According to an interim ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in January, it is ‘plausible’ that Israel’s actions in Gaza could amount to genocide, but a final conclusion has not yet been reached. If the Court finds that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, the council wants the Executive Board to actually sever ties with Israel.

Bar Ilan

There are currently no ties with a Palestinian university, the council members write to the board, but there are ties with at least one Israeli university, Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, an exchange agreement.

According to council members, that university cooperates in various ways with the IDF, the Israeli army, and the ISA, the Israeli secret service. For example, the BESA Center, a think tank that is part of Bar Ilan, issues opinions to military policymakers and held a conference in cooperation with the IDF, according to the council. The university also grants scholarships to army reservists and offers undergraduate courses to secret service officers.

First of its kind

As far as is known, the Rotterdam university council’s joint appeal is the first of its kind. At other Dutch universities, at most individual members or groups of a university council have made such an appeal. The Executive Board is expected to respond to the University Council’s letter next week.

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