Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Nice Teaching Job You've Got There

...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.


  1. I`m not surprised, universities are some of the most anti semetic institutions in the world.

  2. Criticizing Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitism.

  3. Couple of points here:

    I'm not happy about a lot of the stuff Israel is doing right now, but Sid Ryan goes way too far when he starts comparing Israel to Nazis.

    Also...You can't just disagree with the fact they hit a school. You either disagree with the whole situation or you don't.

    CUPE must be off its rocker if it thinks that academics, who are paid to give us their opinions and impart their knowledge, are going to abide by this thing.

    I'm surprised this didn't get more press.

  4. Hardly surprising from Comrade Ryan, who still bemoans the fall of the Soviet empire. Sure, why not wade into mid-east conflicts? It sure beats having Canadians focus on the over-paid, under-talented services we get from CUPE. Those CUPE members must be happy their supreme Ayatollah is using their union dues for nonsense like this.

  5. Galganov has some great points about the conflict with Hamas, that I had not really thought of.

    Click Me

  6. To be honest with you, Muchacho, I'm not happy about it either.

    But I also recognize the situation that Israel is in, and I find it difficult to begrudge themselves defending themselves.

    Furthermore, the overall situation in the area defies simple black-and-white judgments.

    Was the building in question a school? Reportedly, yes. Do I think it's wrong to target a school under most circumstances? Yes.

    But do I think that Hamas should be able to use schools to shelter their personnel or equipment from attack? No. Do I think that this University has forfeit the ordinary protections it would be entitled to under the laws of war when it reputedly agreed to store weapons for Hamas? Yes.

    Do I think an airstrike was the proper way to attack this target? No. Do I think that all necessary means to prevent civilian casualties was taken in this particular case? Again, no.

    I'm sorry to say that it's not black-and-white. If this was a school that wasn't being put to any military use -- and as I understand it, this very much may be the case -- then I oppose it entirely. If Hamas was using the University to store weapons, then I agree with the strike, but disagree with the recklessness of the method.

  7. I'm sure I don't like the looks of Howard Galganov almost right off the bat.

    The synopsis for his book Canada is Not a Bilingual Country bothers me a little. French is not predominant in this country anywhere outside of Quebec.

    That aside, I do find a few of his points about the Israel conflict resonating with me.

    First off, the mobbing and murder of Fatah Palestinians by Hamas Palestinians seems quite a bit like "no one can pick on my little brother but me" type reasoning. Unfortunately, Palestinians killing Palestinians doesn't seem like news. And the people who protest Israel going after Hamas are all too eager to stay quiet when Muslim states start attacking their Palestinian populations.

    I remember when Lebanon opened fire on a Palestinian refugee camp with tanks and artillery in 2007. Oddly enough, no condemnation from very many Canadians. Apparently it's OK when they do it.

    Furthermore, I reject the idea of forcing Palestinians out of Gaza althogether. The problem there is Hamas, not the Palestinians.


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