Website policy


We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
_____________________

BSST

BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine
____________________

JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

_____________________

Posts

Haifa university steps back from drive to silence political Arab students


Arab students at the University of Haifa last month protest against the administration’s refusal to allow them to hold a Nakba Day demonstration. Photo by Rami Shllush

Following Adalah’s appeal to Supreme Court: Haifa University withdraws decision to prevent Arab student clubs’ activities on campus

From Adalah
June 08, 2014

Today, 8 June 2014, Haifa University announced to the Supreme Court (SCT) that it is willing lift its recent ban on Arab student clubs’ activities, and allow them to hold public activities on campus to celebrate the end of the school year. This announcement followed Adalah’s appeal to the SCT, filed on 5 June, against the Haifa District Court’s decision to uphold the ban on activities of Arab student clubs’ of al-Jabha/Hadash, Balad, and Abnaa al-Balad imposed by the Dean of Students. The University also announced that it would waive court expenses imposed by the District Court, in return for Adalah’s withdrawal of the appeal.

In response to Haifa University’s announcement, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher, who represents the Arab students’ clubs, stated that “although the university’s proposal does not fix the injustice that the Arab student clubs faced as a result of banning their activities, including the violation of their freedom of expression, we agree to the university’s proposal. We see that it meets the basic demands that we sought through our Supreme Court appeal, most importantly, to reinstate the Arab student clubs’ activities. It is very unfortunate that Haifa University forced us to go through this long and complex judicial process to reach a decision that meets the basic principles of freedom of expression.”

On 18 May 2014, the Dean of Haifa University announced that the university would prohibit all Arab student clubs’ activities, due to their activities to commemorate Nakba Day without permission. Adalah represented the students in several proceedings before Haifa University tribunals, the Haifa District Court, and the Supreme Court.


Court stops Israeli university suspension of Palestinians for commemorating Nakba


Outside Tel Aviv University students commemorate the Nakba as right-wing nationalists with Im Tirtzu carrying Israeli flags try to interrupt the ceremony, 11 May, 2014. Photo by Oren Ziv / ActiveStills

Patrick O. Strickland, The Electronic Intifada
May 22, 2014

Samer Asakli expects anti-Palestinian racism at Haifa University, but he did not imagine he would be punished after commemorating the Nakba, what Palestinians term the ethnic cleansing of their homeland in 1948, on campus on 12 May.

When approximately fifty Palestinians gathered for a small commemoration in an outdoor area on campus, they were surrounded by dozens of police officers and university security guards. Rightwing Jewish students from the Im Tirtzu movement, an ultra-nationalist group whose members have previously threatened Palestinian students at Israeli universities, were allowed to protest the commemoration by waving Israeli flags.

As if it weren’t bad enough that the student union threw a dance party to humiliate the Palestinian students who had gathered to quietly commemorate the Nakba after the university revoked a permit to hold a rally, Asakli said he was informed that he and four other participants were banned from “being seen on campus outside of our lectures.”

Two organizers were fully suspended for the duration of the school year, but a local court reversed that decision on Tuesday following a petition by Adalah, a Haifa-based advocacy group that works to promote the rights of Palestinians in Israel.

“It is unfortunate we needed to turn to the courts to convince Haifa University not to harm the students’ rights to protest and express their opinion. The university’s decision was arbitrary and extreme,” attorney Sawsan Zaher, who represented the students, was quoted as saying in an Adalah press release.

Groups banned

“I have a clean record,” Asakli, a 22-year-old undergraduate studying political science, told The Electronic Intifada. “I have never been in trouble with the university and have good grades.”

Haifa University’s administration also announced that three left-wing Palestinian student groups — al-Jabha, Balad and Abna al-Balad — are now banned from holding political events on campus for the remainder of the semester.

As Israeli universities and the authorities have escalated a crackdown on Palestinian students in recent years — including police harassment at peaceful protests, the arrests of student activists and routinely denying Palestinian students’ requests to hold events — Nakba commemorations have become a focal point for Israeli politicians and school administrations.

On Monday this week, dozens of students protested on campus against the university’s decision to punish the students.

Students from Haifa university protest on May 16, 2012 at the last minute-cancellation of their Nakba-day event. Photo by Hagai Frid

“Haifa University wants to prevent the word of our Nakba getting out in any way,” Asakli said. “They give us excuses to deny all of our protests or ceremonies … they say things like there is no available space or there is no auditorium for our lectures.”

Suspended

Asakli, from the village of Meghar, is active in the youth communist movement in present-day Israel.

He refused to serve in Israel’s occupation military by intentionally failing a mental aptitude test and gaining exemption. Asakli is a member of the Druze religious minority, who unlike other Palestinian citizens of Israel are required to serve in the army.

Yet this is the first time the university targeted Asakli for punishment, he said.

Though the university initially approved an application submitted by a number of Palestinian student groups, the organizers were later informed that the permission was revoked. However, they decided to go ahead with the Nakba commemoration.

Afterwards, when the students attempted to bring lawyers to university in order to accompany them during talks with the administration, campus security prevented them from entering.

Tareq Yassin is the secretary of Haifa University’s student wing of al-Jabha, a left-wing political party in Israel. Along with Ahmad Masalha, the secretary of the student wing of Abna al-Balad, a Palestinian political movement in present-day Israel, 23-year-old Yassin was initially suspended for the remainder of the semester.

“I was targeted because I was one of the organizers,” he said. “Al-Jabha party has had a lot of problems at Haifa University. For the last three years, they have denied all of our requests to commemorate the Nakba.”

“Racist talk”

However, Israeli students with the extreme right Im Tirtzu were not punished when they protested without the university’s approval.

In addition to protesting the Nakba commemoration, “[Im Tirtzu] were passing out flyers full of racist talk about Arabs and offensive claims about the Nakba,” said Yassin.

Haifa’s dean of students tried to mitigate criticism of the university by telling the Israeli daily Haaretz that he did not approve of the student union playing music during the Nakba commemoration.

However, the seven Palestinian students were the only ones punished, while the Jewish Israeli students who held an unapproved event were not.

Yassin added that Im Tirtzu is allowed to act freely on campus “without any problems whatsoever.”

“Im Tirtzu shows up at all of our events,” said Asakli. “Even right-wing extremists like the settler Baruch Marzel have come to the university without the administration’s permission, but they do not have any problems or consequences.”

Marzel is an American-born Israeli settler who lives in a Jewish-only colony in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Known for his extremism, he has been prevented from entering Israeli campuses in the past.

Marzel and other settlers are known to attack Palestinian residents of Hebron, according to activists based in that city. Elsewhere, he has organized violent rallies against African asylum seekers in Tel Aviv, and harassed an Israeli minister in response to Israel’s participation in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

More recently, in February 2013, Marzel visited the university to rally support in the elections for Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Haifa University also recently prevented student groups from bringing Muhammad Kanaaneh, a prominent Palestinian politician, for a speaking event last week. Kanaaneh — who was imprisoned by Israel for more than four years for “contact with a foreign agent” — was arrested the moment he arrived on campus.

“The university told us that he is a security threat,” Asakli said, adding that the administration did not explain how Kanaaneh’s lecture posed a threat.

Police also banned Kanaaneh, who is a senior member of Abna al-Balad, from coming to the city of Haifa for fifteen days.

Last month, Tel Aviv University also banned Kanaaneh from campus and from giving a lecture about Palestinian history. Although the university granted left-wing student organizations permission to host Kanaaneh, that permission was subsequently revoked following right-wing protests against the event.

“We always see these racist policies against Palestinians in all of the universities. They send security and police to all of our events on campus,” Yassin said. “It is a reflection of the state’s racist policies against Palestinians on a smaller level in the academic settings.”

“All of the extremist right-wing movements like Im Tirtzu get a free pass in Israel,” Yassin added. “But they have a created a militarized environment for Palestinian students.”

Systematic discrimination

Nearly 1.7 million Palestinian citizens live in villages, towns and cities across present-day Israel. Dozens of discriminatory laws stifle their political freedoms and limit their access to land and other state resources.

Palestinian rights groups in Israel have documented systematic discrimination against Palestinian students at Israeli universities. The Arab Culture Association’s annual report for 2011-2012 documents dozens of instances in which universities “limited the freedom of expression of Arab students and groups.”

At Hebrew University in occupied East Jerusalem, around 200 students assembled for a Nakba commemoration on 14 May.

Students told The Electronic Intifada that there was a heavy police presence in addition to the university security.

Palestinian student groups at Hebrew University decried the measures taken against them in a statement addressing the general uptick in repression: “The university administration could not help but feel ashamed due to the contradiction between these kinds of oppression and the fake image it is trying to send to the world as being a liberal and democratic space.”

Hundreds also gathered in front of Tel Aviv University on 11 May, where dozens of students shared personal testimony of their families’ dispossession, read out the names of destroyed villages and recited Palestinian poetry.

Both events were protested by Israeli students from Im Tirtzu and greeted with police intimidation.

But Palestinian student groups at Haifa University intend to continue commemorating the Nakba and other Israeli massacres against the Palestinians.

“The universities and other institutions in Israel are horrified of the word ‘Nakba,’” said Asakli. “And that’s because they know that they are part of the problem.”

Patrick O. Strickland is an independent journalist and regular contributor to The Electronic Intifada. His website is www.patrickostrickland.com. Follow him on Twitter: @P_Strickland_.

Notes and links

See also District Court cancels Haifa University’s decision to expel Arab students, Adalah, May 20th, 2014

Amos Shapira, President, university of Haifa.

On taking office in 2012, Prof. Shapira said:
“But besides academic excellence… the University of Haifa has two additional strategic roles that are critical to the ongoing existence and prosperity of the State of Israel.

First, as the only research university in the northern region of the country, its existence is critical for the continued existence of the northern region and to prevent Israel’s becoming an overall extension of the central region, considering the various strategic risks in such.

Its second unique role is the direct outcome of the University’s distinctive composition of students and faculty: to create and provide a shared experience for the different populations, which is essential for Israel’s existence and resources.”

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.