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University of Haifa
Call for Academic Boycott of Israel following firing of Professor ILAN PAPPE - but Pappe was never fired

Call for Academic Boycott of Israel following firing of Professor Ilan Pappe

The Palestine Solidarity Committee calls on the South African
Ministry of Education, Academic institutions, academics and
intellectuals in South Africa to boycott Israeli academic and
research institutions for their contempt for the basic principles of
academic freedom and for dispassionate research - as
represented in the unfolding case of Professor Ilan Pappe.

The expulsion of Professor Pappe is only one example of the
Israeli authorities crack down on freedom of speech.

Pappe, a Jew with Israeli citizenship, holds a doctorate in history
from Oxford University and is one of Haifa University's best-
known and most respected historians. Pappe and fellow
revisionist historians such as Avi Shlaim, Zachary Lockman, Ted
Swedenburg, Gershon Shafir and Uri Ram have dedicated their
professional lives to unearthing the truth about events that have
entered Israel's triumphalist mythology associated with what Israel
calls its "war of independence" and the Palestinians call Al-Nakba
(the catastrophe). Along with these Israeli "new historians", Pappe
continues to unveil what really happened in 1948, refuting Israel's
claims that Palestinians left their homes willingly and affirming
that they were expelled by military force.

Professor Pappe has made it his duty to "go on telling [his] own
people, from within, to break the mirror that shows them a
superior moral body. They must replace it with one that exposes
the crimes that they, on their behalf their various leaders and
governments, are committing against humanity and the
Palestinian people."

Pappe has always stood apart in his open support of the
Palestinian struggle for independence. He strongly believes that
the only means to achieve peace and reconciliation with the
Palestinian people is to de-Zionise Israel, a first step towards the
creation of some form of a future bi-national or democratic state.

Pappe had now been requested by his own University of Haifa to
stand "trial". The prosecution, represented by the Dean of
Humanities, has called on the court "to judge Dr. Pappe on the
offences he has committed and to use the court's legal authority
to expel him from the university".

Pappe believes the real reason that Haifa University is seeking to
put him on trial lies in his past critique of the university's conduct
in the "Katz affair". Teddy Katz was an MA student who was
expelled by the university in 2001 for unearthing evidence of a
massacre committed by Israeli forces in the coastal village of
Tantura in May 1948. The Katz case sheds light on the extent to
which mainstream Zionism is prepared to go in discouraging
research that brings to the fore such aspects of the 1948 war as
"ethnic cleansing".

Having no illusion that he will receive a "fair trial", the Palestine
Solidarity Committee fully supports Professor Pappe's statement
not to participate in a "MacCarthyist charade". The current action
taken by Haifa University are nothing but "an opening gambit". We
support Pappe's call on academic institutions to voice their
opinions and help expose "the already dismal and false pretence
of Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East." Pappe's
expulsion was likely to happen sooner or later, given the present
atmosphere in Israel where Israeli academia has unanimously
decided to support the government and silence any criticism.

In defence of the notion of freedom of speech and expression -
which we South Africans hold so dear - and in defence of the
notion of academic freedom, we, therefore, believe that all
academics and intellectuals of conscience must immediately
begin a comprehensive boycott of Israeli academia.

Issued by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, South Africa

 

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