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350 Israeli academics condemn universities’ gag policy

Some 350 Israeli academics signed a petition expressing their opposition and condemnation of the gag policy pursued against Israeli universities’ lecturers and students who criticised the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and the massacres committed there.

In recent weeks, hundreds of Arab and Jewish students as well as lecturers expressed their opposition of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

Several universities, prompted by right wing extremist groups, called the students to disciplinary courts after monitoring their activities on social networking sites.

The universities silenced lecturers who express progressive positions.

The signatories of the petition, which was published yesterday, called “to regain control and lead the struggle for a more democratic, open and pluralistic society” and said “while our soldiers are fighting in the Gaza Strip, Israeli democracy suffers from painful blows on the inside.”

The signatories pointed out that “any voice to contradict the consensus is being silenced and anyone who disagrees with the prevailing public opinion is being attacked verbally or physically” adding “while the Israeli universities and other institutions of higher education have always been at the forefront to develop democratic values ​​and educate on freedom of expression and openness, unfortunately we are seeing calls by several heads of educational institutions that threaten freedom of expression in their organisations.”

The petition added: “We must maintain the freedom of expression, especially when undercutting and painful statements that affect everyone are being issued. The essence of democracy is to contain painful statements and deal with them and not to silence them in any way.”

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