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Hebrew University bans student conference on anniversary of Gaza invasion

Saed Bannoura | IMEMC News

29 December 2009

A student group affiliated with the socialist ‘Hadash’ party in Israel had organized a conference commemorating and condemning the Israeli invasion of Gaza one year ago, but the Hebrew University administration banned the conference, saying that it violates the University’s principles.

When students from the Hadash party handed out fliers for the event to their fellow students, some students from the right-wing Zionist Likud party took copies of the flier to the school administration, which determined that the event constituted ‘incitement against the state of Israel’ and would not be permitted. The reason given by the university was that the conference would include a commemoration of the civilians killed in Israel’s Gaza invasion one year ago.

Human rights groups have estimated that over 80% of the 1400 Palestinians killed during the 3-week long Israeli assault were civilians. 5 Israeli civilians were killed in the same time period.

The conference literature said that “one of the first physicians who entered Gaza during the war” would be a featured speaker at the conference. In addition, the literature called the invasion a “dreadful Zionist war”. The university administration considered this to be incitement against the state of Israel, and canceled the conference.

Hebrew University in Jerusalem is one of Israel’s largest universities, with 23,500 students. It was founded in 1925 as a “University of the Jewish People”, and its first Board of Directors included Albert Einstein and Martin Buber, both of whom later took public stands against the Zionist colonial project in Palestine.