Academic institutions in Israel have enthusiastically and voluntarily joined Israel’s campaign of massacres and destruction in the Gaza Strip. From disciplining students and staff who express ‘offensive’ opinions, establishing hasbara teams and offering tuition assistance to soldiers: Israel’s academia on the front lines.
In a circular sent to all staff and students, the administration of Tel Aviv University wrote that ‘Tel Aviv University embraces and supports all security forces acting to restore the quiet and security to Israel, including its students and workers who were called for reserve duty’. The official letter continues: ‘The university denounces and condemns all offensive and extreme remarks propagated these days on social networks which have no place in the public discourse. The university will operate in accordance with disciplinary regulations applicable to students and faculty in all cases of infringement.’
In response to a question by the Israeli economic news outlet TheMarker, the university administration stated that the purpose of the letter is to ‘prevent expressions of extreme hatred by the radical left and radical right’. It is the university, apparently, which will both police private statements by students and teachers, and rule on their ‘extremity’.
In countering the Palestinian demand for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, administrations often righteously explain the importance of freedom of expression and dialogue, values they inherently promote, suggest that many of their staff members are working for peace and that the campuses themselves are living examples of coexistence between Israelis and Arabs.
Tel Aviv University may well present this ‘patriotic act’ in its fundraising efforts from abroad. Indeed, the university has promised tuition assistance to students currently in Gaza, help that will come from the various ‘friends of Tel Aviv University’ chapters throughout the world. The university further gathered ‘equipment, food and supplies’ for soldiers.
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