Contrary to Moe Nasr’s knee-jerk condemnation of McGill’s partnership with Israeli universities in “64 Bullets from McGill to Tel Aviv” (Commentary, September 24, page 6), McGill’s initiative is an opportunity for constructive dialogue in a region of conflict that is a locus of campus activism. Although the author suggested that this partnership is a guise for the support of the Israeli government’s policies, a university partnership is independent from the politics of its country.
Analogous to our own school, the faculty and students that generate the research at McGill will be fortunate enough to come from a variety of different backgrounds and political orientations. Although the author alluded to one professor’s rationale for defense techniques, he did not make reference to the boisterous student activism that permeates the heterogeneous student bodies at Israeli universities. Just like at McGill, Israeli students and staff are not required to be complicit with the actions of their government. Like in any democratic country, universities are incubators for intellectual discourse and provide a safe forum for dissension, Israel being no exception. Through my internship at OneVoice, a movement advocating a two-state solution, I was exposed to campus activism that openly criticizes many political policies the author refers to. Although the author claims McGill implicitly supports the Israeli policies towards Palestinians, many Israeli students certainly do not.
Nevertheless, while ignoring some of the heinous punishment endured by Palestinians who “collaborate” with Israelis, or the reprehensible persecution of homosexuals in the Palestinian Authority, the author implores McGill to support Palestinian academia. McGill should offer its students and faculty the opportunity to engage with the brightest of the international community, regardless of their geographical provenance. We have been offered an opportunity to globalize our campus activism and we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of the chance to interact with those at the forefront of the conflict.
U2 Religious Studies and Economics