Concordia: Whats the deal with Woodsworth?

September 21st, 2009 | Posted in Canada, Palestine, Quebec
    September 2009 Link letter by Doug Smith.


Photo: Kevin Walsh. Riot police in front Concordia University, September 2002.

This past August, Concordia President Judith Woodsworth was the opening speaker at a Conference entitled, “Israel on Campus: Defending Our Universities.”

The conference was put on by the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research and focused on two main points:

1. to bring a powerful analytic focus to bear on the mounting threat to academic freedom and free inquiry represented by the growth of anti-Semitism, masquerading as anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism, on our campuses, and develop, on the basis of a clear set of informing principles, a “Campus Defence Council” tasked with an ongoing, coordinated, and persistent international campaign to “take back the campus.”

As students and members of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at Concordia, we found this conference and the president’s participation quite alarming.

We ask ourselves, does she know that the state of Israel is continuing to and has been in violation of international law by building illegal settlements and the separation wall in the West Bank? Does she know that the state of Israel has committed war crimes including the use of incendiary phosphorus munitions in the most recent attack on Gaza?

Does she know that the state of Israel has been equated to apartheid in South Africa by well known South African anti-apartheid activists Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela?

Does she know that non-Jews have no access to 93 per cent of the land in Israel?

Does she know that in the West Bank there are two sets of laws, depending on whether you are Jewish or Palestinian?

Because surely if she knew all this she would not be speaking at a conference that advocated to “take back the campus” from Israeli critics and human rights advocates or to try and paint a glossy image of Israel, but instead would be advocating for human rights and international law. Surely she would see through this mounting trend of labelling every Israel critic as anti-Semitic for what it really is; an attempt to silence those who speak out, and how its improper use only demeans the actual meaning of the word.

1 Comment »

To the author: President Woodsworth is not advocating to ‘”take back the campus” from Israeli critics and human rights advocates…” but instead to “take back the campus” from Israeli abolitionists, who seek to remove an internationally-recognized state from the world map. May all critics of governments from around the world be strengthened, but may those who seek to abolish states recognized as legitimate by the international community fall in failure.

Comment by zach — September 24th, 2009 @ 12:09 AM

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