Re: Re: UW & Israel: Justice and politics in academia, Jan. 31

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I read with interest Prof. Berry’s Jan. 31 editorial in response to an earlier one by Al-shihabi and Ramahi on relations between UW and Israel.


What Professor Berry&rsquo;s response, as well as the one printed just to its right in the same issue of <em>Imprint</em>, concentrates on is the false quotation of the Prime Minister&rsquo;s speech to the Israeli Knesset, which is, of course, an obvious mistake and no matter of dispute. But Harper&rsquo;s speech itself contains many fallacies and historically inaccurate statements, which have been overlooked in these recent articles. Among many is the claim that &quot;Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.&quot; In fact, many nations, many centuries before the establishment of either Canada or Israel on occupied lands, have been heralds of freedom and democracy, from which the Jewish people have equally benefited.


What fascinates me the most, however, is how Prof. Berry himself has been caught in what he finds &quot;ironic&quot; about the earlier article and an example of Harper&rsquo;s remarks on &ldquo;selectively&rdquo; condemning the Israeli policies; there is much more in the article by Al-shihabi and Ramahi which has been, just like the inaccuracies of Harper&rsquo;s speech, &quot;selectively&quot; ignored by Prof. Berry and not responded to &mdash; maybe because there is no legitimate response to it.


That there is a great hardship imposed on the Palestinian academics and students by the government of Israel, that in 2008 the government of Israel turned the Gaza strip into a prison for not only its residents but also the Fullbright scholars, that the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) campaigns have notably succeeded on campuses worldwide, that there are hesitations in the UW community about the nature of the relations between UW and such institutions as Technion, and above all, that at the University of Waterloo, &quot;we must do everything we can to ensure our hard work does not end up supporting unjust policies and systems on the global stage,&quot; are indisputable facts pointed out by Al-shihabi and Ramahi which cannot be selectively ignored.


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Sepehr Mohaddes

PhD candidate, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

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