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France university stirs controversy by cancelling Palestine conference

April 17, 2024 at 8:10 pm

People gather outside the Lille university on 20 January, 2021 [DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images]

Lille University in France has stirred a controversy by cancelling a scheduled conference on Palestine, citing escalating tensions between Iran and Israel as the primary reason, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a written statement, the university announced the cancellation of the conference, which was scheduled for tomorrow, due to increased regional and international tensions following Iran’s recent airstrike on Israel.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, a prominent leader of the opposition, La France Insoumise (LFI) party, swiftly condemned the university administration’s decision, alleging an attempt to stifle discussions on peace in the Middle East.

Melenchon denounced what he described as the “instrumentalisation” of the conference by supporters of the Netanyahu government, expressing dismay over the suppression of freedom of expression.

“We condemn the instrumentalisation of this conference by those who unconditionally support the Netanyahu government,” stated Melenchon, highlighting the broader implications of the university’s actions.

In response to the cancellation, the LFI party leadership announced plans to relocate the conference to an alternative venue in the city of Lille.

The new venue, they affirmed, will provide a platform for open dialogue and discussion on the Palestinian cause, despite the challenges posed by the university’s decision.

Rima Hassan, a candidate for the European Parliament elections of Palestinian origin, is scheduled to participate in the conference.

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