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academic freedom

  • Is it 'unethical' to oppose the occupation in academia?

    A new 'code of ethics' commissioned by Israel's education minister seems to target left-wing politics in universities. The Israeli Education Ministry, headed by far-right politician Naftali Bennett, recently commissioned an ethical code for political conduct in higher education in Israel. The resulting document (Hebrew) is a highly invasive set of political thought controls portrayed as high, dry ethical norms. [tmwinpost] Following years of campaigns against left-wing academics, most famously by hyper-nationalist group Im Tirtzu, the new ethical code declares that its aim is to “protect students” from the political activity and views of academic faculty. Penned by the same man…

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  • Hebrew U. cancels conference on Palestinian prisoners, following pressure

    Hebrew University canceled the conference after a student group associated with Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party penned an open letter to the university president. 'The very existence of this conference lends legitimacy to terror.' By Eli Bitan Hebrew University announced it is canceling an academic conference on the topic of Palestinian prisoners, which was slated to take place this Tuesday. The conference, which was organized by the The Harry S. Truman Research Institute, was to feature a study by Dr. Maya Rosenfeld on Palestinians in Israeli prisons. [tmwinpost] Despite the timing of the conference, which would have taken place as over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners…

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  • For first time in years, Israeli academics pay solidarity visit to Palestinian university

    An Israeli delegation of academics visits Kadoorie University in the West Bank city of Tulkarm to show support following a string of IDF raids on the campus. For the first time in many years, a delegation of Israeli academics made an official visit to a Palestinian university. The first, small delegation arrived a month ago, and the second, last Saturday. The visits – meant to express support for Palestine Technical University — Kadoorie following a string of incidents by the IDF that are damaging its academic freedom – come after years in which no Palestinian university agreed to meet with any…

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  • Israel's truthiness on Palestinian academic freedom

    In denying that Israel limits academic freedom in Palestine, the Israeli embassy in Washington seems to forget about the Palestinian students and academics whose movement it restricts. By Sari Bashi The Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. recently decried as baseless "the accusation that Israel arbitrarily limits the entry of foreign nationals who seek to lecture, teach and attend conferences at Palestinian universities." The embassy appears to be responding to protests and calls by American academics to boycott Israeli academic institutions, in response to restrictions on students and scholars accessing Palestinian universities. And yet in explaining Israeli travel policy, the embassy's…

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  • A professor's freedom to tweet: The Steven Salaita affair

    A Palestinian American professor's withering tweets against Israel's offensive in Gaza cost him his job. If his freedom of speech isn't protected, it could be me or you next. By Shachar Pinsker In 2013, the American-Indian Studies Program at The University of Illinois decided to hire Steven Salaita, who then held a tenured position at Virginia Tech University. The university's administration approved the appointment via a standard procedure that seemed to go smoothly. So in 2014, Salaita resigned from Virginia Tech, sold his house and moved with his family to Urbana-Champagne. But then, something very unlikely happened. On August 1,…

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  • Clampdown on campus politics in Israel feeds social apathy

    By Issa Edward Boursheh Let me start by making a few essential points: I believe that academic work should not be politically influenced, pressured or manipulated, and any argument that is discussed in class must be supported by methods, terms, tools and criticism that fit the world of research methods. I am against professors promoting their political agenda in class, based on emotions or so-called facts, which are not supported scientifically. Having said that, I think it’s the role of students to bring politics into universities and campuses by any legitimate means necessary. The main demand of the Free Speech…

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  • Op-ed in Israeli newspaper against academic freedom

    The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli English-language newspaper, has published an op-ed by British History professor Geoffery Alderman. In this op-ed, Alderman argues that academics in Israel should not be free to criticize the government's policy, because the country is at war: In peacetime, an academic should indeed be free to criticize, castigate, chastise and/or condemn not just the government of the country in which he lives and works, but the country itself. This freedom cannot be claimed when the country is at war and its very survival is at issue. … ISRAEL IS at war… In this deplorable situation I…

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  • Academic Freedom Under Attack? Interview with Prof. Neve Gordon

    It has been a troubled year for Israeli academia. The rising nationalist sentiment in the government, legislature and civil society has spilled over into bitter struggles on campuses throughout the country. Nationalist groups such as IsraCampus, Israel Academia Monitor, and the ultra-nationalist Im Tirtzu have set their crosshairs on academia, seeking the dismissal of faculty members and control over curricula, and urging foreign donors to withdraw funds unless the faculty they have targeted are removed. They have published blacklists and ranked each university and department according to political legitimacy. Much of the fire has been directed at Ben Gurion University…

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