UniMelb for Palestine’s Dana Alshaer on the Lockheed Martin Partnership

December 14, 2023by Naomi Cramer


“Why does our college have a partnership with a weapons producer within the first place?” UniMelb for Palestine organising member Dana Alshaer requested Melbourne College vice chancellor Duncan Maskell, which was a recorded confrontation that has since gone viral throughout social media.

The postgraduate worldwide relations pupil then names the corporate which the college has a $13 million analysis partnership with, Lockheed Martin, which is “actually supplying weapons for an energetic genocide proper now”.

“I’m not going to speak to you about that,” replied Maskell. And Alshaer, a Palestinian worldwide pupil who grew up on the West Financial institution, pressed the VC for extra, as she asserted, that he has a duty to be accountable to college students.

But, the uni head then mentioned defensively, “You possibly can’t inform me what to do, I don’t assume.” And Alshaer reasserted that it’s a part of his position to reply college students, which he denied.

The 27 November confrontation took simply minutes. The footage was consumed by 1000’s throughout the planet, and Dana places this all the way down to plenty of individuals asking their very own questions on comparable associations with Israeli entities that may make them not directly complicit in genocide.

“Not in our identify”

Melbourne College introduced it was coming into right into a collaboration with Lockheed Martin in August 2016, when the NZ arms firm invested an preliminary $13 million right into a analysis centre, which marked the primary time the corporate has opened such an operation exterior of America.

Israel bought a 3rd squadron of F-35 stealth fighter jets from Lockheed Martin with a price ticket of $3 billion in July. These are getting used to bomb Gaza proper now. And Melbourne firm Rosebank Engineering (RUAG Australia) makes the weapons bay door locks for these fighters.

“Why do we’ve a partnership with a producing firm that’s actually supplying the genocide… that’s killing my folks – my children,” Alshaer additional requested Maskell. “Greater than 7,000 children have been killed.”

The Palestinian activist confronted the VC till he entered a constructing, at which level she demanded a gathering. And following his departure into an elevator, Alshaer condemned his response as revealing a scarcity of care, which she considers is consistent with the establishment’s Eurocentric outlook.

“Blood on our levels”

UniMelb for Palestine has shaped in response to the continued Israeli-perpetrated genocide in Gaza. It’s made up of “college students, employees, and alumni who’ve a lived expertise of colonisation and systemic racism, together with Palestinian, Aboriginal, Muslim, African, Asian and SWANA organisers.

The organisation despatched an open letter to vice chancellor Maskell, which contained 2,500 signatures calling for the college to finish its relationship with Lockheed Martin, but it stays unanswered.

Whereas an e-mail Maskell wrote to the scholars addressing the horrors in Gaza has been deemed “dehumanising” and inappropriate.

Sydney Criminal lawyers spoke to UniMelb for Palestine organising member Dana Alshaer about what her group is aware of in regards to the Lockheed Martin partnership, the unfruitful assembly with the VC’s employees that was finally forthcoming and the way the outlook of the college displays Eurocentrism.

UniMelb for Palestine organising member Dana Alshaer

Dana, as an organising member of solidarity group UniMelb for Palestine, you confronted Melbourne College vice chancellor Duncan Maskell two weeks in the past, to ask him in regards to the $13 million partnership his establishment has with weapons producer Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin is an organization that actively provides weapons to Israel and its merchandise are at the moment being utilized in Gaza.

In your understanding, what does this partnership between your academic establishment and the weapons producer contain? And why is it problematic?

We’ve been attempting to succeed in out to the college to know the small print of this partnership. As you’ve seen, they haven’t been responding to us.

However after the video went viral, they reached out to ask for a gathering. That was the one motive they did.

We had been very clear within the assembly that we needed particulars on the character of the partnership, which is between a weapons producer and an academic establishment: the College of Melbourne.

We couldn’t get any clear particulars or understanding of the partnership or the analysis that it entails. We’ve been instructed that it’s to do with disease-related analysis, however no particulars have been offered.

We’ve been instructed that there is no such thing as a analysis that pertains to defence, which, in keeping with our personal analysis, as a bunch, just isn’t utterly true.

However all in all, we haven’t actually acquired any data on the character of the partnership or any documentation about it. The college is being actually ambiguous with the small print.

So, it’s a secretive partnership?

It’s on the uni web site, however the particulars and the character of the partnership, what is occurring, what the cash concerned is used for, are under no circumstances clear.

We’ve requested and demanded throughout our assembly and in our emails that they provide us the small print however to this point, we haven’t acquired something.

Maskell instructed you that it wasn’t him concerned within the deal, quite it’s the college that’s implicated. And he knocked again your repeated assertions that it’s his duty as a vice chancellor to answer college students relating to such issues.

The vice chancellor additionally acquired an e-mail with an open letter signed by 2,500 involved folks relating to the difficulty, which he didn’t reply to.

What do you consider this lack of response from an individual in his place? And why ought to a vice chancellor be accountable to college students in regard to college ventures like that with Lockheed Martin?

To be trustworthy, this speaks volumes on how the College of Melbourne treats its Palestinian college students and its stance on Palestine, usually.

Final 12 months we handed a movement relating to Israel being an apartheid state and that the college ought to assist BDS, that means that it stops supporting or divest from any establishments or firms which might be instantly linked to the Israeli apartheid system.

The college didn’t assist us although, on the pupil council.

However in regard to the Lockheed Martin partnership and the vice chancellor, such as you mentioned, we despatched out an open letter to him and this isn’t the primary confrontation with the VC.

We had a earlier confrontation when two members of UniMelb for Palestine noticed him and requested him in regards to the partnership, and he utterly ignored them and mainly ran away.

We stored calling. We stored sending emails. So, he’s been receiving calls and emails about this for the reason that second week of the genocide, particularly after he despatched out a disgraceful message to college students.

The VC is totally conscious of the open letter, the emails and the cellphone calls which might be occurring, however he simply doesn’t need to reply.

Maskell truly instructed the 2 organising members of UniMelb for Palestine, who first confronted him lower than every week earlier than I did, that we had been being very annoying as a bunch – he mentioned he’s being aggravated by the emails and the calls.

So, somebody like him, who’s a VC, a vice chancellor of a college, needs to be held accountable as a result of he holds some of the influential and highly effective positions on the college and inside its administration chain.

This confrontation didn’t come out of nowhere. We’ve been attempting our greatest: calling, emailing and sending letters. We’ve been attempting to succeed in out, however he has been ignoring us, and the one motive he did contact in the long run, was as a result of the video went viral.

It was a little bit of a PR catastrophe for the college.

The vice chancellor needs to be held accountable as a result of if you’re the VC and you aren’t making the selections, then who’s?

This was one of many issues we raised on the assembly that we had with the college final week. We requested who was making the choice and signing on to the partnership if it’s not the VC.

Once more, we sat there for nearly an hour. No clear solutions. Nothing. Nobody gave us a transparent clarification as to who makes these selections and who indicators these offers.

The college clearly doesn’t need to cooperate with us on this.

So, on the finish of the interplay with Maskell, you repeatedly requested him for a gathering, which he ignored on the time. Nonetheless, you’re saying that you simply’ve since had that assembly?

Sure. After we had that interplay with him, we nonetheless known as and emailed and there was no response.

But it surely was only some days after we’d posted the video on 30 November and it went viral, with tons of of 1000’s of views throughout the socials and other people began tweeting it, that the college reached out.

They requested to have the assembly with the organising members of UniMelb for Palestine. The assembly occurred on the Monday after the footage went viral and the assembly was on the request of VC Duncan Maskell, though he wasn’t there.

So, he wasn’t there, and also you left an hour later with no extra data than you went in with?

Nothing. There have been truly makes an attempt to greenwash the partnership by referring to the environment-related and disease-related analysis that they do.

Once more, we weren’t given any documentation. It was simply based mostly on what they mentioned.

However even when that had been true, the truth that they’re concerned in environmental analysis with a weapons producer that’s offering warplanes to Israel to drop bombs on Gaza is an issue.

The Zionist occupation forces have to this point dropped the equal of two.5 nuclear bombs on Gaza.

The environmental outcomes of this are past comprehension. So, to try to greenwash this partnership, whereas being okay with an organization accountable for destroying the setting elsewhere on the planet is full hypocrisy.

So, what’s the connection that Lockheed Martin has with the Israeli army?

Lockheed Martin and different weapons manufacturing firms like Elbit Techniques are a number of the greatest suppliers of weapons to the Israeli army. Lockheed Martin provides F-35 planes.

Has the understanding that the college has this partnership with Lockheed Martin come to mild for the reason that genocide started or has it been widespread information for some time?

The partnership between Lockheed Martin and the College of Melbourne was signed in 2016. And ever since, there was lots of people inside schools, administration and the scholar physique which have been extraordinarily vocal about refusing it.

I’ve signed petitions that college students launched about it final 12 months and the 12 months earlier than. A number of the college students have organised protests prior to now. So, this isn’t new. This has been happening for years now.

The media and social media publicity of the genocide in Gaza has raised consciousness in regards to the Zionist forces and what they’re doing.

And this confrontation and interplay with the VC felt so relatable to so many alternative folks throughout Australia, as College of Melbourne isn’t the one establishment that companions with these firms.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Motion has been elevating these kinds of offers that establishments have with Israeli firms. Is the UniMelb for Palestine marketing campaign linked in with that broader marketing campaign to boycott Israel?

We, as a bunch, aren’t related to some other group. We organically shaped as a direct response to the genocide.

There was talks about having the College of Melbourne lower its ties with Lockheed Martin since 2016 and 2017, and extra formally, in 2018.

We’re not related to some other teams or organisations now, however we are going to work with native and nationwide teams to realize our objectives.

However our group bought along with the intention of being college students, alumni and employees from the College of Melbourne, who’re against a shame partnership that might entail some sense of complicity within the genocide.

So, that’s why it’s essential for employees and college students to talk out?

Sure. Lots of people weren’t actually conscious of the partnership, though it has been on the web site since 2016. And there have been talks amongst the employees, the scholars and the colleges about it.

But it surely wasn’t that seen till not too long ago. It wasn’t till this footage went viral that lots of people first learnt about this partnership.

And lastly, Dana, after the confrontation, you said that it’s the establishment’s Eurocentric outlook that’s leading to Maskell’s response, and it’s additional resulting in the college’s involvement in a partnership with an organization that provides weapons used to kill Palestinians.

Will your marketing campaign proceed following your confrontation with the VC? And would you say the dimensions of the atrocities in Gaza necessitate better scrutiny of those kinds of issues going into the long run?

I’ll begin with the second query. The gravity and the magnitude of the genocide that’s occurring in Gaza is past comprehension.

We’re seeing photographs and photographs from the bottom: the reside broadcasting of genocide on our telephones, on our laptops and on our TVs.

The photographs and the footage that we’re seeing are so enraging as a result of we’re watching a genocide unfolding and we are able to’t do something.

Then you definitely begin connecting the dots and you discover that your college is not directly complicit by its having a relationship with a weapons producer that’s supplying weapons which have been used within the killing of greater than 23,000 Palestinians with 9,077 of them being children.

Some have mentioned that what is occurring in Gaza, what is occurring in Palestine, isn’t the one genocide happening. There’s a genocide in Congo and different locations all over the world.

However the Gaza genocide is so seen that it requires essentially the most consideration from everybody. Issues we’re seeing are past comprehension as a result of they’re so inhuman.

Our college and different academic establishments and institutions all over the world preach about human rights, worldwide regulation and equality.

They’re preaching about articles from the Common Declaration of Human Rights, which had its seventy fifth anniversary final weekend.

To have our professors say in our lessons that worldwide regulation and human rights prevail after which to utterly dismiss the Palestinians from having these rights to even be thought-about is totally absurd.

UniMelb for Palestine will proceed to place public strain on the college till they terminate their partnership with Lockheed Martin. We’ve a set of actions that we are going to be taking up the approaching weeks.

When it comes to the Eurocentric strategy of the college, in our lessons, all we’ve been speaking about for the reason that Russia-Ukraine battle began is Russia and Ukraine – and that’s it.

Ninety % of my lessons had been on Russia and Ukraine. So, to try to declare this excessive ethical floor, with human rights and moral approaches to the whole lot and focusing in on one battle on the planet and dismissing others, together with a reside unfolding genocide, is hypocrisy and its very Eurocentric.

It reveals that the college and different institutions don’t actually see Palestinians or people who find themselves not Ukrainian as worthy of being talked about in lessons within the college and having a press release issued for them.

These establishments will not be speaking about Palestinian rights to reside they usually’re not calling out the conflict crimes and the crimes towards humanity which might be being dedicated by the Zionist regime proper now.

So, this entire Eurocentric narrative and strategy is embodied throughout the administration of the college.

The fabric that’s being taught in lessons and, clearly, administration itself should convey that it’s okay to have a partnership with a weapons manufacturing firm that’s supporting an act of genocide.

We did ask that query to our VC Duncan Maskell. Within the first confrontation, with two UniMelb for Palestine organising members, they requested him why he’s okay with the partnership.

And I used to be so shocked by his reply. He mentioned, “Nicely, they’re offering weapons for Ukraine. Are you okay with Ukraine not with the ability to defend itself?”

That is how he answered our query about Lockheed Martin being concerned instantly in supplying weapons for the genocide that’s happening in Gaza, by saying that’s okay as a result of they’re giving Ukraine weapons, so try to be okay with that.

You possibly can see the distinction between which human life issues and which human life doesn’t matter. It is vitally clear.

Even when they are saying that they’re not, their actions, their insurance policies, their structurally inherent bias throughout the college proves that they see some folks, some teams of individuals, as extra worthy and extra human than different teams of individuals.

And a few folks have a proper to self-defence and a few folks don’t have a proper to self-defence.





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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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