Which employees are in contact with groups such as Students for Palestine, Scholars for Palestine, the Dutch Palestine Committee and Plant een Olijfboom? CIDI is demanding this information from Leiden University.

CIDI also wants access to all partnerships, exchange contracts and correspondence in the past ten years with ‘organisations, individuals and entities’ in the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and China, ‘insofar as these countries, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, violate human rights’.

Double standard

The centre is invoking the Open Government Act. According to CIDI, the request under this act is ‘motivated’ by the establishment of an ethical committee that will scrutinise Leiden University’s ties to Israeli universities. The university has also frozen an exchange programme with two Israeli universities.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty are consistently raising awareness of human rights violations in the war in Gaza. If the university acts upon this, this means there’s a double standard, says CIDI.

After all, human rights are also violated in China, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with which the university entertains ties as well. “Nonetheless, the Executive Board, possibly for fear of pro-Palestinian activists, is only re-evaluating its collaborative relationships with Israeli institutions.”

The Rights Forum

The Rights Forum, a pro-Palestinian human rights organisation, previously filed a request under the Open Government Act with the Dutch universities, in order to gain insight into the ties to organisations that ‘that propagate support for the state of Israel’. This includes CIDI. The procedure is still ongoing at nine universities.

Incidentally, that request didn’t relate to the contacts of individual employees, but to institutional ties. CIDI’s request takes things a step further. The centre is asking for ‘all relationships of employees’ and ‘correspondence with individuals’.

It remains to be seen if CIDI will get everything it’s asking for. The Open Government Act contains several grounds for exception, including ‘respect for personal privacy’.

Read more

Cut ties with Israel? The education minister warns against it

Should Dutch universities cut their ties with Israel? Student demonstrators have been…

No comments yet — start the discussion!