BDS and the CSU: a story of selective outrage

[Press photo] “The BDS movement calls for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel for its alleged crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Vote ‘No’ to the BDS movement on Nov. 25

On its website, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) describes itself as an organization that “offers a number of important services to help make sure that students [sic] lives are as fun and problem free as possible.” The CSU also claims to defend the rights of students and represent their interests. Indeed, these are honourable principles that any student union must uphold if it is to ensure that their university is a safe haven for their students to engage in the free marketplace of ideas. It is therefore baffling as to why the CSU would go against their own principles.

In the 2014 CSU By-Elections Referendum, scheduled to take place from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27, the issue of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement sticks out like a sore thumb. While all the other questions deal with important issues that affect the lives of students, such as the establishment of a daycare centre and the improvement of student housing conditions, it is the former issue which seems awkwardly placed.

Support for BDS against the State of Israel runs counter to the principles of what the CSU claims to uphold, as well as most standards of decency.

[Press photo] “The BDS movement calls for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel for its alleged crimes against the Palestinian people.”

It is discriminatory to single Israel out for isolation, when such standards are not applied equally across all governments. The CSU has not seen fit to condemn the systemic discriminations of women and minorities by Saudi Arabia, the torture of hundreds of thousands of political dissidents in North Korea, and many other gruesome and serious human rights abuses that take place throughout the world. Neighboring Israel is Syria, where a bloody civil war has led to the deaths of an estimated 200,000 people. If focus is to be put solely on Palestinian suffering, more than 2,000 dead in Syria are Palestinian refugees and more than 55,000 Palestinians were forced to flee the country, according to Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) estimates that 235,000 Palestinians have been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the conflict two years ago. These figures dwarf the Palestinian casualties that have happened in conflicts with Israel.

If consistency was pursued, then there would be a call for BDS against Syria and those of Syrian descent. However, such actions would be equally as ridiculous as what is being leveled at Israel. It goes against the CSU principles that were highlighted earlier, in that it sets a double-standard. Israeli students and those who identify with the State of Israel will be demonized for their affiliation. What was once a safe-space for students of all different backgrounds to exchange ideas will be replaced with narrow-minded and intolerant policies fueled by an anti-Israel obsession.

Apart from the inherently discriminatory nature of this BDS motion, it is also downright idiotic. Intel’s new multi-core processor was completely developed at its facilities in Israel. Will BDS supporters seek to remove such products from Concordia University, since they are developed and manufactured in Israel? It would certainly make for a technologically-bare campus, seeing as Israel also hosts Motorola and IBM’s largest R&D facilities outside the United States. Microsoft and Cisco also built their only foreign R&D facilities in that country.

Selective outrage seems to be a theme among proponents of BDS. It is therefore crucial that students vote ‘no’ against BDS when it comes to a referendum and that the CSU fulfill its mandate for all students of Concordia University. Instead of seeking to stigmatize a group of people, we should all focus on ways to improve the quality of student life across the board.

Bradley Martin is a Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) Fellow at Concordia University.

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36 comments

        1. I didn’t want your number ,I just wanted to show how much of of a hypocrite you are considering they were developed in Israel

          1. HAHAHAH this is a JOKE . Cell Phones were NOT developed in Israel , but rather in USA . You are trying to confiscate history exactly like the government that you are supporting( i.e Israel)!

  1. The south African anti apartheid fighters admitted that Israel is an apartheid System. Every humanitarian organization condemned Isreali oppressive actions against the Palestinians.Our Tax dollars as Canadians goes to apartheid ISRAEL.

    ISRAEL MUST BE BOYCOTTED . YES FOR THE BDS , YES FOR THE BDS

      1. Thank you for your very professional and nice words. You and all the zionists have the same tactics , you start cursing and calling names when you are bankrupt intellectually and mentally ( always been) !

          1. Boy go play with people your age, this place is for adults who know basic history and English !

          2. my parents weren’t , but they are refugees who fled from the oppressive criminal disgusting regime of Israel which you share a lot of traits with

    1. Excellent. Please give back your Apple laptop, as it includes an israeli hard disk. If Azilect is prescribed for your grandparent or another elder relative, please refuse it…its Israeli. If Copaxone is prescribed for a friend or relative with MS, please refuse it…its Israeli. While you are at it, the next time you use a USB flash, remember it was invented in Israel…before you wipe it and never use one again. There are probably 100 other Israeli inventions that you use in your daily life, that you might as well stop using too. If you choose to single out Israel as a “bad actor”, then please be as selective in the medicines that you use. When you are in a hospital emergency ward, ask if the medicine was developed or made in Israel. At least be fair when you tell your loved one why they can’t have that medicine.

      1. So the electronic chips is more important than human diginity and justice. Also, the south African apartheid regime had the same technological innvovations

  2. Bds is a sham, they pick and choose will they forgo operations because the machines are developed in Israel no. They will boycott a soft drink company that located their plant in the west bank a.idiots!

    1. What is shame is someone like you in the 21 Century supporting an apartheid system like Israel , recognized as such by every international organization. This is the real shame Don

      1. No I would say its an idiot that throws around long words they don’t understand (you prejudiced low life piece of shit get a dictionary loser)

  3. How ridiculous would it be for us now to hear that students who were fighting for civil rights, to bring down apartheid South Africa, to stop the war in Vietnam, etc were told that they were being ‘selective’ about their outrage. Find new talking points, the concordia student body is too smart for this article.

    1. The only time Israel is being singled out is when the US gives them billions of dollars of aid, vetos for Israel when the international community wants to condemn them for their heinous acts, etc. Not to mention that you can’t compare Syria to Israel as Syria has been, within 2 years of their human rights abuses, sanctioned and condemned by the international community while Israel gets off for free. They have been committing terrible crimes against humanity since 1948. I don’t want anymore of my money going into the occupation of Palestine so you bet I’ll be voting yes.

      1. Since 1948? Why did you pick that year?

        Also what’s your opinion on the Palestinian operatives who killed two Jewish boys on a hike near Jerusalem by binding them and crushing their heads in with large rocks, and receiving nothing but praise from Palestinian leadership and media?

        1. How about the continuous confiscation of Palestinian Lands since 1948? How about the 1500 Palestinian Civilians Slaughtered in Gaza? How about segregation of Bus systems by Israel ? How about the Israeli Settlers who burnt alive a Palestinian Teenager and made him drink Gasoline?

          1. So Lara, I assume you’re on your way to Yarmouk to help the Palestinians? Maybe you’re heading to one of the huge protests we are witnessing world-wide regarding the plight of the Palestinians in Syria?

            You see Lara, much as it bothers you, we refuse to be defenceless like the Yazidis or Kurds or Coptic Chrisitians in the ME. We already have plenty of experience in being defenceless. You assume we are fools and don’t understand what’s really behind this BDS and I can assure you, this is not a student initiative, there are external guiding hands here. These people below is who we care about, they serve and protect us. We could care less what you and the rest of your crowd does. Our people will NEVER walk quietly onto cattle cars again.

        2. Namo, I would take what you say seriously if I thought for one second you would care if those two boys were Palestinian. Palestinian men, women and children are attacked on the DAILY by Israeli settlers and they are protected by the police and army when doing so, so don’t give me this crap. A Palestinian bus driver was LYNCHED two days ago for no reason and israeli police called it a suicide. I wonder if you even care about the dead or if you just like to use them as a tool to argue. If you truly want peace, then you’ll work alongside the rest of the world with a conscience and you will push Israel to comply with international law.

          1. Israeli “settlers” do not attack Palestinians “daily”, that is a lie. When is the last time a Jew broke into a Palestinian house and chopped up the whole family into pieces?

            And regarding the Palestinian driver found hung, an autopsy was performed and it was ruled that it was a suicide. I don’t have any inside information but I do know that Israeli hospitals (staffed with Jews, Christians, Muslims and others) are reliable. They have implicated Jews previously. If Jews were responsible, they would say so

          2. Today three palestinian cars got burnt by israeli settlers , this happens everyday !

  4. You can’t even compare Israel to Syria. Those two countries don’t belong in the same sentence unless you happen to be talking about geographical proximity.

    Israel is a first world and first class democracy. They happen to call themselves “The Jewish State” which is why it gets so much hate. But FYI to the idiots on campus, there are also 2 million Muslims living happy and rich lives there

    1. yes you can’t compare ! Israel is the longest occupation and apartheid in Contemporary history!

  5. According to his bio on the CAMERA on Campus website, Bradley Martin is listed as a graduate student…are non-undergraduate students even allowed to campaign for an undergraduate referendum question?
    Besides, this is one of the only referendum questions that actually didn’t come from the CSU…there was a petition that came from the student body, the petition was valid and had enough signatures, ergo a question is presented.

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