Take cover, people, Nazi Germany is returning to the quiet campus of Sydney University.
Well, maybe not but the hilarious hysteria whipped up by Murdoch’s Australian over complaints about an upcoming collaboration between the university and an Israeli institution suggests the Zionist state must remain beyond criticism. Perhaps only foreign policy “experts” should be allowed to speak?
First this article today (which reflects terribly on the Palestinian Authority, a group of corrupt fools who have benefited from the Israeli occupation and have only brought shame and destruction on their people in Palestine and globally):
The Palestinian ambassador to Australia has condemned attacks by activists on Israeli businesses and thrown his support behind a controversial visit to the University of Sydney next week by Israeli academics.
Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, said yesterday he did not support a full-scale boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign designed to isolate and delegitimise Israel, and was scathing about recent BDS-inspired protests outside the Max Brenner chain of shops, which are Israeli-owned. “BDS is a non-violent process and I don’t think it’s the right of anybody to use BDS as a violent action or to prevent people from buying from any place,” Mr Abdulhadi said of the Max Brenner protests, which have occasionally turned violent.
“(The BDS) is also sensitive to the Jewish people (because) in 1937 their businesses in Europe were boycotted.”
Mr Abdulhadi said he favoured a limited boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank, because those settlements harmed the establishment of a Palestinian economy.
“Our objective is to build our own state, not to delegitimise any other state,” he said.
“We recognise Israel.”
Mr Abdulhadi opposed calls for the cancellation of the Israel Research Forum, due to be held at the University of Sydney next Monday, at which local experts will exchange ideas with Israeli leaders in fields including neuroscience and tissue regeneration.
He noted a similar exchange with Arab scholars was scheduled at the university for next year.
“This is Sydney University’s decision and we support that position, but it should be even-handed and there is another forum next year allowing all parties to present their own views and not to be biased to one side,” he said.
The Australian revealed yesterday that Jake Lynch, the head of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, had written to deputy vice-chancellor John Hearn calling for the forum to be scrapped because, he said, it was a PR exercise for Israel, did not include any Palestinian representation, included institutions linked to Israel’s military and would turn off Muslim students.
Mr Abdulhadi said this was not the official Palestinian position. “We encourage professional co-operation between Palestine, Australia and Israel,” he said.
“This is my message to Australians. We don’t mind this close friendship with Israel. It’s a plus for us Palestinians, as it means Australia can play an even-handed and balanced role between the two parties and challenge Israel on certain issues of international law.”
Professor Hearn provided The Australian with a letter he had written to participants in the forum, supporting their work.
“The arguments used by Jake Lynch are, ironically, similar to the ones I have used to defend him and the Centre or Peace and Conflict Studies when they have been criticised for their own choices,” he wrote. “I will be speaking with Jake shortly about his similar respect for colleagues and a balanced approach.”
Dr Lynch declined to comment.
The letters in today’s paper also reveal a profound level of ignorance and insecurity. Don’t mention the occupation, people:
Boycott of Israeli academics would be immoral
I am saddened, yet again, to read about University of Sydney academic Jake Lynch’s unthinking support of boycotting academic ties with Israel (“University forum with Israeli scientists ‘offends Muslims’ “, 25/10). Just what does he fear from a free exchange of ideas? To pick an example, would he block Australians from learning about Israeli work to develop a new universal flu vaccine by linking flu virus proteins to teach the immune system to make antibodies and killer cells that will attack the virus, now in the early stages of testing?
Or what about the work of Gideon Grader (one of the visitors in the exchange program that Lynch attacks) on the development of processes that enable clean energy extraction from non-carbon fuels, a boon to a world where carbon- based fuels are becoming scarcer by the decade?
David D. Knoll, Coogee, NSW
Universities are supposed to be bastions of free speech but not so at the University of Sydney where, of all people,
the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Jake Lynch wants to stop Israeli scientists from attending a forum because it might “offend Muslim students”.
Perhaps Lynch needs reminding that there are more Israeli Nobel prizes for science among its 6 million Jews than in the billion-strong Islamic world. One of their few winners was for the Nobel Peace prize, Yasser Arafat.
Randy Rose, Hobart, Tas
The call by Jake Lynch from the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies to shut down an Israel research forum is astonishingly illiberal.
I always thought that the role of academics was to promote rather than silence academic freedom.
Philip Mendes, Kew, Vic
What have we come to when medical researchers are discouraged from speaking at Australian universities on the basis of their ethnicity for fear of causing offence? Why is it that in some minds anything linked to Israel, that Middle Eastern country of freedom, is deemed to be bad?
It is very disappointing that members of our so-called enlightened academia would condone restrictions on academic freedoms because of anti-Semitism.
Cory Bernardi, Senator for South Australia, Kent Town, SA
I see Jake Lynch is irritated by the prospect of an Israel research forum. This is despite the fact that the webpage of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies says: “The centre aims to facilitate dialogue between individuals, groups or communities who are concerned with conditions of positive peace, whether in interpersonal relationships, community relations, within organisations and nations, or with reference to international relations”.
One of his complaints is that Arabic is generally not the language of instruction in Israeli universities. Of course, together with Hebrew, Arabic is an official language of Israel. No doubt, Lynch would therefore support the use of native languages for instruction in Australian universities, as well as elsewhere.
Lawrence J. Doctors, Dover Heights, NSW
Jake Lynch argues that the University of Sydney risks reputational damage. On the contrary, its reputation will be damaged if it responds positively to Lynch’s morally and politically repugnant demands.
As an academic I find the idea of academics demanding a boycott of universities in Israel and Israeli academics unprofessional and immoral.
Whatever happened to the idea that open debate, that argument and counter-argument is crucial to academic and political discourse?
Israel is undeniably the only true democracy in the Middle East. It is indefensible to call for a boycott of any description against such a nation.
Bill Anderson, Surrey Hills, Vic