Thursday, March 12, 2009

gimme checkpoints or gimme shelter

The CJN is carrying a report of incidents which occurred at Canadian universities from the Israel Apartheid Week events. This one via Small Dead Animals caught my eye:

“An issue we’ve been having is with professors setting up fake checkpoints outside of their classrooms at the request of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights [SPHR] and forcing the students to go through these. We’ve been speaking to the university about this,” Zelikovitz said.

He said that in one instance, students didn’t have the option of not going to their Gender and Diversity class, because there was an assignment due that day.
“Once inside, students had a 25-minute presentation from SPHR, a slide show that was obviously completely one-sided and the professor discussed it for a while after.
Patrick Deane, Queen’s vice-principal academic, said “students have the right to attend class without restraints, and they also have the right to choose whether or not they take part in any political debate, presentation, or enactment.
The problem with these kind of ‘renactments’ is their one-sided nature. If the skeleton of a bombed out city bus was located outside the door or a life size mural depicting it beside the checkpoint, I really wouldn’t have a problem with the ‘staged’ reenactment per say. Of course, if we are going for realism, we need to recognize Israelis face checkpoints to whether it be - going to the mall, government building, restaurants, and schools etc. The picture used below comes from the One Family Fund for Israeli victims of terrorist attacks and shows the aftermath of a Netanya mall bombing (circa 2005) where five were killed and 66 injured.

It would probably helpful for the professor or TA to carry a replicate rifle in the classroom as well - in order show students one of the ways Israeli teachers have had to respond to the possibility of their students coming under sniper fire on the playground from those brave freedom fighters. Perhaps we can have a siren go off periodically throughout the day to give students 15 seconds to find shelter or be marked dead, maimed or in shock.

Of course, most Israelis don’t whine about the humiliating and invasive nature of these searches and checkpoints - mostly I suspect because the alternative is considered rather unappealing.

h/t Gay & Right

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