should consider condemning the University in question should claims that it was storing weapons caches for Hamas turn out to be true. After all, any institution of higher learning that agrees to store weapons certainly surrenders its sancrosanct status.
While an air strike is most certainly an unsuitable method for dealing with such situations -- a special forces strike provides additional safety for civilians, although there are never any guarantees in war -- any University that chooses to provide material support to a combatant becomes a legitimate target in war time.
Academics -- be they Israeli or otherwise -- have the right to hold such an opinion if they so choose. For Sid Ryan to imagine that he can coerce them into saying otherwise is dangerous for the academic climate of any university.