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To whom it may concern,
We are Israeli citizens, active against our government’s policies of racism, occupation and apartheid.
We have learned that the VU University council in Amsterdam has tried to prevent an important panel by the Palestina forum from taking place. An Israeli citizen, Ronnie Barkan, was also scheduled to take part in the panel. This move by the University demonstrates that it has actively chosen a discriminating manner of behavior, deciding which Israeli speakers are legitimate and which are not.
“IT IS DISGRACEFUL THAT THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE CHAMPIONS OF FREE SPEECH ARE ATTEMPTING TO SILENCE AN INTELLIGENT, HUMANISTIC DISCUSSION OF OUR GOVERNMENT’S APARTHEID POLICIES, FOLLOWING DECADES OF OCCUPATION AND ETHNIC CLEANSING, GIVEN THAT IT IS JUST SIX MONTHS AFTER THIS GOVERNMENT CARRIED OUT A MASSACRE IN THE GAZA STRIP, IN WHICH 800 CHILDREN WERE KILLED…”
Apartheid runs contrary to the proclaimed values of The Netherlands. The silencing of academic and political discussion of human rights violations runs contrary to the freedom of speech which Dutch universities endorse.
The argument that the debate was not balanced is ridiculous and hypocritical. The Dutch public sphere is full of debates on the issue of Israel, in which no speaker is invited to criticize Israel’s apartheid, war crimes and calls for sanctions against Israel because of its actions. In fact… … …