Freedom of speech either exists in Israel or it doesn’t

The fallout over Israeli academic Neve Gordon’s call for a boycott against his country gathers pace. It’s a position I share with him and we’ve exchanged communication in the last days about this. Israel treats the Palestinians like rabid dogs; the state must be forced to understand that its behaviour is totally unacceptable.

Here’s an online petition to support Gordon and send a message to his institution, Ben Gurion University.

The LA Times, the paper that published Gordon’s original article, runs a news story about the controversy and includes this:

Outrage at the private politics of academic faculty or over academic institutions hosting provocative speakers is common in a country where political passions run high. These incidents could be seen as indications… of healthy academic freedom.… Earlier this year, left-leaning academics petitioned Tel Aviv University to protest the appointment of Colonel Pnina Sharvit-Baruch as a law-faculty lecturer and demanded the appointment be revoked (it wasn’t).… She headed the… Israeli military’s… international law division during the Gaza operation; the appointment met with opposition on the grounds that she had legitimized controversial strikes against Palestinian civilians during the operation.

Then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blasted the petitioners as “self-righteous hypocrites.”

So far, only around 100 people have signed an online petition calling for Gordon’s dismissal from his tax-payed position, compared with more than 10,000 who signed one Sunday to boycott Swedish companies, including Ikea, over a separate issue.… Now there are calls for… boycotting the university. The university says it is “exploring its options concerning Gordon’s actions.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common