MK Eldad: Suspend Dep. Prosecutor for Trying to Muzzle Lecturer
MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad (National Union) has asked Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman to suspend Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan for “selective law enforcement.”
Eldad was reacting to reports that Nitzan has been harassing an instructor from Haifa University who was accused by two Arab students of making anti-Arab statements. According to reports published in the media over the weekend, Nitzan - who has been cleared of all criminal charges in to the case at hand - instructed Dr. David Bukai to sign a statement which says: “I hereby express my regret for all of the statements I made in the classroom, and I am warned that if I make such statements again I will stand trial for incitement.”
Bukai was summoned to the Haifa police station last week, where he was shown the statement and asked to sign it. He angrily refused and stormed out of the station.
The affair began in 2005, when Bukai reportedly told a female Arab student that Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Muslim Koran. After this event, a politically active male Arab student began attending Bukai's class and making provocative statements on a regular basis. At a certain point the two Arab students turned to the media and accused Dr. Bukai of making outrageous anti-Arab statements, including supposedly saying that Arabs were “genetically” stupid and that “all Arabs should be shot.”
Hundreds of Jews Against Two Arabs
Hundreds of Jewish students who attend the class rallied to Bukai's side and attested that he never said the things attributed to him by the two Arab students. The university launched an inquiry and found that the charges against Bukai were indeed false. Nevertheless, Deputy Attorney General for Special Assignments Shai Nitzan ordered a police investigation against Bukai.
The investigation has gone on for more than four years and Bukai was never summoned to give his testimony. Last week he was told that the investigation against him was closed, but he was also instructed to sign the statement. The Justice Department made it clear that the initiative to make Bukai sign the statement was Shai Nitzan's.
MK Eldad noted that left-wing academics regularly make incendiary statements from their pulpits, including comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, calls for academic and economic boycotts against Israel and more, yet these go unnoticed by Shai Nitzan because he sees them as part of academic freedom of speech. “When a lecturer with a different worldview – a renowned scholar of the Arab world – dares to give his scientific opinion of Islam, the Deputy State Prosecutor begins running wild,” he said.