Yaheli Moran Zelikovich, 28 December 2009
Latest: 29 December Haifa university joins in! See below.
Hebrew U students who are members of Hadash had received authorization to hold the conference on campus, but the institution eventually canceled what it referred to as a “conference of incitement” against the IDF and the State of Israel.
A pamphlet circulated ahead of the conference read, in Arabic, “A year has passed since the war in Gaza was launched; don’t let it be forgotten. Members of the Hadash branch invite you to an evening in which we will remember the dreadful and damned Zionist war.”
Hadash Knesset Member Afou Agbaria, who was scheduled to attend the conference, was described in the leaflet as “one of the first physicians who entered Gaza during the war”.
To the Hadash members’ dismay, members of the “Lavi cell”, which is affiliated with the ruling Likud Party, got hold of the pamphlet and complained to university administrators, who said the conference’s subject matter violated prior understandings reached between the university and the Hadash members.
“Lavi cell” chairman Edi Yari Freiman criticized “attempts by students to incite against the State of Israel on campus”, while Hebrew University said in a statement, “The institution permits political activity as long as it does not violate Israeli law and does not go against the university’s principles.”
Following a similar ban at Hebrew University, students at the University of Haifa were notified Tuesday that the administration would not allow their planned protest commemorating Israel’s invasion of Gaza one year ago.
The university’s statement banning the event said that the planned commemoration constituted ‘incitement’ against the state of Israel.
The student union president said that he approved of the administration’s decision, because he believed that the event would further increase existing tensions between Arab and Jewish students.
The protest was organized by several leftist parties on campus, including Hadash, Balad and Sons of the Village, in order “to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Gaza.”
Zionist student groups at Haifa University had planned a counter-protest to show their support for the Israeli military’s invasion of Gaza last year. That invasion resulted in over 1400 Palestinian deaths, the vast majority of whom were civilians.