U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Friday, June 29, 2007

U of O’s Patry weighs in to defend academic freedom


Orwell would be proud…

No U of O president has ever made a public statement to denounce Israel’s immoral and brutal (now 40-year) occupation of Palestine – a strangle-hold that can only be characterized as a genocidal impoundment under severe economic and civil liberty restrictions, including regular military violence against civilians and state-sanctioned political executions; not too unlike Canada’s own treatment of indigenous peoples, that has also not been denounced by U of O presidents.

Indeed, university presidents in these times rarely take stands of principle but mainly promote an institutional image and congratulate their corporate donors.

Yet U of O’s President Gilles Patry recently felt compelled to speak out against the threat to academic freedom posed by a UK University and College Union (UCU) resolution to encourage and study a possible boycott of Israeli universities.

The president’s statement parrots similar statements made by US university presidents, thereby giving deep integration an academic dimension.

The president’s “argument” is that boycotting Israeli academia (that has been complicit in the occupation) can only move one away from a resolution. That would be true if Israeli academia were visibly and significantly opposing the occupation rather than collaborating with it.

Patry has hauled out the convenient myth that tenured professors, by virtue of their academic freedom, naturally fight injustice and side with the oppressed. It follows, in Patry’s fairy tale scenario, that limiting academic freedom of association and collaboration (not of research and expression) with a boycott would only hinder progression to a more just world.

This is analogous to arguing that, given the myth of economic trickledown, the economic boycott of South Africa only frustrated an inevitable progression towards more democracy.

Notable exceptions notwithstanding, academics serve and legitimize power, are true to their class, and make students into obedient employees that accept and defend the logic of systemic oppression. This is what makes the UCU and its resolution so extraordinary. (It must have been hijacked by activists, as apologists have explained. Or maybe it’s the ‘Colleges’ component?)

Media bias and U of O’s affiliation with CanWest notwithstanding, Patry’s statement is either ignorant or disingenuous and politically motivated. I believe it is mostly the latter, in which case it will not matter to its author that it is wrong. If there is a movement in North America for university executives to denounce the UCU then to not join this movement is to invite Israeli lobby contempt. To join is to make points with the Israeli lobby and its parliamentary allies.

“Canada’s University” knows when to l*ck *ss.

RELATED LINKS:
Gabriel Ash – Why Boycott Israel?
IHRNASS-Executive - In Support of Academic Freedom
Jason Kunin – Supporting CUPE’s Israel Boycott
Steven Rose – Why Pick on Israel?
Tanya Reinhart – Why Academic Boycott
.
[Photo credit: University of Ottawa]

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Patry has hauled out the convenient myth that tenured professors, by virtue of their academic freedom,[...]

Given the fact that you also seem to consider climate change a myth and seem to regard at least some of your colleagues with some disdain, this is not terribly persuasive.

This is what makes the UCU and its resolution so extraordinary. (It must have been hijacked by activists, as apologists have explained. Or maybe it’s the ‘Colleges’ component?)

Or maybe it's antisemitism.

Many institutions and governments (arguably most) are arguably 'complicit' in the Palestinian crisis, including the 'friendly' neighbor states that helped to create generations of refugees, and even some of the Palestinians themselves.

In fact, several Israeli academics have, as Hickey himself noted, 'separated themselves from collusion with the occupation', this despite the fact that many academics see less of a need to constantly voice their personal politics than you. I'll refer you to the Jewish Academic network for Israeli-Palestinian Peace for more.

John said...

Yes, that's it. The framers and majority of the membership within UCU who voted for this resolution are motivated by anti-semitism. Give me a break. If I were Jewish, you would probably call me "self-hating".

Israel is the fourth largest military power in the world. This military power is used, in part, to maintain a brutal and unlawful occupation. No matter how many rhetorical cartwheels apologists do to divert attention, Western imperialism in the Middle East (yes, a bigger matter than Israel alone, tens of bilions $US a year in military support from the US to Israel notwithstanding) has promoted and sustained the injustices of war and occupation on Palestinian and other Arab populations, including most especially Iraqis and the several thousand Lebanese slaughtered in state terrorism last summer.

Anonymous said...

Israel is the fourth largest military power in the world. This military power is used, in part, to maintain a brutal and unlawful occupation.

Which laws are you going by?

Israel has consistently opted for peace when it was proffered, including with Egypt and al-Sadat, only 6 years after they tried (and almost succeeded) to wipe Israel off the map along with the other Arab states.

Accepting a peace with Israel got al-Sadat killed of course.

There's heroes and villains on both sides, but I guess that doesn't fit within your conceptual framework.

The Palestinian problem is a real one, and was created at least as much by other Arab states as Israel. They have a legitimate beef.

The 'occupation' of the other Arab lands is a direct result of their failed invasion(s) of Israel. Pretending they occupy any sort of moral high ground or are innocent victimis is preposterous.