The undergraduate students at the university Waterloo, Ontario will cast their vote on January 25-27 in a referendum on whether to impose an academic boycott on Israel.
The question of the referendum reads the following: “Do you think the University of Waterloo should sever ties with the following institutions due to their complicity in violations of the human rights of Palestinians: University of Haifa, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science?”
On Thursday, January 21, a debate on this issue will take place in campus at Uwaterloo’s at 1-3pm at SLC Great Hall. Both Yes and No committees of the Sever Ties Referendum will be presenting the case for or against severing ties with Israeli institutions complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights.
The Yes Committee in the University of Waterloo’s Ethical Collaboration referendum (also called the ‘Sever Ties’ referendum) maintains in an official statement that “we have a responsibility to uphold principles of human rights, including the right to education, and to act if we as students are implicated in situations where this right is not being respected.”
The Yes Committee also calls on the University of Waterloo “to create and abide by ethical collaboration policy when seeking to build relationships with other institutions.”
The University of Waterloo has signed research partnership agreements with universities and academic institutions from multiple countries. According to its official statement, the UWaterloo “We collaborate with international colleagues, conduct joint research, organize conferences and create exchange opportunities for professors and visiting scholars who study and solve today’s real challenges. It makes sense. Advances in research are often moved forward by a consortia of institutes which include the very best people from countries around the world.”
The list includes the Palestinian Birzeit University, located north of Rammallah, the de facto interim capital of the so-called the State of Palestine. UWaterloo signed research partnership agreements with Birzeit University in the following fields: Engineering, Economics, Health, Planning, Political Science and Water Studies.
Birzeit University endorses the BDS campaign
Birzeit University is involved in the the BDS campaign against Israel and actively advocating for boycotting the Israeli academia. This policy is officially endorsed by the university. In an official press release (August 2014) reads the following: “Birzeit University not only encourages economic boycott of Israel for its occupation, but promotes academic boycott of the occupying state. The university has an active boycott committee that includes a number of professors.” In another press release (September 2014) it was noted that “the university community takes pride in observing the academic boycott of Israel.”
In November 2014, the Birzeit University Student Affairs Deanship, working with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the Palestinian Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), held a lecture on student activism in the BDS campaign. The talk was delivered by BDS founder Omar Barghouti and BDS outreach coordinator, Zaid Shuaibi.
The Institute of Women’s Studies issued in August 2014 an urgent call “to boycott all Israeli academic institutions” and “to condemn the Zionist academic institutions that have clearly fostered this colonial genocide by embracing support for their scholars’ sexist views, defending their belligerent racism, and essentially advocating and encouraging violence.”
In collaboration with the Birzeit University student council, the Association of Democratic Youth Development “Shabab” held on September 23, 2014 a conference on strengthening the boycott against Israel. The conference released a statement calling upon all youth movements and student councils around the world to support the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Birzeit University has become a hub for designated terrorist organizations
Birzeit University was and still is considered a stronghold of Hamas through its official student arm, The Islamic Bloc. Since 2000 hundreds of terrorists, including suicide bombers, came from the ranks of the Islamic Bloc groups operating in the Palestinian universities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
During the last two years, dozens of students, members of the Islamic Blob at Birzeit University were arrested by Israel and/or by the security services of the Palestinian Authority in suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities and some were convicted and sentenced to jail terms.
Hamas’ Islamic Bloc (Wafaa’ Bloc) won in April 2015 the elections to the Birzeit University Student Council winning 26 out 51 seats. Its prime rival the Martyr Yasser Arafat Bloc (Fatah) got 19 seats, the Democratic Progressive Student Pole won (PFLP) five seats, and the Birzeit Student Alliance (Palestinian Democratic Union, Palestinian People’s Party, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) obtained one seat. 7039 out of 9135 eligible students to vote participated in the elections.
Following the announcement of the results, the President of Birzeit University, Khalil Hindi, “applauded the students’ commitment and cooperation, and that the elections took place in a peaceful and democratic atmosphere that reflected students’ sense of responsibility towards their university. He emphasized that the efforts undertaken by the university would be insufficient without students’ efforts to contribute to an active and positive role in the community.”
Hamas Islamic Bloc openly promoting terrorism in campus
The following are glaring examples of Hamas Islamic bloc’s support of terrorism and its activities in Birzeit University’s campus:
Hamas’ Islamic Bloc celebrating the 28th anniversary of Hamas’ foundation in Birzeit University campus (December 2015)
Hamas Islamic Bloc’s parade in Birzeit University campus (2015) – Students chanting: “The death for Allah is our most exalted wish”
(This post originally appeared on CIJNews and is republished with permission)