Ha’aretz (Hebrew only) and Ynet (English, short) reported that school officials prohibited a Nakba commemoration on campus at the University of Haifa on Wednesday. The school cancelled the event just three hours prior to the time it was scheduled to begin. This was after the students had obtained all the necessary permissions.
(Note the similar uproar at Tel Aviv University, where a commemoration went off but with massive protest.)
In place of the planned event, students and faculty demonstrated outside the university to protest what they said was suppression of free speech. The number of participants at the demonstration was not reported. Two protesters, a Palestinian student and a Jewish professor, pointed to the hypocrisy of school officials who continually praise the University for being a multicultural institution but actually suppress the rights of minority students.
The school says that it stopped the commemoration because the flyers that were distributed by the students describe an event that was different than the event they had permitted. The student organizers deny this.
A similar last-minute cancellation occurred in December when students attempted to stage a protest on the third anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza. School authorities also cited discrepancies between the proposed plans and the publicity for that last-minute cancellation.
Saar Szekely, the TV reality star from the Israeli “Big Brother” who became an overnight sensation because of his criticism of the occupation, was scheduled to participate. His appearance was cancelled.
Professor Steven Plaut teaches economics at the University of Haifa. He is an American-born Israeli who received his doctorate at Princeton. He posted an anti-Palestinian, Nakba-denying screed at the settler web site, Arutz Sheva. The piece is titled “Happy Nakba Day!”
The following are some of the Professor’s startlingly racist recommendations for Nabka greeting cards:
-One, two, three, MANY Nabkbas!
-A little Nakba never hurt anyone!
-Remove the illegal Palestinian settlements sitting on Jewish land!
-Two-state solution: One for the Jews and One for the Kurds, but none for the Arabs who live down the Lane
-Bulldoze an anarcho-fascist today!
-Help the Palestinian prisoners maintain their hunger strike!
-Don’t wall them out Fence them In!
-When this drone is a rockin’, we’ll come a-knockin’!!
-We switched your 72 virgins with a 72 year -old virgin!
If the University of Haifa wants to discourage speech which is deleterious to the general welfare of the institution, it obviously would be better off reprimanding Dr. Plaut, than obstructing the students and faculty who organized the Nakba event.