Tadamon! letter to Gazette

August 27th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine, Quebec
    letter submitted to the Montreal Gazette, Tuesday, August 25th, 2009.


    Photo: Satellites in the sky Cairo, Egypt.

Although this was likely unintentional, Terrine Friday’s article “Students misinformed …” (24 August 2009) speaks strongly in favour of the Community-University Research Exchange (CURE) program and of the CURE project proposed by the Montreal social-justice collective Tadamon.

Tadamon’s CURE project submission proposed that a student investigate institutional ties between Montreal universities and Israeli corporations, government agencies and other organizations that support the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Tadamon’s project proposal calls for the production of research and educational material that challenges a way of talking and thinking about the Palestine-Israel conflict that oversimplifies and distorts, and ultimately amounts to apologetics for the apartheid practices and policies of the Israeli state. This manner of thinking and talking is evident in rabbi Abraham Cooper’s assertion, reported in the article, that research into institutional ties, as proposed in the Tadamon! project submission, is “no different” from compiling lists of people of Jewish ancestry in Nazi Germany. This comparison is simply not valid.

The research proposed in the Tadamon! project has nothing to do with the religion or ethnicity of individuals or groups of individuals. Moreover, this research will be undertaken by students, most likely within the framework of social science courses, under the supervision of a university professor who will assess the research and the final product. The research will follow the procedures of academic inquiry in the discipline(s) within which it is undertaken; conducting research that involves something like the compilation of lists of people would certainly not meet those standards. Thus, rabbi Cooper’s comparison is spurious, as is his claim, subsequently, that the proposed research is in any way related to Nazi practices.

By making such false and exaggerated comparisons, Cooper seeks to delegitimize any study of the Israeli state or Zionism that is carried out from the standpoint of anti-colonial and anti-racist critique. In the end, what rabbi Cooper is advocating, as reported in the article, is a campus of compliant youth, accepting and acquiescent of domination, especially if it is Israeli domination. The CURE program and the Tadamon! project proposal, on the other hand, seek to advance some cherished principles of university life and intellectual pursuit: contextually-informed investigation, the interrogation and critique of systems and structures of domination and oppression, and critical inquiry and analysis that is applied consistently and universally.

Tadamon! collective
tel: 514 664 1036
email: info(at)tadamon.ca

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