In December, The Student Society in Trondheim received a letter from the Israeli ambassador, Raphael Schutz, in response to a resolution regarding cooperation between NTNU and Israeli universities. This is the leader of the society’s answer to the ambassador.
Dear Ambassador Raphael Schutz,
The Student Society in Trondheim has, as the Ambassador mentions, made numerous resolutions about Israel. It is right that we have expressed a stronger focus on Israel, in comparison to many other states in the Middle-East. This is because we do expect a higher standard of conduct from Israel as a democratic state. We want to contribute to an open dialogue about Israel, and for this reason we were grateful when the Ambassador accepted our invitation to an open meeting in November 2015.
These resolutions, adopted over a more than ten year period, are meant as contributors towards peace in an area that has endured decades of unrest. The resolutions concerns the house arrest of an anti-mass destruction weapon activist and the two-state solution described in Roadmap to Peace. We also want recognition of the Palestinian state and we do not want research from NTNU for fossil fuel production in Israel (or in Norway, this in line with our resolution of september 24th 2016).
The Ambassador writes that we “totally ignored humanitarian crises, such as the genocides in Darfur and Syria”. The Student Society can pass resolutions on every matter we find necessary, it does not mean we have the resources to give every problem in the world equal publicity. On the topic of Syria, we have arranged three events in 2015 and 2016. In addition to this, we had the honour to pass a resolution to give 10,000 NOK to The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Redningselskapet) in 2015. This sum was given to save those who try to find a better life in Europe through dangerous journeys over the Mediterranean, many of them from Syria and the Horn of Africa.
We are not, as the Ambassador claims, “denying the basic right of the Jewish people to live in [its] own independent and sovereign nation state” through our resolutions. We do not treat countries differently based on religion. We know the situation is difficult, and we understand the need for the Israeli state to keep its people safe. What is of deep concern to us is that the Ambassador does not try to excuse or even explain Israel’s conduct against the Palestinian people. Instead he insinuates that we are part of a campaign to demonize Israel when we speak out against the injustice that is happening in the region. We will continue, as we have always done, to pass democratic resolutions in Storsalen and stand up for what we believe is right.
The letter was first published as a post to The Student Society in Trondheim’s Facebook page.