The TCSA, Israel, and Irony.

I was told something about the TCSA that made me laugh the other day. It’s absurdity hit me and I wondered if they realized the irony of what they were proposing. Unfortunately, I think they did not see the blatant contradiction in their suggestion of banning all academics from Israel from coming to Trent in order to draw attention to the Apartheid. That sounds goods. Israel is doing something bad and we need to show that we are opposed to it.

There’s only one little iddy biddy stick in the mud. That plan, of targeting the Israeli population because the government is ignoring our demands, is hilariously similar to Israel’s targeting civilian areas because Hamas, the Palestinian government, is using them to store weapons, attack Israel, and generally stir shit up. What’s that? Israel is punishing a civilian population for the decision of its government?

Well, why shouldn’t we hop on the band-wagon too! This is no time to be the bigger man and try and resolve the conflict, rather, let’s exacerbate it. Rather than get together with Israelis who are willing to discuss solutions (many of whom are vehemently opposed to their governments actions in Palestine), lets keep assuming we know all sides of the conflict and make decisions based on what we learn from media rather than conferences or discussions.

To punish all of Israel’s population for the unfortunate choices its government makes would be doing the exact same thing Israel is doing to Palestine, granted on a much smaller scale. The point is that we should be encouraging dialogue, we as an institution should be open to all sides. Imagine if people did not allow Canadian academics to travel because of our government’s treatment of Native people?

It actually bothered me so deeply to think that Trent, with all its forward thinking, would possibly consider punishing an innocent, perhaps open minded academic, stopping them from giving us an opportunity to learn, because of something their government did. If we held citizens accountable for the actions of their governments there would be non-stop war. This is not a solution. You are just perpetuating the problem by demonstrating a stubbornness that is frighteningly common.

Maybe, just maybe, by trying to start dialogues rather than forbidding them we can help create a better shared understanding of one of the many conflicts in the Middle East. The problem here is understanding. And your solution is to forbid the opportunity to address the problem. Let’s lead by example, not follow bad behavior to demonstrate its absurdity. The problem with the Apartheid is that it suggests there is only one protagonist in the conflict.

I am not defending anything Israel has done and will happily condemn the vast majority of it. This conflict has gone on because both sides believe they are inherently right and refuse to negotiate. We do them both an enormous disservice by forbidding academics from either country here. Why is no one calling for forbidding of American academics or people for their treatment of-hold on, this list is long- Mexicans, Native Americans, Latin Americans (all of Latin America for brevities sake), African Americans, poor white people, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, their record of torture, and human rights abuses? Because it’s easier to hate on a small country far away that will have no consequences, especially when you’re solution involves reducing communication even further. Because we benefit enormously from the horrible, horrible things America does. We like iPads and computers and don’t like to pay a lot of money for them. We like to point out how awful other countries are because it makes us feel better about our own.

Personally, I think every single Canadian should be outraged by our government’s treatment of Native peoples and in that vein I don’t think we should allow any Canadian academics at Trent to demonstrate how we feel. Keep up the inclusive experience TCSA, as Tony the Tiger would say, ‘You’re doing GRRRRREEAAAAAT’. I don’t have the solution, but I can tell you that the one the TCSA has proposed isn’t it.

Apartheid: A system of racial segregation employed for the purposes of exercising racial superiority.

The reason that Israel is NOT an apartheid state is that it is engaging in its policies out of self-defense, not out of racial superiority. People are still being marginalized, they are still having their human rights taken away, they are still being mistreated but do not mislabel this as an apartheid as it will make people create solutions to the wrong problem. If you think for a second that this problem can be solved by having Israel behave differently alone then you clearly do not understand the role that the Palestinain government in Hamas plays.

I don’t think Israeli’s are on the right path in their treatment of Palestinians, but I’m smart enough to recognize that it IS AN ATTEMPTED SOLUTION TO SOMETHING. We humans fucking suck at solving things, but as Winston Churchill once said about democracy, which can be extrapolated here, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. Our solutions are generally terrible, but we are still trying solutions often breed more problems. But the creation of Israel was a solution to another problem, and like most parts of our history it created its own problems.

The reason it’s so easy to condemn Israel is because you don’t have to come up with a solution. They are trying. If Hamas were trying for Peace in the same way it would be established. Palestinians are marginalized because their government will not acknowledge Israels existance and Hamas is going to great lengths to threaten its population. If you think attacking innocent civilians is justifiable just because their government is less than stellar then you must support terrorism. The threat to Israel needs to be addressed just the same as the abuse of Palestinians needs to be addressed or there will not be a solution.

People often write as if Israel does everything it does for fun and not because its civilians are regularly attacked. I in no way think that what they do is towards a solution, but if you think Israel is the only one at fault here then this problem will never be solved. There are two problems, one is that a hardlined minority in the religious fundamentalists in Israel lay claim to the disputed areas and refuse to share with Palestinians, while a similarly hardlined minority in Palestine refuses to allow Israel to exist and wants to wipe them off the map. Both sides need to be less rigid assholes. I am not for Israel, I am for peace. Keep focusing on half the problem and we’ll only ever have half a solution.