Haifa University bans ´Nakba Day´ event (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Ahiya Raved Published: 05.16.12, 21:02)
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Students rally against decision to nix function, accuse institution
of ´silencing´ them
Some 30 Haifa University students and faculty protested on Wednesday
against the institution´s decision to ban a "Nakba Day" event
scheduled to take place on campus.
The decision came two days after a "Nakba Day" memorial ceremony
caused a riot at Tel Aviv University.
Haifa University officials said that they initially authorized Arab
students to hold the event at the school´s auditorium because it was
presented as a play involving Arab Israeli actor Salim Daw. But
management later learned that the function was meant to serve as a
memorial for the "Nakba," or the so-called catastrophe that befell
the Palestinians with the establishment of the State of Israel 64
Moreover, rightist students threatened to hold rallies in protest of
"While the event was initially described as a cultural one, students´
(online) posts and other sources have made it clear that this is a
function of a completely different nature," The institution said in a
statement. "For this reason the university decided to bar the event
from taking place."
The scorned students then decided to demonstrate their displeasure
with what they described as the university´s attempt to "silence"
´Freedom of speech violated´
Chairman of the Hadash branch on campus, Muhammad Halaila, told
Ynet: "From the very beginning, the event was described to the dean
as one that is meant to mark Nakba Day in collaboration with Jewish
and Arab students and faculty."
Halaila, a third-year political studies and communications student at
the school, accused the dean of caving in to pressure from Education
Minister Gideon Sa´ar and other officials.
"This is a very bold statement indicating that the freedom of speech
and academics are being reduced to nothing," he said.
Halaila added that the students are considering going through the
appropriate legal channels to compel the university to allow such
events in the future.
During Wednesday´s rally, the protesters wielded Palestinian and red
flags, as well as signs bearing the education minister´s image with
the saying "Fascism Won´t Go Away."
They chanted slogans against oppression and in favor of coexistence
between Jews and Arabs. They also sang the national Palestinian
anthem, "Biladi Biladi," which means "My country, my country."
(Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 05/16/12)
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