McGill and Concordia must boycott Technion

May 23rd, 2011 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine
    May 23, 2011, by Elliott Frayheyt.

    Photo Israeli soldiers arrest crying Palestinian youth.

In the wake of successful/ongoing divestment campaigns at Hampshire College, UC Berkeley, Carleton University, and the University of Johannesburg, a group of students, faculty and community members in Montreal have started to organize a campaign to sever the links between the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and Concordia and McGill university. Several months ago, this group published a report entitled “Structures of Oppression” that outlines the ‘strong bilateral student exchange programs, joint research projects, and collaborative scholarships’ that Concordia/McGill share with Technion in Haifa.

This report, and the campaign more broadly, hopes to highlight (and eventually sever) Concordia and McGill’s overt complicity in, support for, and normalization of, an academic institution that is inextricably linked with the Israeli military and weapons corporations. Further, the report emphasizes Technion’s role as an apparatus of Israel’s apartheid policies and practices, and examines how this university serves as an important tool in the denial of justice and freedom for all Palestinians.

As an engineering/science university that is heavily involved in arms research and technology, Technion is a key agent in Israel’s military-industrial complex. Through cooperative research programs with Israeli weapons corporations such as Elbit and Rafael, and programs with the Israeli military, Technion participates in the creation and development of technology funded by arms profiteers and the Israeli miltiary. The arms technology/research that is developed at Technion has been used by the Israeli state and military in a variety of guises.

Less than two years ago, Technion joined Elbit in creating a technology initiative at the University’s faculty of engineering. At the same time, Elbit (with direct and indirect help from Technion) has become one of the two main providers for Israel’s apartheid wall. Further, in collaboration with Rafael- one of Israel’s largest weapons manufacturers- students and faculty at Technion have researched and developed amongst other projects, the ‘Ramtech’ rockets and more recently, different unnamed aircrafts to be used in Israel’s ongoing occupation. Rafael is also responsible for developing certain technologies used by Merkava-4 tanks in the 2009 invasion of Gaza.

The links between Technion and weapons manufacturer Rafael are so strong, that since 2001, the company has had a three-year ‘in-house’ MBA program at the University tailored specifically for its managers.

Beyond supporting and normalizing the arms research and technology that is produced at Technion, and used in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, Concordia and McGill’s institutional links with this University signal a complicity in the unjust treatment of Palestinian students who are citizens of Israel.

At all levels of education in Israel, Palestinian students face obstacles to acceptance into many programs- which are often tied to participation in the Israeli military- access to housing and finding. (For more information see Uri Jacobi Keller’s 2009 “The Economy of Occupation.”)

Beyond these structural inequalities, freedom of speech is severely limited at Technion.

In the first few days of June 2010, following Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, students in support of, and against the assault, staged demonstrations on the Technion campus. The pro-military group was allowed to demonstrate, while the (mostly) Palestinian led student rally against the raid was brutally repressed by Israeli police, resulting in the arrest of several demonstrators.

The severe restriction of freedom of speech for Palestinian students at Technion is part of a broader racist and colonial educations system that is integral to the functioning of Israeli apartheid.

The campaign that has emerged in Montreal over the course of the last several months is directly challenging Concordia and McGill’s complicity in, and support for an academic institution with strong relations to the Israeli military, Israeli weapons corporations, and Israeli apartheid more generally.

An integral element of the report “Structures of Oppression” and the campaign in Montreal is the thorough interrogation of the claim that such an effort violates ‘academic freedom’. This claim ignores the strong intersections between academic institutions such as Technion, and the different ways in which Israeli apartheid manifests itself.

Further, such an approach underscores the privilege of Israeli academics and academic institutions. What kind of freedom (academic or otherwise) can an individual have under military occupation? (see College and University Workers United’s (CUWU) Academic Boycott: Why Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions)

The ongoing ‘Boycott Technion’ campaign rejects Concordia and McGill’s complicity in, and support for an institution that is an integral element of Israeli Apartheid.

Until all Palestinians have freedom and justice, these two universities must sever all links with Technion.

For more information, please visit the report “Structures of Oppression,” or send an email to technionboycott(at)

1 Comment »

“From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free”

The International Solidarity Movement welcomes the assistance of women and gay people (e.g. QUIT, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism) in resisting the Zionist entity’s occupation of Palestinian land. Your participation in Israel Apartheid Week at a university, direct action in Palestine, or participation in a Gaza flotilla all help the Palestinian cause.

As a female or gay activist, it is important for you to understand the cultural differences between your country of origin and that of Palestine. Please follow these guidelines to make your participation in Israel Apartheid Week, a Gaza flotilla, or your visit to occupied Palestine both safe and productive for the Palestinian cause.

Guidelines for Women

(1) Cover your face and hair with a hijab (veil) at all times. Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali said of rape victims in places like Australia and the United Kingdom, “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it, whose fault is it—the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab (veil), no problem would have occurred.”

(2) Your right to control your body may be limited under Sharia (Islamic law). Per Maxim Lott in “Advocates of Anti-Shariah Measures Alarmed by Judge’s Ruling” (Fox News, August 5 2010), “Defendant forced plaintiff to have sex with him while she cried. Plaintiff testified that defendant always told her ‘this is according to our religion. You are my wife, I can do anything to you. The woman, she should submit and do anything I ask her to do.’”

(3) Your right to legal redress for sexual assault may be limited under Sharia law. Per “Iranian Mullahs Stone 13-Year-Old Rape Victim” by Koorosh Afshar (India Daily, October 26, 2004 ), “another girl, 13-year-old ‘Zheela’, was sentenced to “stoning to death” by another Islamic judge in the city of ‘Marivan,’ Western Iran. This poor child is sentenced to death because she has been impregnated by her 15-year-old brother.”

(4) If you are sexually assaulted despite your conformance to these guidelines, it is vital that you keep the matter to yourself lest it harm the Palestinian cause’s public relations. “Female Palestinian Peace Activists Suffer Sexual Harassment, Rape From Palestinians” ( says, “It won’t make the front page of the New York Times, but it seems that female peace activists in Israel who go to Arab villages are looked at as ‘piece’ activists by the locals in the Arab villages. Women who go to these villages are sexually harassed, molested and in some cases raped.”

Gay Activists: Don’t Ask and Don’t Tell

Sharia defines homosexuality as an abomination, and it is punishable by death in Iran. Per ” Sodomy carries a three- to 10-year jail term in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian legal experts say enforcement is at the discretion of local authorities and usually requires that the accused be caught in the act. …Israel, which decriminalized sodomy in 1987, is considered among the more liberal of societies when it comes to gay rights.”

Comment by Moshe Pippik — June 15th, 2011 @ 12:29 AM

Leave a comment

Upcoming events