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Archives: July 2007

Thu Jul 26, 2007

The ivory tower behind the Apartheid Wall

In the last few weeks, university presidents across the US and Canada have rushed to issue statements about the proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the British University and College Union. They view this boycott as a serious violation of academic freedom. Yet, given the general failure of these leaders to comment on any number of infringements of academic freedom that have occurred in recent years, including those close to home in the form of the politically-motivated denial of tenure to Norman Finkelstein and the colleague, Mehrene Larudee, who very publicly supported him, the harassment of Columbia University professors Joseph Massad and Rashid Khalidi, and the intimidation of faculty by Campuswatch, one might be excused for concluding that university presidents prefer to remain above the political fray and reserve their office for grave and important but non-controversial pronouncements on tsunamis. But now, even in the midst of the hot and hazy summer recess, university presidents have mobilized their most imposing academic rhetoric in expressing solidarity with Israeli academics and upholding the rights of all to engage in "an open exchange of ideas" and "freedom of association." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jul 26, 07 | 4:58 pm

Mon Jul 16, 2007

Hamas' stand An official of the movement describes its goals for all of Palestine

Damascus, Syria Hamas' rescue of a BBC journalist from his captors in Gaza last week was surely cause for rejoicing. But I want to be clear about one thing: We did not deliver up Alan Johnston as some obsequious boon to Western powers.

It was done as part of our effort to secure Gaza from the lawlessness of militias and violence, no matter what the source. Gaza will be calm land under the rule of law a place where all journalists, foreigners and guests of the Palestinian people will be treated with dignity. Hamas has never supported attacks on Westerners, as even our harshest critics will concede; our struggle has always been focused on the occupier and our legal resistance to it a right of occupied people that is explicitly supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jul 16, 07 | 9:44 am