Norway “Right and wrong are the same in Palestine as anywhere else. What is peculiar about the Palestine conflict is that the world has listened to the party that has committed the offence and has turned a deaf ear to the victims.”
–Famed British Historian Professor Arnold Toynbee
“In the name of justice there cannot be subjection and in the name of peace there cannot be impunity.
–President Alvaro Uribe Velez of Colombia
“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
– Elie Wiesel
The Honorable Marit Arnstad, Chairman of the board
The Honorable Rector Torbjern Digernes
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Rarely in history do individuals, minority groups, or institutions have an opportunity to courageously adopt a principled unpopular stand that could be transformative in world affairs.
For sometime during the genocide of Gaza it was two extraordinary Norwegian physicians and humanitarians who risked their lives to save the lives of Gazans.
‘This is what hell must look like’
Two Norwegian doctors witnessed first-hand the nightmare scenes inside Gaza
Guardian, January 16, 2009
Norway has always been known for its worldwide humanitarian efforts and generous foreign aid. It is no coincidence that Norway is always ranked first in the world by the United Nations.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has just such a historic opportunity tomorrow when it considers voting for an academic boycott of Israel, a nation that for too long has lived by violence, ethnic cleansing, military expansionism, illegal occupations, subjugation of millions of innocent Palestinians, defied all divine and international laws that respect and value human life, and that since its establishment has committed countless terrorist acts and war crimes, lately documented by the Goldstone Report, all with impunity, never accountable for its actions in courts of justice, the U.N., or to all of humanity. The West, especially the U.S., has constantly protected Israel”s interests at the expense of its own interests.
You may remember this headline in Aftenposten, 12/1/06:
“USA threats after boycott support”
“US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threatened Norway with “serious political consequences” after Finance Minister and Socialist Left Party leader Kristin Halvorsen admitted to supporting a boycott of Israeli goods.”
A quote by the Nobel Prize Winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn encompasses both Israel”s non-stop violence against innocent Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian civilians and its brilliant intimidating propaganda that established the persecutor as the persecuted.
“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.”
As a former academician I plead and urge you to take the only righteous stand possible against Israel and that is for your esteemed University to vote yes on an academic boycott of Israel. Your courage will open the door for Universities and other institutions around the world to follow your example.
In 1982 Sharon invaded Lebanon committing a widespread genocide that began in Southern Lebanon and ended in a three month devastating siege of Beirut, a city overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of refugees from Southern Lebanon who fled the Israeli army”s advance. This genocide resulted in the murder of 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians other than the cold blooded massacre of 1,700 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila. Under Sharon”s protection, encouragement, and direction, the Christian Phalangists shed the blood of men, women, the elderly and children. Sharon even provided powerful night lights for the murderers to commit their slaughter. All the world could do is condemn the massacre without laying blame on Israel.
From the air, sea and land Sharon unleashed his murderous campaign upon a crowded urban city bombing churches, mosques, hospitals, schools, orphanages, retirement homes, electrical and water plants, roads, bridges, the airport and sea port; not even ambulances and medics were spared.
He would bomb bakeries where men, women and children stood in long lines for scarce bread.
Planes would bomb an area and await the gathering of ambulances, medics and citizens to pull persons out of the wreckage only to bomb it again to inflict more casualties.
Ambassador Phil Habib, Reagan”s personal envoy to stop the genocide in Beirut worked hard to reach a peace agreement between Sharon and Lebanon while promising the safety of the Palestinian civilians upon the departure of Yasser Arafat and the PLO from Lebanon. However, he discovered that Israel could never be trusted to keep its word.
In John Boykin”s book, “Cursed is the Peacemaker” (2002, Applegate Press) he quotes Ambassador Habib as saying.
“I had signed this paper which guaranteed that these people in west Beirut would not be harmed. I got specific guarantees on this from Bashir (President of Lebanon) and from the Israelis–from Sharon’. He said he ‘had been given assurances… that no action would be taken against the Palestinians remaining in the camps…. On the basis of those assurances we (Americans) had given our word. We had been deceived…. Sharon was a killer, obsessed by hatred of the Palestinians,’ Habib said. ‘I had given Arafat an undertaking that his people would not be harmed, but this was totally disregarded by Sharon whose word was worth nothing.'”
As is customary with Israel and U.N. Resolutions, Israel defied and rejected over a dozen UN Security Council Resolutions asking Israel to at least allow humanitarian aid into Beirut.
Israel”s intransigence to make peaceful concessions to the Palestinians that they too may enjoy the freedom, liberty and independence their occupiers enjoy makes us all complicit in this tragedy with our silence and inaction.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is shocking that the world accepts Israel”s genocides and threats against its neighbors as fait accompli without regard to the never ending suffering of Palestinians under its brutal military occupation. Palestinians and Lebanese die, suffer and endure in silence in a world conditioned to accept Israel”s “right to self defense”, a euphemism for wanton murder. They die in silence, absent from the western conscience due to the blanket support of most western media outlets, none more so than in America, the nation exporting democracy and freedom through smart bombs and biased politicians who if they dare to criticize Israel jeopardize their ambitions and become the recipients of the worst media smears. In the U.S. no debate or action is allowed against Israel either by our own “never challenge Israel” government or by our staunchly Pro-Israel media.
The academicians and experts invited to your university to speak on this issue know first hand their personal victimization at the hands of Pro-Israel forces. They have risked much for the truth and are honorable men and women.
Please do the right thing and vote for an academic boycott of Israel, a nation that is neither civilized nor democratic, by setting an educational precedent for your university, faculty, alumni, but most importantly for your students, that standing up for principles is the foundation for all just laws and human rights for all peoples and not just the powerful few.
Teach them to adopt “freedom from fear” as their guiding principle in life while facing all challenges, especially challenges that discriminate between the powerful and the weak, the haves and have nots, that no people should be victimized by the power of money and weapons.
“”Freedom from fear” could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights”
-The late Honorable Dag Hammarskjold
“Giving Flight To Dreams”….Yes, we dare to dream, we dare to act.