Home News Students revisit Mideast issue

Students revisit Mideast issue

by Archives April 4, 2001
Through a CSU referendum question, Concordia’s undergraduates urged the Canadian government to sever ties with Israel. They also demanded Israel provide an “economically viable state” for Palestinians and the right of return for
Palestinians refugees.
The final numbers tallied up to 774 people voting yes and 647 people voting no,
according to the CSU.
This is not a new issue at Concordia, even though it is getting some attention now. It dates back to late last November, when students at a general assembly implored the Government of Canada to act on UN resolution 242.
This resolution called upon Israel to pull out of occupied land that was created through the War of 1967.
Further amendments from Samer Elatrash, a member of the Muslim Student Association, asked for an independent Palestinian state, the return of all refugees to the Palestinian state and the removal of Israeli settlements in
Palestinian territories.
“We are simply people who believe in democracy. We were not trying to brainwash people,” said Sami Nazzal, president of the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR). But he added he could not deny he was pleased the motion passed.
Josh Margo, co-president of Concordia’s Jewish organization Hillel, stated: “This one was just totally out of the blue.” Margo said he felt that he was left asking himself if the question was really one of interest to the general student population.
Margo and Nazzal both realized that a margin of 127 votes is by no means overwhelming.
Margo said the vote may have potentially swayed in favour of the Palestinian argument because the question wasn’t really clear. According to Margo, the issue was being preached to a public with little or no knowledge of the topic.
He said he felt that bringing this issue to the forefront by way of a referendum question will not really have serious repercussions from here on in. “They were asking a question that the Israelis or Palestinians won’t solve in the near
future,” Margo said.
The opinion is very different on the other side of the fence. Nazzal wanted students to become educated about this subject so that they could talk about it.
“This referendum question had significant change in the knowledge of Concordia
students.”
When asked about fear of protests or bad press as a result of the passed motion, Nazzal responded: “It doesn’t make sense that they (students) will protest against democracy. I can disagree with you, but I can still respect you.”

Related Articles