The argument with “Qatar 1”: What happened at and after the EUDC in Novi Sad

Datum: Aug 13th, 2018
By
Category: [:de]International[:en]international[:], Turniere

Following days of massive discussion on social media, the EUDC Council held an extraordinary meeting regarding events at the EUDC in Novi Sad, where a team from Qatar University refused to debate Israeli teams. In order to clarify what happened, we summed up the recent developments for you.

Novi Sad EUDC 2018At the EUDC:

During the third preliminary round (taking place 31.07.2018), the team Qatar 1 (Mazen Nashat, Abdelrahman Elsayed | Qatar University) refused to participate in the round due to the team Hebrew 1 (Roy Schulman, Elaye Karstadt | Hebrew University of Jerusalem) being in the same debate. The Equity team, which was consulted immediately, reports the reasons behind the refusal in their report as follows: “They felt that an Israeli team represented their university and with it the state of Israel. It remained unclear whether this was a personal stance or mandated by their university.” Since the Equity team had no clear instructions from the constitution regarding the specific case, they “considered the behavior of the Qatar team to be the same as if debaters were refusing to speak in rooms with someone because of any other immutable characteristic, such as: race, gender, or sexual orientation.” In conclusion, the Equity team decided that refusing the debate would mean loss of break eligibility, which both followed. They included the issue in their report which later was published this Wednesday, 08.08.2018, but presented to the Council earlier during the usual Equity report.

In Council, the Israeli representative proposed an amendment to the constitution aimed at preventing instances of what they considered discriminatory: “The convener shall include in the application to participate in EUDC a confirmation by teams that they are willing to engage and debate with all other teams in the tournament regardless of any unelected identity characteristics (including but not limited to: gender, ethnicity, nationality). The application should clarify that violation of this agreement shall result in immediate barring and removal from the tournament. […]” The full proposal can be read in a minute published by the EUDC Council. However, since after the discussion a show of hands poll indicated that only about half the represented countries were in favor of the proposal, it got withdrawn and re-set for the next Council meeting.

 

After the EUDC:

With the Council’s decision to postpone the issue and the seemingly little support for the proposal, several Israeli debaters, amongst them Israeli Council representative Varia Ostrovsky, wrote posts on social media criticising the way the Qatari team chose to protest and Council’s lack of action. Ostrovsky’s post was generally met with vast support from debaters on facebook. Mazen Nashat from the Qatari team reacted with an own statement, claiming that their refusal was meant as a boycott on the state of Israel, which Israeli universities cooperate deeply with, thus enabling the state of Israel to perform severe crimes such as ethnic cleansing. Nashat portrayed their boycott as in tradition with the BDS movement against apartheid in South Africa. As before, Nashat stressed that they don’t mean to boycott individuals but rather their institutions. The statement got heavily critisised as being wrong in terms of facts, in terms of not being a fitting analogy as well as being hypocritical. Nashat reports of several threats and sanctions they received. Indeed, many posts naming the Qatar team antisemits can be found throughout social media.

Due to high public interest, the EUDC Council decided to hold an early digital meeting (E-Council) due to the urgency of the matter. This extraordinary session took place to discuss the question of a respective EUDC Constitution amendment exclusively on the 13.08.2018. Interested people were invited to listen live on discord.

 

E-Council results:

On Monday, 13.08.2013, the EUDC Council voted in favor of the amendment proposed by the representative of Israel. An alternative proposal to state “can be expelled” instead of “shall be expelled” was rejected. Council officials also stated that “there was a third idea in the room of allowing readmittance of teams expelled under the above clauses if they apologize to teams towards whom they broke the code of conduct and if equity deems it appropriate. This has not been voted upon as council reps felt it needs more discussion with circuits. Thus, the constitution passage regarding such issues as of now reads:

56. Code of Conduct

56.1. Each Host of each Edition of the Championship shall draft, implement and enforce a Code of Conduct.

56.2. Any Code of Conduct implemented under this section shall ensure that all participants at the Edition of the Championships:

56.2.1. have an opportunity equal with other individuals to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as participants in the Championships;

56.2.2. shall not be hindered in or prevented from accessing said opportunity by discriminatory practices based on race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion, academic institution, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability; and

56.2.3. shall be free from harassment and/or intimidation in their participation or their performance of duties and/or obligations.; and

56.2.4 shall agree to participate in debates indiscriminately towards other participants, in accordance with the criteria set forth in 56.2.2, and upholding the spirit of the tournament set out in 3.1.

56.3. Any Code of Conduct implemented under this section shall contain at least the following provisions:

56.3.1. a statement of the principles contained in subsection 53.2;

56.3.2. the expected conduct of participants;

56.3.3. any relevant laws particular to the host country that participants may be unfamiliar with (for example, limitations on public speech and expression);

56.3.4. implementation and enforcement mechanisms;

56.3.5. reporting procedure; and

56.3.6. appeal mechanisms.

56.4. The Code of Conduct must contain only such mechanisms for enforcement and appeal as are compatible with the other requirements of this Article, the constitution, and the law of the country in which the Round takes place.

56.5. The Code of Conduct shall be sent to the heads of registered institutions in advance of the Edition of the Championships, advertised during registration and be made available on the tournament website and during the Edition of the Championships.

56.6. Each participant must sign a copy upon arrival at the Edition of the Championships, or be excluded from participation at the tournament.

56.6.1 A participant who refuses to sign the Code of Conduct shall be excluded
from participation at the tournament

56.6.2 A participant who breaks any of the core code of conduct outlined in 56.2
shall be expelled from that edition of the tournament

56.6.3 A participant either excluded or expelled under 56.6.1 or 56.6.2 shall not
be eligible for a refund on any fees paid or due.

 

Once things develop further, we will update the information here.

lok.

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