Montréal: Professors and University Employees call for Boycotting Israel

Published in Le Devoir, Montréal, 24 January 2009


We are a group of teachers and employees at Quebec colleges and universities who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and with the people of Gaza who have suffered through the Israeli siege as targets of Israel’s brutal military attack.

Published in Le Devoir, Montréal, 24 January 2009


We are a group of teachers and employees at Quebec colleges and universities who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and with the people of Gaza who have suffered through the Israeli siege as targets of Israel’s brutal military attack.

It will take more than ceasefires to bring a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel. We are acting in response to an appeal for support issued January 2, 2009 by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees. In the wake of the Israeli bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza, the Federation of Unions has urged academics around the world to support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

We support this call and place it within a wider campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions. The struggle against apartheid in South Africa was supported through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. We support a similar strategy against the Israeli state.

We will undertake actions within our own institutions to promote education on this issue, to support students, faculty, and employees to speak out on this question, and to pressure the institutions in which we work to participate in a boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign that aims for a just and lasting settlement for the Palestinian people.

We strongly condemn the government of Canada’s position on the ongoing conflict in Gaza and for its bilateral trade agreements that help sustain Israeli military actions. The Harper government has condemned Hamas, an elected government, as a terrorist organization. Yet it consistently supports the government of Israel, which has used weapons causing mass destruction on a mainly civilian population, including attacks on children and schools, and has violated International prohibitions against collective punishment through its blockade of the Gaza strip.

We call on the Harper government to re-evaluate its policies and to unequivocally condemn the Israeli siege and assault on Gaza, which constitute serious violations of international and humanitarian law. We further demand that the Israeli government immediately cease its violence.

As well, we urge that all economic relations between Israel and the governments of Canada and Quebec — including trade agreements – be suspended until there is not only a just and lasting peace for the Palestinian people, but that Israel, in compliance with international law, recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Brian Aboud, Vanier College
Sajida S. Alvi, McGill University
Rachad Antonius, Université du Québec à Montréal
Sima Aprahamian, Concordia University
David Austin, Concordia University
Gregory Baum, McGill University
Rachel Berger, Concordia University
Martin Blanchard, Université de Montréal
James (Jay) Brophy, McGill University
Peter Button, McGill University
Joel Casseus, Vanier College
Jean Chapman, Concordia University
Dolores Chew, Marianopolis College
Jennifer Chew, McGill University
Aziz Choudry, McGill University
Jocelyne Couture, Université du Québec à Montréal
Mary Ellen Davis, Concordia University
Caroline Desbiens, Université Laval
Martin Duckworth, Concordia University
Maurice Dufour, Marianopolis College
Arwen Fleming, McGill University
Roy Fu, John Abbott College
Monika Kin Gagnon, Concordia University
S. Gourlay, Concordia University
Wael B. Hallaq, McGill University
Jill Hanley, McGill University
Michelle Hartman, McGill University
Sumi Hasegawa, McGill University
Oscar Hernandez, Marianopolis College
Christina Holcroft, McGill University
Homa Hoodfar, Concordia University
Helen Hudson, McGill University
Adrienne Carey Hurley, McGill University
Andrew M. Ivaska, Concordia University
Sandra Jeppesen, Concordia University
Yasmin Jiwani, Concordia University
Steven Jordan, McGill University
Denis Kosseim, Cégep André-Laurendeau
Anna Kruzynski, Concordia University
Marc Lafrance, Concordia University
Thomas LaMarre, McGill University

Diane Lamoureux, Université Laval
Andrée Lévesque, McGill University
Charmain Levy, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Abby Lippman, McGIll University
Margaret Lock, McGill University
Richard Lock, Vanier College
Ehab Lotayef, McGill University
Gada Mahrouse, Concordia University
Chantal Maillé, Concordia University
David Mandel, Université du Québec à Montréal
Rosanna Maule, Concordia University
Mark Patrick McGuire, John Abbott College
Elizabeth Miller, Concordia University
L. Monet, Université de Montréal
Norman Nawrocki, Concordia University
Holly Nazar, McGill University
Devora Neumark, Concordia University
Greg Nielsen, Concordia University
Kai Nielsen, Concordia University
Marielle Nitoslawska, Concordia University
Samuel J Noumoff, McGill University
Marielle Olivier, McGill University
Anthony Paré, McGill University
Andrew Pearce, McGill University
James Pettit, Marianopolis College
Veronica Ponce, Marianopolis College
Najat Rahman, Université de Montréal
Frances Ravensbergen, Concordia University
Trish Salah, Bishop’s and Concordia Universities
Daniel Salée, Concordia University
Kim Sawchuk, Concordia University
Gale Seiler, McGill University
Eric Shragge, Concordia University
Lee Soderstrom, McGill University
Martha Stiegman, Concordia University
Miwako Uesaka, McGill University
Indu Vashist, McGill University
Julian Vigo, Université de Montréal
Sarwat Viqar, John Abbott College
Nadia Wardeh, McGill University
Thomas Waugh, Concordia University



  1. The Plea of the Academic

    The Plea of the Academic Hypocrites

    The reason this response to the idiotic appeal by some demented Montréal academics to boycott and otherwise punish Israel for daring to defend itself from the malicious rocket attacks by Hamas is delayed is because I decided to scan all the essays on file on this website to see if this same bunch of dunderheads had written an appeal to boycott and otherwise punish Hamas for its indefensible campaign of rocket attacks on innocent civilians in Israel.

    I was not surprised to see that there was none.  But, I did re-read an earlier essay of mine about "Hypocrisy," which gave me the theme, more or less, for this reaction to the current anti-Israel campaign.

    Other than using all the adjectives for "stupidity" in Dr. Roget’s Thesaurus, the best word to describe the almost universal attack on Israel is "hypocrisy."

    If the endorsers of the above-cited appeal (to get back to the subject) were really concerned about humanity, if they were really concerned about the well-being of women and children (i.e., non-combatants), if they were really concerned about the loss of innocent life, they should begin and end with an attack on Hamas.

    But, in this amazing appeal there is not one reference to Hamas, not one reference to the rocket attacks on Israel.  That would be the same as writing the history of World War Two and not mentioning Adolph Hitler or the invasion of Poland.

    Since Israel foolishly left Gaza, there have been more than 6000 (I have read the figure 8000, also) rocket attacks into Southern Israel.  Nowhere have I read that Hamas should stop, or else. . . .

    If it is not Hamas’s aim to kill innocent civilians, when Israel had amassed a large army and a huge array of tanks on the Israel/Gaza border, why did not Hamas fire rockets on the troops, thus killing hundreds if not thousands of soldiers, and why did it not fire rockets on the tanks and destroy dozens if not scores of tanks?  The reason is simple.  Hamas is a criminal organization of cowards who prefer to kill civilians rather than fight soldiers.

    Worse, by its documented use of civilian sites–homes, hospitals, mosques, schools–as the bases for its rocket launchers, Hamas is deliberately hoping that civilians will be killed to show the world how cruel are the Israelis.  By locating a Hamas command post in the maternity wing of a hospital, it was deliberately putting at risk the lives of mothers and children, not to mention hospital staff.  Is that not a cynical ploy to hope that if the Israelis attack that area, there will be "innocent mothers and babies killed"?

    Nowhere in the hypocritical plea by the demented academics was there any reference to the fact that the Israelis sent warnings to the people of Gaza where they were going to attack, so that the people would leave or take shelter.

    Nowhere in the hypocritical plea by the warp-minded academics was there any reference to the fact that Israel would cease all military action, for three hours each day, to enable civilians to be cared for or brought into Israel for care.

    Nowhere in the hypocritical plea by the don’t-bother-us-with-facts academics was there any reference to the fact that Hamas doesn’t give a damn about the Palestinians and uses them as pawns in the self-aggrandizing aims of Hamas.

    But, these educated fools (as my father used to call such types) dared to use a phrase: "[Israel] which has used weapons. . .on a mainly civilian population," which is a blatant lie and could really apply to the unmentioned Hamas and its targets.

    When Israel foolishly left Gaza, in 2005, it left behind a healthy agricultural infrastructure with functioning greenhouses, which were destroyed and dismantled within hours of the Israel departure.  If Hamas were concerned about the Palestinians, those greenhouses would now be producing fruit and vegetables, there would be work for Palestinians in growing these products, and processing these products, and marketing these products.

    But, there is one criticism of Israel that is valid–its naivete.  If Israel thinks that it can trust the Hamas, it is foolish. Just as Hizbullah and Arafat and his gang of criminals could not be trusted, neither can Hamas.  It will use this cease-fire to re-arm, dig more and deeper tunnels, find more and more-cynical places to place its rocket launchers, and then will seek out an excuse to send more rockets into civilian areas of Israel.

    Israel should have learned by now that it has no real friend in the world and that if it doesn’t defend itself, it won’t have any support from the rest of the world.  It has lip-service friends, and it has we-need-your-vote/money friends, but friends who will say, "Yes, defend yourself, do what is needed to end the threat to your existence," it has none.

    We expect hypocrisy from our politicians, but we don’t expect it from academics who are alleged to have something called “intellectual honesty.”  I, for one, hope Israel is strong enough to withstand the world’s hypocrisy, but I have to feel sorry for the innocent minds that are exposed to hypocritical academics.

    Andrew Kevorkian
    Philadelphia, PA

    1. Hello Andrew, interesting

      Hello Andrew, interesting long response you have written. I read it with utmost interest but unfortunately didn’t find it amusing, interesting, educational, informative, fair or even just.
      If you have ever lived in the war of the Middle-East and if you have interacted with the people there, you would know exactly what is going on and by whom.
      I personally don’t have anything good to say about any of the nationalities that live there, either Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians or the Jews. I am sure most of us have no leniency towards Hamas and personally I don’t like them, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be blind to all the years of atrocities and crimes that a militarily-advanced country is doing to a small community.  It is exactly similar to a child throwing a stone to your window and you come out with a machine-gun and kill his family, friends and relatives who are innocent, powerless and un-armed.
      I would urge you to read a very interesting and informative article written by a Jewish professor of International Relations at Oxford, Abi Shlaim who has served in the Israeli military,  you can read the article at:
      Also, I urge you to see another truth at this link:
      Hopefully the above two publishings will make you realize why the Palestinians are revolting hopelessly and suicidal against a nation that they know they cannot defeat.
      I always wonder why did Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jews in the first place, maybe they were throwing a rock at his window?…
      Vartkes Nakoulian

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