Professor of Physics
18 March 2011
My name is Wael Karain. I am an Associate Professor of physics at Bir-Zeit University in the West Bank, Palestine. I am writing this letter in support of the UJ petition campaign to terminate the UJ- Ben-Gurion University agreement.
In fact, this campaign came to my attention a few months ago while reading an Israeli newspaper article online. The article discussed the relationship between the two universities, and how despite many common interests, there was a good chance the agreement will be terminated. I also read the many “talkbacks”. Some lamented the change of times. After all, Israel and the Apartheid regime were, to say the least, very strong allies. Others echoed the usual sentiment that “the world is always against the Jews.”
I understand that universities have the right to seek partnerships that benefit them scientifically and financially. There is no doubt the Ben-Gurion University has a lot to offer scientifically. However, even though this university pays lip service to peace and coexistence, and hires “token” non-Israeli staff, it has strong ties to the Israeli military forces. These are the same occupation forces that limit the mobility of Palestinians, as well as infringe on basic human rights that are due every human being. When it comes down to the true essence of this University, the chips will always fall squarely away from peace and coexistence.
I remember watching the “Cosby Show” in the 80’s as a student in the US. One of the characters had twins. She called them Nelson and Winnie. Soon, I came to know more about apartheid in South Africa. I used to watch the coverage of demonstrations in Soweto and other communities. These clashes brought back memories from my homeland. A few years later, the unthinkable happened. A nuclear power was brought to its knees by the common actions of peaceful demonstrations, and the increasing tightening of sanctions against its brutal regime. The parallels are hard to miss!
I strongly believe that sanctions will bear fruit! It is unfair for a few to enjoy the ability to travel freely, study freely, and pray freely, while others are destined to spend their lives caged in a big ghetto.
I ask you to terminate this relationship with Ben-Gurion University. Please do not be an alibi to occupation!