We don’t want to be anti-anything so the title of this link may offend and we can only apologise. Please let’s focus on the message rather than throw stones at the messenger. Any such action, anywhere in this world should be condemned and that alone allows us the right to put this here.
Israeli” Occupational Forces unleash a dog on an elderly woman…keep
Palestine in your prayers…”
Watch the terror unfold
Sri Lanka government plans to defeat terrorism
Mon, 2007-03-26 14:55 Sunil C. Perera – Reporting from
Lib Dems: EU must address climate change and terrorism
Monday, 26 Mar 2007 10:32 Menzies Campbell has said the European Union must tackle climate change, terrorism and energy security if it is to meet the challenges of the 21st century.The Liberal Democrat leader was speaking to mark the signing of the Berlin Declaration which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.Sir Menzies said: “It is fitting that Berlin, once the symbol of a divided Europe, should be the scene for a celebration of a free and united
By Ben Norman
On the 22nd March two Motions were presented to the student’s Union council calling for an end to investment in the arms trade and for support for Twinning Portsmouth University with Ar Ram College in Palestine.
The first motion to be put before the students called for the University to implement an ethical investment policy which means that student’s fees will no longer be invested in the Arms trade. CAAT (Campaign against the arms trade) launched its clean up our universities campaign and published a list of all universities who invest in companies such as BAE systems, Lockheed martin or Smiths Aerospace who manufacture weapons. Until this year Portsmouth had no invested in the arms trade but it seems that this was due more to circumstance then intention as the University has recently invested £23,000 or 3% of its total investment in Smiths Aerospace (SA). SA manufacture the rotary blades of apache gun ships, used as weapons of terror in Gaza and the West bank. They also manufacture targeting equipment for the challenger two tank and the Euro fighter, a squadron of which were recently sold to Saudi Arabia. The passing of this motion sends a strong message to John Craven that Portsmouth students will not allow their money to be spent on weapons of War, weapons which have been used to target and murder innocent civilians.
The second motion called for support for the Portsmouth-Palestine Twinning initiative. This motion passed almost unanimously and gave campaigning students a clear mandate to push ahead to twin Portsmouth with Ar Ram college. Ar Ram is a town on the road between Jerusalem and Ramallah. This road is of vital strategic importance to the Israelis as it connects the capital to the largest town in the West Bank. In fact Ar Ram was the first town to be occupied when the Israeli army invaded the West Bank in 1967 and so epitomises the forty-year occupation.
This week also witnessed the first positive development of the Palestinian humanitarian crisis with the creation of the Palestinian coalition government and the recognition of that government by Norway. The infighting between Al Fatah and Hamas has crippled the Palestinian authority since Hamas won their surprise election victory last year. After months of bitter political stalemate and violent street clashes delegates from both parties held a crisis summit in Saudi Arabia and brokered a power sharing deal.
The recognition of this coalition government by Norway could also have strong implications. Unlikely as it may seem Norway have been a strong player in the recent history of the campaign. The Oslo accords, which saw the PLO officially recognised by Israel was orchestrated by Norwegian diplomats. Norway has also been a key provider of economic aid until the Hamas election and the economic boycott. Whilst Norway is not a member of the EU it is understood that the European Union, Russia and the United Nations will follow the Norwegian precedence and reinstate the much needed economic aid. This would leave only the American and British governments which continue to not recognise the Palestinian government.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those students who have been involved in the Portsmouth-Palestine campaign and to all those who are continuing to take this project forward.
By Ben Norman
Below are the motions which have now been passed:
Union council Motion: Portsmouth-Palestine twinning initiative:
This Union believes:
• The occupation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank and Gaza is the longest military occupation in recent history. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war, which saw Israeli troops first occupy this territory.
• The construction of the West Bank partition wall is an act deemed Illegal by both the United Nations and the International criminal court in The Hague. It illegally transcends the borders agreed by the United Nations in 1963 and is tantamount to an act of Apartheid by the Israeli government.
• The partition wall besieging the West Bank is three times the size of the Berlin wall, and stretches the same distance that lies between London and Zurich.
• The security barrier surrounding Gaza has turned the city into the world’s largest open prison and alongside the closure of the airport and the naval blockade of the port amounts to economic sanctions against one of the poorest regions on earth.
• The Partition wall has cut though Palestinian land, residential areas, schools and universities thereby destroying homes and livelihoods. The wall has cut though the middle of East Jerusalem University resulting in students having to risk their life to attend lectures.
• Since the start of the Intifada in 2000 the IDF has commended most schools, colleges and universities in Gaza thus outlawing education for many Palestinians
• The cutting of aid from the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United states has added to occupation and resulted in a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.
The Union resolves:
• To support the Palestinian right to Education in recognition of the fact the education is the key to understanding and peace, not hatred and violence.
• To Twin with a university or educational institution in the occupied Palestinian territory following the efforts of students in the Portsmouth to Palestine twinning initiative pioneered by the Arab society.
Union council Motion: Campaign against the Arms Trade:
This Union believes:
• In 2006 the British government though the office of the DESO (Defence export service organisation) sold £24 million of military aid to Israel in the form of cluster bombs, surface to air missiles, tank parts and landrovers. These weapons were then used in the invasion of Lebanon in August 2006 against civilians in actions, which the United Nations deemed as war crimes.
• That British companies such as Caterpillar which are not directly in the arms trade profit directly from the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Caterpillar continues to sell D-9 Bulldozers to the Israeli defence force with the knowledge that they are being used to destroy the houses of Palestinians and the construction of the West-Bank partition wall.
• That the British government uses the offices of the DESO to send military aid to support despotic regimes around the world. This includes the continued sale of Land rovers and tank parts to Turkmenistan and Burma.
• That since 2003 the British government have indirectly armed paramilitary death squads in Columbia by selling weaponry to the Columbian government. These paramilitaries continue to carry out acts of intimidation, kidnap and murder against trade union members as is the case of the murdered Coca-Cola workers in 2003.
• That at this moment Portsmouth University is the only university not to invest directly in the Arms trade. This situation however is due to circumstance not intention.
The Union resolves:
• To join the Campaign against the Arms trade (CAAT) initiative to “clean up our universities” by making it official policy not to invest in the arms trade or companies which profit directly from the oppression of people. I.E BAE Systems or Caterpillar. Money from students should not be invested in companies who profit from the military oppression of innocent people.
By Patricia Lamiell
This is a brilliant story about a few people willing to put aside differences and try to find the bond between them. Hard as it must have been, this is a success story that need to be replicated globally.
“Two years ago, Josephs approached Ambar with a proposal to create the Middle East Coexistence House. For Ambar, the timing was perfect. “Our living-learning communities synergistically link academic departments, centers and institutions, student and residence life, and the mission of the college to educate and offer special programs for women,” Ambar said. “So when Danielle Josephs came to me two years ago … it was easy for me to say yes.”
Individually, the students are pursuing a wide range of academic studies, from political science to Middle Eastern studies to English literature. They gather in the residence hall lobby once a week for a class that covers the history, cultures, and current events in the Middle East. A conflict resolution class is taught by Miranda Vata, a doctoral candidate in global affairs at Rutgers-Newark of Albanian descent who lived through the civil war in the former Yugoslavia as a teenager”.
Leave you to read the rest yourself.
This really made me laugh, it has to be a brilliant story.
Somebody should write a book about it..
He even advertised himself but, oh dear! “with no interest”
Now that is just sooooooo sad!
Tory Escapes Jail For Pimping Woman
Tuesday March 20, 11:50 AM
“A Tory councillor who sold a woman with learning difficulties for sex has been given a 12-month suspended jail sentence. Alan Burkitt, of West Bromwich, in the West Midlands, advertised the woman on the internet to help pay his mortgage. More than 20 men paid for her services at his home while he sat in the room next door.
Prosecutor Stuart Clarkson told Wolverhampton Crown Court the woman had mild learning disabilities and an IQ of 52.
He said men paid her £50 for intercourse and over several months she earned around £1,300.
Burkitt, of Beaconview Road, claimed the woman, who cannot be named, consented to the work.
He also claimed he advertised himself on the same website, but did not attract much interest.
The 47-year-old represents Charlemont with Grove Vale ward for Sandwell Council.
He pleaded guilty to causing or inciting prostitution”
Leading climate change experts have thrown their weight behind two scientists who hit out at the “Hollywoodisation” of global warming.Professors Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier, both Royal Meteorological Society figures, criticised fellow scientists they accuse of “overplaying” the message.
The pair spoke at a conference in Oxford entitled Making Sense of Weather and Climate and organised by Sense about Science, a scientific trust set up to help dispel the myths surrounding polemic issues such as climate change.
Prof Collier said while there is “no doubt” that climate change is happening and is to an extent man-made, it is not yet proven by isolated climatic events such as the Boscastle floods.
He said: “There is always a danger of crying wolf. We have to be careful as scientists that we present the facts and don’t exaggerate things because it can undermine credibility in the long term.”
Professor Hardaker warned against the “Hollywoodisation” of weather and climate seen in films such as the 2004 smash hit film The Day After Tomorrow, which depicts terrifying consequences after the melting of the Arctic ice shelf.
His comments have been backed by other leading figures in the debate.
Dr Peter Stott, manager of understanding and attributing climate change at the Hadley Centre for Climate Change, said he believes scientists have to make it clear there is a long way to go until we know how bad climate change will be.
He said: “There is a lot more research to do to understand about exactly what effects its going to have on you and me in the future.”
Professor Tim Palmer, of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, called for better technology and computers to be developed to help climatologists to predict the future more precisely. He said: “There are still big scientific uncertainties such as how is the weather going to change with global warming.
“Hamas ban Palestinian folktale book” Copied here from:
The authors have joined an illustrious group of writers who have had their books banned for a whole variety of ludicrous reasons Bannings and Burnings gives a glimpse of human frailty.
……..“The 400-page book, Speak, Bird, Speak Again, was compiled by Sharif Kanaana, a professor of anthropology and folklore at the West Bank’sBirZeit University, and by Ibrahim Muhawi, a teacher of Arabic literature and the theory of translation. Dr Kanaana told the BBC news website that he worried that banning the book could be the start of a new trend. “I think that everyone is concerned that this could happen again,” he says. “It’s a question of principle: Is this going to start happening to other books?”
(Potted history, in no way exhaustive!)
259–210 B.C.: The Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti is said to have buried alive 460 Confucian scholars to control the writing of history in his time. In 212 B.C., he burned all the books in his kingdom, retaining only a single copy of each for the Royal Library—and those were destroyed before his death. With all previous historical records destroyed, he thought history could be said to begin with him.
A.D. 8: The Roman poet Ovid was banished from Rome for writing Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love). He died in exile in Greece eight years later. All Ovid’s works were burned by Savonarola in Florence in 1497, and an English translation of Ars Amatoria was banned by U.S. Customs in 1928.35: The Roman emperor Caligula opposed the reading of The Odyssey by Homer, written more than 300 years before. He thought the epic poem was dangerous because it expressed Greek ideas of freedom.
640: According to legend, the caliph Omar burned all 200,000 volumes in the library at Alexandria in
Egypt. In doing so, he said: “If these writings of the Greeks agree with the Book of God they are useless and need not be preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious and ought to be destroyed.” In burning the books, the caliph provided six months’ fuel to warm the city’s baths.
1497–98: Savonarola, a Florentine religious fanatic with a large following, was one of the most notorious and powerful of all censors. In these years, he instigated great “bonfires of the vanities” which destroyed books and paintings by some of the greatest artists of Florence. He persuaded the artists themselves to bring their works—including drawings of nudes—to the bonfires. Some poets decided they should no longer write in verse because they were persuaded that their lines were wicked and impure. Popular songs were denounced, and some were turned into hymns with new pious lyrics. Ironically, in May of 1498 another great bonfire was lit—this time under Savonarola who hung from a cross. With him were burned all his writings, sermons, essays, and pamphlets.
1525: Six thousand copies of William Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament were printed in Cologne, Germany, and smuggled into England—and then burned by the English church. Church authorities were determined that the Bible would be available only in Latin.
1559: For hundreds of years, the Roman Catholic Church listed books that were prohibited to its members; but in this year, Pope Paul IV established the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. For more than 400 years this was the definitive list of books that Roman Catholics were told not to read. It was one of the most powerful censorship tools in the world.
1597: The original version of Shakespeare’s Richard II contained a scene in which the king was deposed from his throne. Queen Elizabeth I was so angry that she ordered the scene removed from all copies of the play.
1614: Sir Walter Raleigh’s book The History of the World was banned by King James I of
England for “being too saucy in censuring princes.
1624: Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible was burnt in
Germany by order of the Pope.
1616–42: Galileo’s theories about the solar system and his support of the discoveries of Copernicus were condemned by the Catholic Church. Under threat of torture, and sentenced to jail at the age of 70, the great scientist was forced to renounce what he knew to be true. On his death, his widow agreed to destroy some of his manuscripts.
1720: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe was placed on the Index Librorum by the Spanish Catholic Church.
1744: Sorrows of Young Werther by the famed German author Goethe was published in this year and soon became popular throughout Europe. The book was a short novel, in diary form, in which a young man writes of his sufferings from a failed love affair. The final chapter of the book drops the diary form and graphically depicts Werther’s suicide. Because a number of copycat suicides followed the publication of the book, the Lutheran church condemned the novel as immoral; then governments in Italy, Denmark, and Germany banned the book. Two hundred years later an American sociologist, David Phillips, wrote about the effect of reporting suicides in The Werther Effect.
1788: Shakespeare’s King Lear was banned from the stage until 1820—in deference to the insanity of the reigning monarch, King George III.
1807: Dr. Thomas Bowdler quietly brought out the first of his revised editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The preface claimed that he had removed from Shakespeare “everything that can raise a blush on the cheek of modesty”—which amounted to about 10 per cent of the playwright’s text. One hundred and fifty years later, it was discovered that the real excision had been done by Dr. Bowdler’s sister, Henrietta Maria. The word “bowdlerize” became part of the English language.
1843: The English Parliament updated an act that required all plays to be performed in England to be submitted for approval to the Lord Chamberlain. Despite objections by illustrious figures such as George Bernard Shaw (in 1909), this power remained with the Lord Chamberlain until 1968.
1859: Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published, outlining the theory of evolution. The book was banned from the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, where Darwin had been a student. In 1925,
Tennessee banned the teaching of the theory of evolution in schools; the law remained in force until 1967. The Origin of Species was banned in Yugoslavia in 1935 and in Greece in 1937.
1859: George Eliot’s novel Adam Bede was attacked as the “vile outpourings of a lewd woman’s mind,” and the book was withdrawn from circulation libraries in Britain.
1864–1959: Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables was placed on the Index Librorum.
1881: Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (published in 1833) was threatened with banning by Boston’s district attorney unless the book was expurgated. The public uproar brought such sales of his books that Whitman was able to buy a house with the proceeds.
1885: A year after the publication of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, the library of Concord, Massachusetts, decided to exclude the book from its collection. The committee making the decision said the book was “rough, coarse and inelegant, dealing with a series of experiences not elevating, the whole book being more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people.” By 1907, it was said that Twain’s novel had been thrown out of some library somewhere every year, mostly because its hero was said to present a bad example for impressionable young readers.
1927: A translation of The Arabian Nights by the French scholar Mardrus was held up by U.S. Customs. Four years later another translation, by Sir Richard Burton, was allowed into the country, but the ban on the Mardrus version was maintained.
1929: Jack London’s popular novel Call of the Wild was banned in Italy and Yugoslavia. In 1932, copies of this and other books by London were burned by the Nazis in
1929: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was banned in the
Soviet Union because of “occultism.”
1929–62: Novels by Ernest Hemingway were banned in various parts of the world such as Italy, Ireland, and
Germany (where they were burned by the Nazis). In California in 1960, The Sun Also Rises was banned from schools in San Jose and all of Hemingway’s works were removed from Riverside school libraries. In 1962, a group called Texans for America opposed textbooks that referred students to books by the Nobel Prize-winning author.1931: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was banned by the governor of Hunan province in
China because, he said, animals should not use human language and it was disastrous to put animals and humans on the same level.
1932: In a letter to an American publisher, James Joyce said that “some very kind person” bought the entire first edition of Dubliners and had it burnt.
1933: A series of massive bonfires in Nazi Germany burned thousands of books written by Jews, communists, and others. Included were the works of John Dos Passos, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Helen Keller, Lenin, Jack London, Thomas Mann, Karl Marx, Erich Maria Remarque, Upton Sinclair, Stalin, and Leon Trotsky.
1937: The Quebec government passed An Act Respecting Communistic Propaganda, popularly known as the Padlock Act. The statute empowered the attorney general to close, for up to one year, any building that was used to disseminate “communism or bolshevism.” (These two terms were undefined.) In addition, the act empowered the attorney general to confiscate and destroy any publication propagating communism or bolshevism. Anyone caught publishing, printing, or distributing such literature faced imprisonment for up to one year without appeal. In 1957, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the Padlock Act in a case called Switzman vs. Elbling. The court said that the act made the propagation of communism a crime; however, the court’s reason for striking down the law had less to do with the evils of censorship than with the division of powers between federal and provincial governments. The court declared that the power to pass criminal law belonged exclusively to Ottawa, so Quebec’s Padlock Act was ultra vires and unconstitutional. Only two justices raised the issue of censorship in this case.
1953: The Irish government banned Anatole France’s A Mummer’s Tale (for immorality), Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Across the River and Into the Trees (for immorality), all the works of John Steinbeck (for subversion and immorality), all the works of Emile Zola (for immorality), and most works by William Faulkner (for immorality).1954: Mickey Mouse comics were banned in East Berlin because Mickey was said to be an “anti-Red rebel.”
1959: After protests by the White Citizens’ Council, The Rabbits’ Wedding, a picture book for children, was put on the reserved shelf in Alabama public libraries because it was thought to promote racial integration.1960: D.H. Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was the subject of a trial in England, in which Penguin Books was prosecuted for publishing an obscene book. During the proceedings, the prosecutor asked: “Is it a book you would wish your wife or servant to read?” Penguin won the case, and the book was allowed to be sold in England. A year earlier, the U.S. Post Office had declared the novel obscene and non-mailable. But a federal judge overturned the Post Office’s decision and questioned the right of the postmaster general to decide what was or was not obscene.
1970: White Niggers of America, a political tract about Quebec politics and society, was written by Pierre Vallières while he was in jail. The book was confiscated when the writer was accused of sedition, and an edition published in France was not allowed into Canada. A U.S. edition was published in English in 1971.
1974: The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence revealed some of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s dirty tricks and failures overseas and in the United States. The authors (Victor Marchetti, a former senior analyst for the CIA, and John D. Marks, a former U.S. State Department official) were told by a U.S. court to submit their manuscript to the CIA before the book was published. The CIA demanded the removal of 339 passages from the text, but eventually the publisher won the right to retain 171 of those in the first edition of the book. By 1980, the publisher had won the legal right to publish 25 more passages, but the most recent edition (1989) still indicated numerous censored passages.
1977: Decent Interval, a memoir written by a former CIA employee, criticized the CIA, Henry Kissinger, and
U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Author Frank Snepp succeeded in getting his book published before the CIA knew about it, but the government filed a lawsuit against him, even though no classified information appeared in the book. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Snepp; the government seized all profits from the book and imposed a lifelong gag order on the author. Snepp was required to submit everything he might write—fiction, screenplays, non-fiction, poetry—to the CIA for review. The CIA won the right to cut any classified or classifiable information within 30 days of receipt of Snepp’s work.
1977: Maurice Sendak’s picture book In the Night Kitchen was removed from the Norridge, Illinois, school library because of “nudity to no purpose.” The book was expurgated elsewhere when shorts were drawn on the nude boy.
1980s: During its examination of school learning materials, the London County Council in England banned the use of Beatrix Potter’s children’s classics The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny from all
London schools. The reason: the stories portrayed only “middle-class rabbits.”
1983: Members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for the rejection of The Diary of Anne Frank because it was “a real downer.” It was also challenged for offensive references to sexuality.
1987: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou was removed from the required reading list for Wake County, North Carolina, high school students because of a scene in which the author, at the age of seven and a half, is raped.
1987: After retiring from 20 years’ service with Britain’s MI5 counterintelligence agency, Peter Wright moved to
Australia and wrote his autobiography, entitled Spycatcher, in which he accused British security services of trying to topple Harold Wilson’s 1974–76 Labour government. The book, a best-seller, was banned in Britain, and the British government waged a lengthy and expensive legal battle to prevent its publication in
Australia. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said that if Wright ever returned to Britain, he would be prosecuted for breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act. But when Wright died in 1995, he got the last laugh, since his ashes were scattered over the waters of the Blackwater Sailing Club in southern
1997: In Ireland, a government censorship board banned at least 24 books and 90 periodicals.
1998: In Kenya the government banned 30 books and publications for “sedition and immorality,” including The Quotations of Chairman Mao and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.
1998: American publishers expressed outrage over news that a Washington bookstore was ordered to turn over records of Monica Lewinsky’s book purchases to independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Lewinsky is the former White House intern with whom President Clinton had what he later termed an “inappropriate relationship.” The Association of American Publishers declared: “I don’t think the American people could find anything more alien to our way of life or repugnant to the Bill of Rights than government intrusion into what we think and what we read. I would suggest Mr. Starr give some thought to his own reading list. Maybe it’s time for him to re-read the First Amendment.”
2001: The U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, passed by the American Congress in response to terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, gave the FBI power to collect information about the library borrowings of any U.S. citizen. The act also empowered the federal agency to gain access to library patrons’ log-ons to Internet Web sites—and protected the FBI from disclosing the identities of individuals being investigated.
Thursday, 8 March 2007 Hamas ban Palestinian folktale book
“An elderly Palestinian died and several people were injured when police lost control of a crowd on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with
(extract copied here from the above site, please read the whole article for yourself, no bias intended, but were are after all human.)
“At least three people were shot as police opened fire to drive back crowds pushing towards the crossing. It was not immediately clear if the man was crushed or had a heart attack. Israel has allowed the crossing, Gaza’s only route to the world bypassing Israel, to be open only intermittently since it withdrew from
Gaza in 2005. The irregular opening of the crossing – the only way for most Gazans to leave the Strip – means that large crowds usually arrive at the crossing when there is a chance it may open. “
I guess the old sarcastic falahy saying holds true – Posted by nadeem in;
Borrowed here without permission and with a huge apology! I found it funny, hope you do too.
Humour plays an important part in people’s lives and it is amazing that people in the direst situations are able to find something to smile about.
I heard this tale while getting my haircut today: Young teenager in Borstal, who always went around smiling all the time, was asked; why are you always smiling?
He replied, “It mess’s up the screws head and …….it takes less muscles to smile.”
Read about Warwick Univesity
Copied here the first part of their document.
To twin with the Student Council of Birzeit University in Palestine and to affiliate to Birzeit University’s “Right to Education” campaign.
Here is the result of the motion, as you can see this is old Nov 2006!
Writing about web page http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/portal/referenda/motion/19/104/
“Here’s this weeks article. The syntax is poor, I was told at the last minute to change the article from a pro-twinning to an anti-no stance article, and didn’t have the time to do more than chop and change.
For those unfamiliar with what’s going on here….
1) Pro-Palestinian guys proposed a motion saying that we twin with Birzeit University students union, and affiliate with their right to education. The reasons for doing this are in the motion – and will be here when I post my original article (not this reordered version).
2) Some sabbs (AJ Brown and Katie Chevis) realised that this would pass pretty easily (particularly with the ‘Yes’ bias on referendum motions) and so proposed a counter motion, the No Stance motion. If this passes as well, then the two motions will destroy one another, and nothing will get done.
3) That means that to twin with Birzeit, the students must vote for the twinning motion, and against the No Stance motion. To adopt a No Stance position (which would stop any motions condemning Israel etc until changed at referenda) students have to vote against the twinning, and for No Stance. Any other combination, and neither happens.
If the No Stance motion that is up for the vote was simply about not taking sides in the Israel/Palestine debate then it might almost be worth considering. It is a wholly commendable wish on the part of those that have proposed it that we do not end up alienating people, that our establishment is seen as a safe and inclusive space which can facilitate open debate. The problem is that the No Stance motion goes way beyond the remit of simply keeping things politically neutral; its effect will be to deny our support to the students of Birzeit University in their fight for a right to education.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that Israeli roadblocks, such as the roadblock that was near Birzeit University for over two years from April 2001 to December 2003, restrict “Palestinian access…to basic services such as health and education.” That roadblock has now gone, but “flying” checkpoints – one-day-only roadblocks that could turn up at any moment – are a remaining nuisance. It is not uncommon for Palestinians to be kept at roadblocks for hours whilst their papers are checked, rechecked, left lying around while the Israeli soldiers pop for lunch, and finally returned; it’s easy to see how this constitutes a physical barrier to education. The roadblocks also provide a mental barrier; trying to concentrate on work with the knowledge that your evening could be spent in detention, or with the knowledge that you or one of your friends could at any moment be arrested and held indefinitely, is not easy. Clearly, this is a situation which would be unacceptable anywhere in the world.”