NEHAWU wants UJ to cut ties with Israeli 'varsity
MSN News [08_03_2011]
Nehawu, which is affiliated to the Congress of SA Trade Unions has called on the University of Johannesburg to terminate its relationship with an Israeli university.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU), which is affiliated to the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), on Tuesday called on the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to terminate its relationship with an Israeli university. The trade union said it supported the call from students, academics and numerous prominent individuals, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for the University of Johannesburg to terminate its "apartheid-era relationship" with Israel's Ben-Gurion University (BGU).
The University of Johannesburg, the union said, had demanded that the Ben-Gurion University "must ensure that their research projects will not entail any activity, including teaching and research, which has any direct or indirect military implications or contributes to the abuse of human rights". It said: "It was also demanded that one or more Palestinian universities must be included in the existing UJ-BGU agreement if relations were to continue." Ben-Gurion University had not shown any willingness to comply with the conditions that were set and with the deadline of April 1 fast approaching the University of Johannesburg needed to act swiftly, NEHAWU said.
The Israeli university actively collaborated with the Israeli Defence Force by offering special privileges and services to the army, NEHAWU charged. "It has consistently refused to oppose the Israeli government's attempts to silence academics that support sanctions against Israel and so it is a much compromised institution whose reputation and credibility are in tatters," it said. "Although there is a well-financed propaganda machinery that is trying to justify the abuse and victimisation of Palestinians, their struggle for freedom and justice needs to be told and defended by those in our country who are grateful for the freedoms we have.
"There are a lot of people who sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to fight against the apartheid regime and that is a legacy we need to preserve and cherish. We are not free as long as there are still people who are oppressed around the world and evil triumphs when good people say and do nothing," NEHAWU said.