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PACBI-Israeli citizens against the attempt to silence discussion of Israeli apartheid


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Boycott from Within | 13 January 2014

Israeli citizens against the attempt to silence discussion of Israeli apartheid

To whom it may concern,


We are Israeli citizens, active against our government's policies of racism, occupation and apartheid. We have learned that the VU University council in Amsterdam has tried to prevent an important panel by the Palestina forum from taking place. An Israeli citizen, Ronnie Barkan, was also scheduled to take part in the panel. This move by the University demonstrates that it has actively chosen a discriminating manner of behavior, deciding which Israeli speakers are legitimate and which are not.

 

It is disgraceful that those who claim to be champions of free speech are attempting to silence an intelligent, humanistic discussion of our government's apartheid policies, following decades of occupation and ethnic cleansing, given that it is just six months after this government carried out a massacre in the Gaza strip, in which 800 children were killed..

 

Apartheid runs contrary to the proclaimed values of The Netherlands. The silencing of academic and political discussion of human rights violations runs contrary to the freedom of speech which Dutch universities endorse.

 

The argument that the debate was not balanced is ridiculous and hypocritical. The Dutch public sphere is full of debates on the issue of Israel, in which no speaker is invited to criticize Israel’s apartheid, war crimes and calls for sanctions against Israel because of its actions. In fact, we have just been informed by our Dutch friends, that Israeli propaganda outlet - Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) - will hold a series of lectures acclaimed by all universities in the Netherlands. We find it outrageous that Students attending those lectures will obtain academic credit points by taking part in this act of propaganda. 

 

It should be noted that the University of Groningen has held an in-depth discussion with two critical Israeli voices not long ago, as well as critical Palestinian voices scheduled for an event next week. We commend the University of Groningen for not caving in to Israeli pressure and acting as a beacon of light in an otherwise dark and oppressive atmosphere that aims at the silencing of critics, such as the case of VU. 

 

We would like to affirm our support for holding Israeli war criminals accountable for their actions at the ICC in The Hague, and our insistence that the many crimes Israel is responsible for will reach international tribunals. The struggle for Palestinian rights is also the struggle to uphold the most elementary value expressed in international conventions of human rights. 

 

As Israeli citizens, we shall continue to support those who inform the Dutch public of Israeli apartheid's crimes and of European complicity in these crimes. We will also monitor attempts to silence this discussion, and call out those McCarthyite forces who are involved in such attempts.

 

Sincerely,


BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within  -  

boycottisrael.info

www.boycottisrael.info

Posted on 14-01-2015


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