The suppression of dissent inside Israel: A Palestinian professor arrested for opposing genocide

The suppression of dissent inside Israel: A Palestinian professor arrested for opposing genocide

The New York Times reports:

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a Palestinian professor at a prominent Israeli university, first waded into the debate over the Gaza war by joining academics worldwide in signing a letter that called for a cease-fire. It branded Israel’s assault on the territory a “genocide” and the leaders of her university responded by urging her to resign.

That was soon after the war began on Oct. 7. Months later, the professor drew even more scrutiny for saying it was time to “abolish Zionism” and accusing Israel of politicizing rape. She was briefly suspended in March by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she has taught law and social work for nearly three decades. But right-wing Israeli politicians demanded more severe punishment and in April, the police detained her overnight.

“I have been persecuted and defamed, my academic production of knowledge flattened and my home and even my own bedroom invaded,” Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 64, told The New York Times.

The professor is now under investigation for incitement to terrorism — a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. And though she has not been charged, her case has prompted a profound debate inside Israel about the repression of free speech and academic freedom since the war began more than eight months ago.

The professor’s lawyers say she is being punished for her political views. And some other Israeli professors and students worry that the country’s universities — which had long defended the values of relative diversity and open-mindedness — have contributed to the suppression of dissent.

While universities argue they are simply trying to keep campuses calm, critics say there is a clear double standard across Israeli society: Violent rhetoric toward Palestinians from Jewish Israelis is often brushed aside while Palestinian citizens of Israel who express support for Palestinians in Gaza or criticize the conduct of the war face discipline or even criminal investigation. [Continue reading…]

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