More on what happened at Carleton....
Hashem Hamdy, a member of the student council, writes on his thoughts on Students Against Israeli Apartheid..
By now, most of us have had a chance to catch up on the events that transpired on the evening of February 17th, the ugly display of political violence that it was. If you have not, I ask that you please go look at the excellent notes written by Emile, Dashiell, and Ihor. They give succinct accounts of events, and thus I do not feel the need to offer another. I am more concerned about the overall discussion on Israel, democracy, the respect for discourse in general, and the overall campus atmosphere. To quote a SAIA member who met with me, "We don't believe in dialogue with people who don't believe in basic human rights." These are hardly concerns that exist solely on Carleton University’s campus- Concordia and York are similar. However, it has become very apparent how serious of an issue it is on our campus now.
There have been few times in my life when I have wanted to quit. I’ve been forced to quit before, but rarely have I just wanted to wash my hands of a situation and walk away. Council was one of those nights. Regardless of my devotion to Israel advocacy and the Carleton community as a whole, I was simply so disgusted with the way that the meeting unfolded that I just wanted to leave, and never revisit these issues again. It upset me on multiple levels. It upset me as a supporter of Israel, as a student, as a councilor, and most fundamentally, as a member of a society which holds democracy and rational discourse to be essential parts of our national character. I know that I am not the only person that feels this way.
Perhaps saddest of all, I did not find the events that transpired the least bit shocking. That I would find the need to run down twenty flights of stairs for my safety speaks volumes about how shocking it should be, yet, again, I feel no surprise. I have come to expect this from the radical fringe that occupies the end of the political spectrum that Students Against “Israeli Apartheid” festers in. Regardless of how you feel about Ann Coulter, it was not only the exact same behaviour, attitudes, and tactics that prevented her from speaking at the University of Ottawa last March, but the same people as well. Perhaps we, as a community, were somewhat complacent about her being silenced considering the message that she brings. I hope that the CUSA council meeting was a wakeup call for those who doubted the resolve of these radical students on campus as well as the extreme lengths they will go to achieve their objectives.
I just admitted that I wanted to quit two days ago- why shouldn’t you? Should we not be disheartened, and should we not simply be a silent if safe majority? Absolutely not. The behaviour of Students Against “Israeli Apartheid” should embolden each and every one of us. They have finally shown their true colours as a violent, hateful organization with no real respect for human rights, or even basic human civility. They are a group solely preoccupied with the delegitimization and destruction of the state of Israel.
We need to be an increasingly loud majority. While this battle may be won, the war is far from over. “Israel Apartheid” Week is almost two weeks away, and SAIA will be out in full force from March 7th to March 20th. What we need from you is your help during this troubling and difficult time. You can help in so many ways. It can be as easy as posting articles on Facebook that help dispel myths about Israel, or show the true nature of SAIA and the BDS movement. You can write to CUSA council about how disgusted you are over SAIA’s behaviour. You can help pro-Israel students table in the Atrium and pass out materials as well. There are endless possibilities, and who knows what we can accomplish if we work together?
Please use this reading week to do some actual reading and get some much-needed rest. You will need all the time and energy you can spare to take back control of our campus.