York University's academic façade and the NGO connection
York University (Toronto) has scheduled a large conference entitled “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace” (June 22-24, 2009). The conference organizers claim to have developed an academic framework in which speakers will provide a “robust academic critique of the deficiencies, promise, and perils of the range of prospective models of statehood,” including “models based on two states or a single binational state, federal and con-federal approaches, and other models in between and beyond.”
However, the vast majority of the speakers listed on the program are virulent anti-Israel activists, far removed from an academic approach. There is no evidence of the “robust academic critique” claimed by the organizers. As NGO Monitor’s research demonstrates (see below), many speakers are linked to highly politicized NGOs and leaders of the “soft war” which seeks to attack Israel using labels like “apartheid” – reflecting the tendentious and highly politicized agenda. Similarly, their support for a “one state solution” is the equivalent of calling for the elimination of the State of Israel. Such activity exacerbates the conflict and is the antithesis of the academic examination of different perspectives on the “paths to peace,” as claimed in the conference headline. This conference is also another example of the ways in which NGOs officials use these resources to promote radical ideologies in university frameworks.
See NGO Monitor’s speakers’ profiles for more information.