Several days ago the Israeli leftist author Moshe Sakal was booted from an academic conference in Marseilles at the request of Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish.
The director of the conference, French-Jewish author Pierre Assouline, succumbed to the Arab pressure and said Sakal’s participation “was not crucial”.
A year ago, Marseilles’ university was the site of another anti-Jewish boycott, when the septuagenarian Israeli novelist Esther Orner, who is also a Holocaust survivor, was banned from the University of Provence after a group of Arab writers objected to her presence.
For the first time since Vichy’s collaborators, French faculties have been cleansed of the Jewish presence.
From the outside, European universities appear to many as genteel, cultured and tranquil oases of wisdom. In truth, European institutions of higher education are now brutal offsprings of anti-Jew hatred.
This is the worst wave of anti-Israel violence since April 6, 2002, when 123 university academics and researchers from across Europe signed an open letter, published in Britain’s the Guardian calling for a moratorium on all cultural links with Israel.
Last spring, Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz was banned from Trondheim and Oslo universities because of his views on the Jewish state.
Last September, Israeli professor from Ariel University, Ronen Cohen, was expelled from a German academic conference in Berlin (he was later reinstated after a storm of protest).
The Spanish Housing Ministry disqualified Ariel University from competing in the international competition between university architecture departments to design and build a self-sufficient house using solar power.
According to a recent poll by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 62.2% of university students believe that “the Jews are powerful because they control the economy and the mass media”. More than 60% of Spanish university students say they do not want Jewish classmates.
A prominent figure of the Jewish community of Belgium, Jacques Brotchi, just resigned from the board of Free University of Brussels after denouncing several grave anti-Semitic incidents within the institution. The incidents included the staging of an Israeli checkpoint on the university campus and the invitation of anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonné.
According to Brotchi, the situation at Brussels is not isolated. “It is comparable to what is happening in other universities in Europe and elsewhere with the academic boycott of Israel campaigns, where anti-Zionism takes the form of anti-Semitism”.
Rotterdam’s Erasmus University’s International Institute of Social Studies just hosted UE funded events in which Israel was equated with the former apartheid regime in South Africa.
Recently, Europe’s largest student union, the University Of London Union, joined the worldwide boycott of all Israeli products. It’s just one of the many students’ unionswhich embraced the anti-Israel campaign. The Cambridge University Students Union voted to call on the University to cut ties with Veolia, a company involved in “infrastructure projects in Israeli settlements”, and employed by the University on a waste disposal contract.
In Italy, where a Parliamentary committee published the first report on anti-Semitism (one-fourth of Italians surveyed agreed with the statement: “Considering Israel’s policy, I can understand why people do not like Jews”), an Italian website called for the “blacklisting” of more than 160 Jewish professors who teach at Italian universities. The website accused the Jewish professors of “manipulating the minds of students” and “seeking to control Italian universities”.
Physical attacks on Jews have taken place in Europe's universities. Palestinian militants violently attacked Solon Solomon, a former Knesset staffer, at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Solomon never got the chance to deliver a speech, as members of the Palestine Solidarity Society and the Sinn Fein party shouted him down from the podium.
Fearing for his safety, Solomon fled the hall and retreated into a nearby room, which the protestors surrounded. University guards escorted Solomon to a waiting taxi.
Benny Morris, professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, was assaulted by a group of Muslims before a conference at the London School of Economics.
Will the European Union, many of whose prominent members either participated or acquiesced in the destruction of European Jewry 70 years ago, put a stop to the obscurantist conspiracy of the grandchildren of those Max Weinreich famously called “Hitler’s Professors” to expel the Jews (again) from the family of nations?