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Geopolitical cowardice: McGill’s ties to Israeli universities


McGill is complicit in Israeli Apartheid. This is something that should not be forgotten as we arrive at the end of this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week. Apartheid is defined as a crime against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group” by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

McGill students must acknowledge our university’s active involvement with Israeli universities that conduct arms and weapons research for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). We, as students of this institution, should speak out against these ties.

The land of Palestine, which has been inhabited by Arabs for more than 1,000 years, is currently occupied by the state of Israel. Illegal settlements, restrictive checkpoints, and the denial of basic necessities – such as medical treatment and the supply of clean water – all perpetuate a state of apartheid in occupied Palestinian territories.

McGill claims that its academic ties are politically neutral and solely research-oriented. This argument is an easy way out and willfully dismisses Israeli universities’ military research, and their contribution to apartheid. McGill has a memorandum of understanding with Tel Aviv University, which described itself as being on “the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge” in its 2008 winter review. McGill also partners with the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, which, according to an article published in the Nation in March, conducts “research and development into military technology that Israel relies on to sustain its occupation of Palestinian land.”

Affiliation is a political statement. Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) is a disaffiliation campaign launched by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in 2005, based on the successful divestment campaigns which helped to end the apartheid regime in South Africa. McGill’s partnerships are not politically neutral, and it must break ties with Israeli universities to end its support for Israeli Apartheid.

To sign a petition to the Board of Governors regarding divestment from McGill’s connections to Israel’s illegal settlements, go to

— The McGill Daily Editorial Board