Petition demands university breaks ties with Technion
An online petition has been created demanding that the University of Sydney cuts ties with the Technion in Israel.
The invitation to sign the petition has been made by “Ailin” and “Adam” on behalf of Students for Justice in Palestine (USyd) and contains the words ” Support Dr Jake Lynch’s Academic Boycott of Israel and End Collaboration with the criminal Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.”
Signatures appearing on their invitation include:
Students for Justice in Palestine, University of Sydney
Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist and author
Mary Kostakidis, Convener of the Peace Prize jury and co-winner of the University of Sydney Alumni Award for Community Achievement
Jake Lynch, Associate Professor and Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies Dr Nick Riemer, Senior Lecturer, English and Linguistics departments, University of Sydney
Dr Tim Anderson, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees AM, Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation
Honorary Professor John Docker, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry Frank Stilwell, Professor Emeritus in Political Economy, University of Sydney
Dr Evan Jones, Honorary Associate in Political Economy, University of Sydney
Dr Ken Macnab, President, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney
Cathy Peters, ex-councillor for Marrickville
Fiona Byrne, ex-mayor of Marrickville University of Sydney Greens on Campus Society
Dr Michael Grewcock, Lecturer, University of New South Wales Solidarity
They have demanded
i) That the University Senate, Senior Executive Group (SEG) and Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence immediately establish a policy to end all existing and further academic, research and student exchange relationships with the Technion.
ii) That the the University Senate, Senior Executive Group (SEG), Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School and Professor Merrilyn Walton Associate Dean (International), Sydney Medical School and Director of the Office for Global Health immediately end the current partnership between the Technion and the University of Sydney Health Faculties.
In their release they state
“We the undersigned would like to express our support for Associate Professor Jake Lynch’s recent refusal to assist Israeli academic Dan Avnon of Hebrew University. Lynch is director of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS). To accept Avnon’s proposed fellowship between the institutions would have violated the CPACS’s official commitment to the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign which includes a boycott of institutional links with Israeli universities.
BDS is not an “extreme” or “radical” policy as has been made out in The Australian’s coverage of the boycott and university management’s attempts to distance themselves from it. Israel is a state that systematically defies international law. It has occupied Palestinian territories in defiance of the UN Security Council for over 40 years, expanding illegal settlements. The International Court of Justice condemned Israel’s apartheid wall in the West Bank as “illegal” in 2004 and a UN investigation of the 2009 Gaza war condemned Israel for “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention” in targeting civilians. In November 2012 Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, “Pillar of Cloud”, killed 157 Palestinians including dozens of children. Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians was described as a “war crime” by Human Rights Watch and was immediately followed by Israel announcing plans to build 1500 new settlement homes on illegally occupied Palestinian land.
The Vice Chancellor Michael Spence argues that the Australian Government’s diplomatic relations with Israel make the university boycott “inappropriate”. However, it is the failure of such local and international foreign policy to seriously challenge Israel’s disregard for international law that makes the BDS necessary. It is a non-violent and effective way to help end Israeli impunity and move towards the realisation of the Palestinians’ rights. The target of the CPACS’s boycott could not be more appropriate. The Hebrew University is clearly implicated in the illegal occupation with internationally recognised Palestinian land stolen for its Mount Scopus campus.
The CPAC’s stance has made clear that the University of Sydney’s institutional partnerships should not come at the expense of Palestinians’ human rights. It is thus troubling to observe the strong relationship between the University of Sydney and the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology. The Technion, through its ties to arms manufacturing and development, is an Israeli university uniquely and directly implicated in war crimes.The Technion’s research history includes the development of the remote control D9 bulldozer used to demolish Palestinian homes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and it has strong links to Elbit Systems – the company that produces technology for the apartheid wall declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.”
J-Wire was told by Sydney University that Dr Spence was currently on leave.