Petition demands university breaks ties with Technion

January 11, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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An online petition has been created demanding that the University of Sydney cuts ties with the Technion in Israel.

University-of-SydneyThe 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

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.


19 Responses to “Petition demands university breaks ties with Technion”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    It’s good to see the names that appear on the invitation to sign the petition, as the whole ridiculous and ill-informed project should not be assumed as being supported by Sydney University itself. Indeed, the Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Spencer and the majority of the staff do not support it. You have your mixture of crazies and/or extremists in all universities. This lot, however, need to be reined in for the damage they’ll ultimately do to the reputation of U. of S., because most people won’t bother to stop and think in order to dissociate the few from the many.

    Art and academia should always be kept separate from political and ideological restrictions.

  2. Vicki says:

    I thought about sending the below link of a short history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the Students for Palestine, but then I realised they would just delete my message immediately. Honesty in reporting is not what they are on about.

  3. David says:

    I wonder if anyone has performed the exercise of determining how many Nobel laureates have taught or been associated with the Technion and the Hebrew University as opposed to the Universities of Gaza or Bengazi. Or for that matter the University of Sydney itself.

    • Shirlee says:

      One has to wonder what, if anything, is taught that these Universities, if you consider their achievements, or lack thereof.

      There are 9 in Gaza and 13 the West Bank , which includes the Bethlehem Bible College

      • pam says:

        Well, the report says Arab universities excel in falconry and camel reproduction.

        Trouble is, we have more than enough camels in Australia, so I guess these animals have worked out for themselves how to reproduce without the help of the Arab academics.

        As for falconry, I can’t think of too many applications for that skill in australia.

  4. pam says:

    Is this the contribution we want to make Australia the Clever Country?

    06 January 2012
    The Backward Arab World Grows Even More Backward

    Between 1980 and 2000, Korea granted 16,328 patents, while nine Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E., granted a combined total of only 370, many of them registered by foreigners. A study in 1989 found that in one year, the United States published 10,481 scientific papers that were frequently cited, while the entire Arab world published only four. This may sound like the punch line of a bad joke, but when Nature magazine published a sketch of science in the Arab world in 2002, its reporter identified just three scientific areas in which Islamic countries excel: desalination, falconry, and camel reproduction. The recent push to establish new research and science institutions in the Arab world…clearly still has a long way to go. _NewAtlantis

    • Otto Waldmann says:


      how can you leave out the most prolific Arab academic activity: anti Semitism !!!!!!

      • pam says:

        Yes Otto, you’re quite right: they excel at anti-Semitism and of course their propaganda machinery is far superior to anything even the Nazis could have dreamed up. Come to think of it though, the Arabs, led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, helped the Nazis giving them ideas for even more barbarity, including the Final Solution.

        What is even more impressive, Arabs have shared their success at propaganda and historical revision with universities in free countries, thus undermining serious scholarship and rational enquiry, replacing it with conspicacy theories and blatant falsehoods.

  5. pam says:

    I presume that, while seeking to divest from Israeli universities, which are in the forefront of scientific and academic research, these clowns from the University of Sydney would be happy to have collaborative research initiatives with universities from Gaza, Benghazi etc.

    Trouble is, it would be a one way street, as they could learn nothing from such institutions, and the result is, we will see a formerly prestigious Australian sink into total irrelevance.

  6. Naomi says:

    The University of Sydney, its students, and Australians in general would be the losers if this petition were to have any effect. The Technion is demonstrably the more prestigious of the two universities, ranking 78th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2012, while U Sydney ranks only 93rd. In Engineering the disparity is even greater in favour of the Technion. The academics who support a break in ties with the Technion are truly misguided. And if the students who support this petition think that there are no other universities in the world that are involved in the development of weaponry, they, too, are naive. All told, a sad commentary on academic freedom and academic cooperation.

  7. So, a Collective of 2nd and 3rd rate ‘academics’, failed politicians (at local government level only) and ex-hacks, are trying to cut any ties Sydney University has, or may have in the future, with two of the world’s leading – Technion-Israel, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And, of course they promote the BDS campaign against all things Israeli and Jewish. A quick look up of their names and positions soon shows the flavour of these characters and their political affiliations. Seems they wish to drag Sydney University sown to their level od incompetance. Some of these people claim to be historians – so why the lie about the Mt Scopus campus being stolen Palesrinian land? This land was legally purchased way back before the 1st World War, about 1912 from memory.

    Also these Institutions have open student enrolment policies and are two of the few educational institutions in the Mid-East where Palestinians and Arabs can get an advanced education free of any political considerations. See what happens if you were a Jew wanting to enrol in any university in an Islamic country. Does this lot not want to be a part of Technion’s great work in Africa and the poor East bio-gas systems technology bringing energy and health to some of the most deprived peoples on the planet?

    Lastly; ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’? Don’t these ‘clever’ academics know that this is a HAMAS and Islamic terrorist front and that the SJP has long been an Iranian client and gives active support for murder. Check out their web-site that lists “Activities include promoting Iranian plans for Genocide [of Jews].”

    Sydney University should sack these hate-mongers – who by the way all live on land actually stolen from from dispossessed and/or murdered Aboriginies but you don’t hear them protesting about that.

  8. David says:

    Online petitions are a dime a dozen (OK 10¢ a dozen). Surely the best way to counter this is an online petition that Sydney University increase its ties with the Technion?

  9. Hello says:

    ALL good people, Jewish, Christian and other who see this NEED to step up and speak out against these disgusting, evil, antisemitic BDS scumbags.

    YOU have to do it. YOU! Because not enough people are countering them. These BDS maniacs are organized and obsessed, and YOU have to step up and take action, countering them, AND BEING SURE to reach out to OTHER PEOPLE, and reaching out to IMPORTANT people that the BDS scum are trying to sway, and explain to important people that these BDS maniacs are not promoting peace, but just promoting DISCRIMINATION against Israeli Jewish people, using reasons/standards they would never apply to anyone else.

  10. Otto Waldmann says:

    What a delight that I no longer have to watch Mary Kostakidis’ expression of disgust each time she had to utter the name of Israel while reading the news on SBS.
    I fully agree with everyone, but more so with Shirlee. These people are nauseous and also utterly ineffective. Yet, their effectiveness is most definitely not the result of the highly charged Jewish communal response, AUJUS youthful and energetic counter-strategies included…………

  11. Michael says:

    I notice as ussual the deadly silence and no counter public protests or letters supporting Israel to the media from j ewish academics ( there must be hundreds of Jewish academics Australia wide )
    Of course as ussual there is also deadly silence from The head and academics of the largest Jewish study department at Monash ( funded by the Jewish community)
    Whilst the Palestinians can rely on Arab/ Islamic study departments and Arab/ Muslim academics for their full public support our Jewish academics ( with two exceptions ) don’t have the balls to stand up and be counted to counter the epidemic of anti -Zionism- anti semetism and self hating Jews at our Universtities .


  12. Joel says:

    It is an absolute indictment on the ” Lynch Mob.” to bring disrepute to Australia’s Institutions of higher learning, by association.

    It is widely recognised World Wide, the contribution of the Technion and the Hebrew University to humanitarian causes, medicine, science and technology.


    • Shirlee says:

      I wouldn’t be worried about it if I were you Joel. The petition has been running for a while and they are having trouble garnering support.

      UNSYD is not worried. they were embarrassed initially but were happy when Dan Avnon received a ‘better offer’ from another faculty.

      I am disappointed by the fact that this irresponsible action by a few ‘crack pots’ has been given air space here. These people are best ignored

  13. Rita says:

    As their incitement to Judenhass intensifies, so their formerly good academic and ethical reputation bites the sand.

    I dont know if the signature by one Dr. Nick Riemer belongs to the son of Andrew Rieme, an excellent author and, as I remember him, an outspoken defender of what’s right and ethical, but if it does I wonder what his father makes of this, who surely would remember the first time when this kind of vilification happened to his people.

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