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Why was Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian suspended?

A graphic of Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Todays’ Lesson - How To be Rhinos

In 1959, Eugène Ionesco wrote the play “Rhinoceros”, about a small french town whose residents all turn into Rhinoceroses. It was a clever metaphor that served to warn us about the dangers of facism and ultra nationalism, and the damage that can be done if we bury our heads in the sand when persecution becomes the norm.

If You’re a Palestinian - You Better Shut Up

Yesterday, Hebrew University proved itself to be an institute governed by questionable decision-making. They opted to suspend Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian in response to accusations from a nationalist right-wing member of the Knesset. In a public statement, the university alleged that Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian had spread falsehoods damaging to the university's mission of exploration and dialogue. It's rather Orwellian of them to cite this as grounds for suspension, as their decision effectively suppresses free speech and academic freedom.

When Cowards Lie

The University claims prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian denied the crimes of Hammas on October 7th and threatened Jews that “they should be scared”. The truth is, it was incredibly easy to see that the professor not only acknowledged the crimes committed by Hammas, she also strongly condemned them. We attach here a clip from the same interview where it was claimed she denied the crimes where she clearly says she wants no child harmed and no women raped in her name and that she was horrified on October 7th. In the same interview she discusses the Israeli propaganda that served to dehumanize Palestinians and make Jews scare - not quite the threats the member of Knesset claimed she made >>

A Zionist institution or an Academic Institution?

The president affirmed in his letter that Hebrew University is a proud Israeli, public, and Zionist institution. Is it appropriate for a university to embrace Zionism as part of its identity? And how can it claim to be public when it evidently neglects the needs of non-Jewish and non-Zionist citizens? Unfortunately, these crucial questions seem destined to be overlooked in a climate of suppression and intimidation. Regrettably, Hebrew University is not alone in its nationalistic purging of academia. At the onset of the conflict, Gur Alroey, the dean of Haifa University (where about half of its students are Palestinians), expelled Palestinian students based solely on reports from Jewish students. When several professors voiced their objections, he publicly targeted them in a letter, leaving them vulnerable to threats from a vindictive public.

A Climate of Fear

Since the October 7th attack, public discourse in Israel has veered toward extremism and fear-mongering. The pervasive rhetoric of total war instills widespread apprehension, silencing dissenting voices and fostering a climate of intimidation. Expressions of doubt or empathy are met with aggressive backlash, leading to the loss of livelihoods and personal connections for those seeking to uphold their humanity. In such turbulent times, an individual's worth is defined by their capacity for critical thought and empathy, rather than blind adherence to prevailing narratives. Though daunting and fraught with peril, this critical engagement offers the sole beacon of hope for a brighter future. We invite you to come and learn the languages of this place, and take your small share in a better tomorrow.

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