University Faculty Demand an End to Genocidal Attack on Gaza
Faculty for Palestine expresses our unwavering support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people. We heed the call from our colleagues at Birzeit University on international academic institutions to intervene immediately to stop the genocide being waged against the Palestinian people. We mourn losses from all sides, and affirm that all human life has equal value. As scholars, we recognize that the current situation finds its roots in the 75-year Israeli occupation of Palestine accomplished through a settler colonial apartheid regime.
We condemn the major powers of the world for actively supporting Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza. Israel has cut off the passage of food, water, electricity, medicine, and fuel to Gaza. UN aid agencies are faced with reducing their operations. Journalists, medics, hospitals, and educational institutions are systematically being targeted. Israel’s bombardment has struck approximately 185 educational facilities, including UNRWA schools and the Islamic University, which has been partially destroyed. As we write, over 7000 Palestinians have been reported killed in Gaza; among the dead, 3000 children and entire families have been wiped out. 1.1 million people have been forced to evacuate their homes, towns and cities in northern Gaza as uninterrupted bombing has destroyed many areas, including over 60,000 residential units. Telecommunication towers and cables have been destroyed further disabling an already collapsed health care system. The communication blackout has cut off Gazan’s from the outside world.
As an organization of academic workers located in the settler state known as Canada, we condemn the Canadian government’s refusal to demand an end to the genocide by supporting an immediate ceasefire being called for by governments, diplomats, human rights organizations, trade unions, the UN, and civil society across the world. In fact, Canada is complicit in the oppression of Palestinians as it has a history of selling military technology to Israel, $21-million in 2022 alone, and maintains extensive economic ties with this occupying power. We refuse to remain silent as we watch a systematic genocide underway supported by major western powers.
The current events in Israel-Palestine have context and histories which have been largely erased by the statements released at Canadian Universities, and the mainstream media provides erroneous or one-sided news reporting that dehumanizes the Palestinian people. The Israeli state uses massacres, expulsion, demolition, siege, expanding illegal settlements, checkpoints, blockade, and the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, including children across all of Palestine. In Gaza the majority of the people are refugees from 1948, who have been living under a 16-year siege, and are at immediate risk of genocide.
We observe the narrowing of permissible speech in Canada and note with alarm increased attacks upon academic freedom at several universities across the country, as disciplinary actions are being issued against students, faculty, student organizations and unions that have spoken out or issued statements critical of Israeli policies or expressing solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Faculty for Palestine opposes all forms of racism including anti-Palestinian racism, Islamophobia and anti-semitism. We note with alarm the increased targeting of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and allied communities of students, faculty, and staff across universities and call on administrations to put an end to the harassment and sanctions these groups are facing. Universities and colleges across Canada have a responsibility to ensure that all their members are free from censorship, violence, intimidation, doxxing, harassment, and bullying. Universities also have the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right to academic freedom and freedom of speech on their campuses.
Faculty for Palestine demands that Canadian universities uphold academic freedom, freedom of speech, and end all collaborations with Israel. We demand that universities:
- Protect academic freedom and the rights of students, staff, and faculty to critique the state of Israel and its genocidal violence against Palestinians
- Reject the censorship of critical and engaged scholarship on Israel and Palestine
- End the censorship and criminalization of support for Palestine
- Stop conflating criticism of the Israeli state and its policies with anti-semitism
- End their complicity in Israel’s apartheid regime by, among other things, canceling all joint projects and activities with complicit Israeli universities
Faculty for Palestine demands that the Canadian government to take a stand against genocide. We demand:
- An immediate ceasefire
- Humanitarian aid into Gaza
- UN protection for Palestinians in Gaza
- A stop to the mischaracterization of calls for justice as anti-semitism
We demand concrete efforts to stop a genocidal war. We call on our colleagues at Canadian universities and colleges to demand justice for all oppressed and colonized people especially the Palestinians. We remain steadfast in our view that a political solution that is premised on equality, justice, and freedom of the Palestinian people is the only path forward.
As always, our hearts are with the people of Palestine. Ceasefire Now! •