Creating new perspectives since 2009

120 academics condemn Israel’s arrest of Palestinian professor opposed to genocide

April 19, 2024 at 12:58 pm

Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian [Screengrab-Democracy Now]

Nearly 120 academics from around the world have signed an open letter condemning Israel’s arrest of Hebrew University professor and internationally renowned feminist scholar Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian yesterday at her home in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on the charge of incitement to violence.

The police raided and searched her home and “she is currently undergoing harsh and dehumanising interrogation,” they said in the letter. Her lawyer said the charges against her are serious.

Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who holds both Israeli and US citizenship, has been subjected to violent repression and harassment by the Hebrew University for speaking out against the ongoing genocide in Gaza. She was suspended from her teaching duties in March, though later reinstated once it became clear that there is no basis for the allegations against her.

“The attack against Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian is one on all Palestinian scholars, students, and activists who bring to light the violent and genocidal nature of the Israeli state,” the signatories said.

Read: 70,000 sign petition calling on UK to end arms sales to Israel

“We thus recognise this as an attempt to silence critique of Israeli state violence in a context of a society infused with open genocidal incitement and discourse. In fact, the Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir welcomed the arrest and said that it ‘conveys an important message – whoever incites against the State of Israel, we will take action against them. They will not be able to hide behind their position or any other title.’”

This silencing and repression, they added, “endangers … the lives and education of students who study, write, and are part of her intellectual community in the Hebrew University and beyond.”

They said they held the Hebrew University of Jerusalem responsible for Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s arrest “because of its persistent and public repression of her academic freedom.”

Among the signatories are Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, Rashid Khalidi, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University, Dr Raz Segal, Professor of English at UCLA and winner of the 2022 Palestine Book Awards, Dr Saree Makdisi, Sultan Qaboos Professor of Middle East Studies, William & Mary, Dr Stephen Sheehi, Assistant Professor of  Psychology at the Doha Institute of Graduate Studies, Dr Lara Sheehi, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University, Dr Noura Erakat, and Queen Mary University of London (WMUL) Professor Penny Green.