In the letter, which can also be signed, the students express their outrage at Erasmus University’s ‘hypocritical silence on the Israeli occupation of Palestine’ and Israel’s actions against Palestinians, which they consider to be genocide. They accuse the university of actively collaborating with the Israeli state, through links with Tel Aviv University, among others, contributing to the development of weapons systems.

'As with Ukraine'

Signed by OccupyEUR, Erasmus School of Colour, Palestine Solidarity Rotterdam, EUC Collxctive and university council party Progressive Student Party, the letter highlights the recent violence in the Palestinian territories and calls for solidarity and accountability. It condemns the historical injustices Palestinians have faced and criticises Western leaders for supporting Israel’s ‘right to self-defence’. The students argue that their university should not remain neutral on the violence and should take a stand, as EUR did on the war between Russia and Ukraine.

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‘It is okay to feel uncomfortable when talking about horrific events’

On Tuesday, associate professor Jeff Handmaker and others organised a teach-in about the…

The student groups collectively call on the university to ‘unequivocally condemn Israel’s war crimes’, ‘implement an academic boycott of Israeli collaborations’, ‘urge academic partners to do the same’, and ‘show unconditional solidarity with Palestinian scholars, students and staff’. They urge students and staff to join their cause.

Executive Board response

The Executive Board has responded in writing to EUR4Palestine’s demands. “Especially in these times when people are opposing each other and demanding opinions lead to polarisation, it is a university’s responsibility to show that it is possible to have respectful, humane discussions and to have an eye and ear for feelings and expressions,” write Annelien Bredenoord, Ed Brinksma and Ellen van Schoten in the joint statement.

“This will certainly also occasionally lead to uncomfortable moments. That is also allowed. What is not allowed is for it to become unsafe. For no one. We saw this event (the teach-in on Friday afternoon, ed.) as an expression of those feelings where it was important that it be respectful. Discrimination, intolerance, exclusion, incitement and hate speech are not allowed. We are very alert to that. Colleagues from Security attend the meeting and remain present until it ends. If boundaries are crossed, we take action. The basic principle is that the EUR is and remains a safe place for everyone.” At the time of writing, EUR4Palestine members were about to leave the building.

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