"We are Farid!"
An open letter to French university administrators: Stop silencing advocates for Palestinian Rights!
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) condemns the ongoing censorship and attacks on the academic freedom of supporters of Palestinian human rights by French universities' administrations. The latest episode in this anti-democratic repression was the silencing of the prominent South African anti-apartheid activist and scholar Farid Esack through cancelling his speaking engagements at several French universities.
Contradicting the letter and spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which called for "a world in which human beings ... enjoy freedom of speech and belief," this attempt to silence professor Esack is yet another indicator of the despicable disregard for human rights and freedom of expression that prevail in French universities today when it comes to defending Palestinian rights or criticizing Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
By conflating criticism of Israel's systematic oppression of the Palestinian people with anti-Semitism, administrators of some French universities are shamelessly parroting Israeli propaganda, engaging in fear mongering, and ultimately cheapening the very meaning and gravity of anti-Jewish racism.
This all too familiar tactic is used by Israel, its lobby groups, and its propaganda mouthpieces around the world to muzzle voices that challenge Israel's criminal impunity.
We stand in full solidarity with Professor Farid Esack against this repression, and we remind French universities of their obligation to uphold and protect freedom of expression and academic freedom, which includes ensuring a "fair discussion of contrary views."