University heads denounce coalition bill that would ban display of Palestinian flag

Joint statement says measure would infringe on free speech, make schools ‘branches of police and Shin Bet’; Tel Aviv University chief vows not to enforce ‘fascist’ law if passed

Illustrative: Demonstrators and counter-demonstrators of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Thursday. (Oren Nahshon/Flash 90).

Israeli university chiefs on Thursday blasted a coalition law bill set to be discussed in the upcoming cabinet meeting that would outlaw waving the Palestinian national flag anywhere in Israel, alleging that if it passes, it would trigger a “wave of academic boycotts of Israeli institutions all around the world.”

The president of Tel Aviv University, Ariel Porat, went further in a separate statement, saying that if the passes, he will not enforce the law’s clause mandating the permanent expulsion of students who wave the Palestinian flag.

The bill, sponsored by MK Limor Son Har-Melech of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party and which passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset last week, would make it illegal to wave the flag of an entity that is hostile to Israel.

Explanatory notes say it seeks to establish “reciprocity” by banning the flags of entities that likewise prohibit the Israeli national banner.

The aim of the bill appears to be to make it illegal for Israelis to wave Palestinian flags. The legislation would apparently enable police to take a more forceful and immediate action against demonstrations in the Arab community, where such banners are often displayed.

Also, the flags of countries officially at war with Israel — such as Syria — have been displayed by peace activists at events.

More …

© Copyright JFJFP 2024