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Employee Union At Top Canadian University Calls on Teachers to Condemn Israel

York University in Ontario, Canada. Photo: Andrei Sedoff via Wikimedia Commons.

Union members at York University, the country’s third largest, have been instructed to condemn Israel, according to a training booklet distributed by the university’s employee union.

The union, CUPE 3093, says Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, is operating in the war with “unrestrained confidence to carry out genocidal violence… through the discursive levitation and material support of Western imperialist nations.”

The 15-page booklet, titled “A Toolkit on Teaching Palestine,” also calls Israel a “murderous colonial project,” and calls organizations such as Hillel a “Zionist cultural institution.” The booklet also seeks to educate professors how to approach anti-Israel discourse in class, giving an example: “Today, I open up our classroom to bring our attention on Gaza, to speak up and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement, and contribute in ending Canada’s and York’s complicity with genocide and the settler-colonial occupation of Palestinian land and life.” It also gives the tells professors they will be supported by the organization if attacked for such discourse.

CUPE 3093 tells professors “We all have a moral, professional, and collective human imperative to speak, teach, and be in solidarity with Palestine.” More so, they offer resources in how to dispel “Israel’s pink/rainbow-washing, as well as other resources on identifying and combating the myths of Zionism.”

As if to conflate their entire existence with the Palestinian cause, the employee union even added the Palestinian flag into their logo. The university itself condemned the union, saying “York’s commitment to support and uphold academic freedom, and freedom of expression within the limits of the law, remains the same. It is true that there will be some courses and seminars where dialogue about events in the world can be relevant; it needs to happen in a respectful manner that allows for the expression of diverse perspectives in an inclusive learning environment. In this regard, the university informed the community that we do not find the ‘Toolkit on Teaching Palestine’, which calls on union members to divert their teaching from the curriculum, to be consistent with the university’s expectations as an employer, the needs of the students and the legitimate claims of the community.”

The union has a history of anti-Israel sentiment, saying shortly after the war started when Hamas terrorists killed over 1,200 Israelis and took hostage more than 240 during their invasion of southern Israel that it was Israel’s fault, and due to the “apartheid, genocide and violence on the part of [Israel.]”

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Israeli-Palestinian peace group Standing Together pushes back after founding member of BDS campaign calls to boycott it

(JTA) — Palestinian activists within Israel and outside of it are arguing over whether to boycott a leading Israeli peace organization, and are accusing each other of playing into the Israeli government’s hands.

The public debate concerns Standing Together, a joint Jewish-Arab Israeli activist group with more than 5,000 members. The group has drawn international attention in recent months for being one of the loudest voices in Israel pushing for an end the Israel-Hamas war and for renewed efforts toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.

But last week, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, or PACBI, issued a call for “conscientious people” to boycott Standing Together, charging it with seeking “to distract from and whitewash Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

The group is a founding member of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, known as BDS. Its statement came on the eve International Court of Justice’s preliminary ruling on South Africa’s genocide charge against Israel.

“By trying to paint Israel as a tolerant, diverse, and normal state, and focusing on ‘hatred’ rather than oppression as the problem, this organization is intellectually dishonest and outright complicit,” the statement said. “It is serving a key role in Israel’s international propaganda strategy at this time.”

Prior to the boycott call, Standing Together was already facing marginalization in Israel, where calls for a ceasefire have been rare and the vast majority of Israeli Jews support the conduct of Israeli soldiers. On Tuesday, the group’s Israeli Arab membership, identifying as Palestinian citizens of Israel, issued a statement denouncing PACBI’s boycott call and saying that it only contributed to what it called the Israeli government’s crackdown on antiwar voices.

“Our ability to speak, act, or effect change under a fascist government is already severely limited and seems to be diminishing further,” the statement said. “Efforts to silence and isolate Standing Together do not serve the Palestinian cause, they serve the interests of Israel’s political establishment, which is also attempting to silence us.”

The statement, which was unsigned and issued through a Standing Together social media account, said the group “has provided us and tens of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel a safe political refuge during these challenging times, a place to demand a ceasefire, grieve safely, and organize for a future where we are free and equal in our homeland.

The group’s leadership includes both Palestinian and Jewish Israelis. It is preparing for its upcoming leadership elections as well as a major “peace gathering” in Haifa this week.

Standing Together has found a new audience, since Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion sparked the war, for its vision of “peace, equality, and social and climate justice.” Inside the country, the group has seen attendance at its rallies grow, although it lacks supporters in Israel’s parliament as well as a plan to implement its ideas on a wide scale. Abroad, the group has found new fans on social media, particularly after two of its leaders, Alon-Lee Green and Sally Abed, embarked on a U.S. tour.

Its prominence has made it a target of Palestinians who oppose any initiatives that engage with Israel as a legitimate country. Founded in Ramallah in 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics, PACBI has long opposed efforts for Jewish Israelis and Palestinians to work together on those grounds. In 2009, the group’s opposition to a joint Israeli-Palestinian musical tour by Leonard Cohen led to the cancellation of his planned concert in Ramallah after several shows in Israel.

The group’s criticism of Standing Together elicited an array of responses last week, both on social media and on an internal Whatsapp group for Standing Together members in the Tel Aviv area.

On the WhatsApp group, some said they saw the statement as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth, while others dismissed the BDS movement and its member groups as out of touch with reality on the ground in Israel.

On X, formerly Twitter, Monica Marks, a professor of Middle East politics at NYU Abu Dhabi who supports Standing Together, described PACBI’s statement as “counter-productive, circular firing squad purism.”

Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib, who describes himself as a “Proud American from Gaza City” who is “pro-Palestine, anti-Hamas & violence,” harshly criticized the statement in a lengthy post on X.

“The movement is doing tremendous harm to the pro-Palestine movement by attacking Jewish and Israeli allies and is an increasingly fringe, radical effort that is going nowhere. Engaging with diverse Jewish/Israeli audiences, and yes, that includes pro-Israel Zionists, should be normalized, not criminalized,” he wrote.

“They’re trying to operate within the mainstream landscape to be effective and become a political home for diverse Israeli audiences disillusioned with the Netanyahu/rightwing regime,”Alkhatib added, referring to Standing Together. “That’s how you build effective power, not by appealing to fringe elements within the BDS/pro-Palestine movement.”

The post Israeli-Palestinian peace group Standing Together pushes back after founding member of BDS campaign calls to boycott it appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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IDF Soldiers Saved by Trusted Canine Partner

Soldiers in the IDF’s elite Oketz canine unit take a break with one of their dogs. Photo: IDF via Wikimedia Commons.

Details of how a dog in one of the IDF most elite units saved the lives of six soldiers in Gaza, as the wounded recount the canine’s heroism.

In an interview with Hebrew media, Sergeant N. of the Oketz unit, a counterterrorism force that uses specially trained dogs for their missions, told how his dog Ziggy was killed by two Hamas terrorists in Khan Yunus early in January.

“I entered the house with the force of the 101st Paratrooper and Engineering Battalion. We did a scan on the first floor, I insisted that the devoted dog Ziggy also do a scan on the second floor of the residence. As soon as he came down the staircase of the house in Khan Yunis, the terrorists shot at him, and Ziggy was killed on the spot. He saved my life and the lives of six other fighters who were in the building,” he said.

In the process of the close range combat, N. and some of his unit mates were injured. He told that currently he is “Hospitalized in the orthopedic department, suffering from a problem with my knee, which received a terrible blow from shrapnel. I got a lot of shrapnel on my left side from a shot, but I am making progress here in the rehabilitation department, and I especially miss my dog ​​Ziggy, who was with me from a very young age… My hero and beloved dog Ziggy, who was close to me for a year and a half, saved my life and the lives of the other fighters.”

Ziggy’s body was brought back to Israel, where it is sitting in a refrigerator for burial as soon as N. and those from his unit are better, so they can be there for the funeral. N. added “I hope I will recover soon and then I will come with the friends he saved and bring my hero dog to the burial… and, of course, I will return to our amazing unit.”

The IDF’s canine unit is revered around the world, with many countries even purchasing some, such as India, to assist their forces. The dogs are specially trained to attack and neutralize terrorists. The dogs are Belgian Shepherds, and have the ability to search for weapons, find explosives, and save people buried under rubble. At the end of their service, the dogs are usually taken by their handlers for civilian life.


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Doorstep Postings: Divestments and derangements abound as Israel at war remained a trending topic in Ottawa throughout January 2024

This is a special edition of Doorstep Postings, the periodic political commentary column written by Josh Lieblein for The CJN. Justin Trudeau, to his credit, has done a seemingly impossible thing and united Israel’s allies and its enemies on a crucial point. Both sides absolutely can’t stand him!  Could this prime minister actually bring about peace […]

The post Doorstep Postings: Divestments and derangements abound as Israel at war remained a trending topic in Ottawa throughout January 2024 appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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