UJ decision backward

THE world, with the obvious exception of the lunatic fringe, is fast becoming unanimous in its condemnation of repression, wherever it rears its ugly head.

It is heartening to note that the voices coming out of Cosatu are mindful of this clarion call for all progressive forces to join, as the trade union federation puts it, the growing global momentum calling for more decisive action on Israel to end the illegal occupation of Palestine.

For the dons at the University of Johannesburg to wish to continue their collaboration with their counterparts at the Ben Gurion University, an agreement signed when the local institution was still the Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, RAU, is regrettable.

At the time the scientific and water management agreement was signed into being, South Africa was in the grip of apartheid. We have since moved on.

The BGU is complicit with the Israelis in their litany of errors against the people of Palestine.

The world yearns for peace in the Middle East and in its support for soldiers in the Israeli Defence Force for whom it extends special study privileges, the BGU has not proved a proper ally for tranquillity in the region. Their active cooperation with the IDF makes BGU's relationship with UJ overtly anachronistic, given that the SA university wants to sell itself as an institution committed to justice and reconciliation.

Like Cosatu, we invoke the wisdom of Nelson Mandela and implore those at the helm of UJ to bear it in mind: "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

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