Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter from California Scholars for Academic Freedom. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues.
September 13, 2019
To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Justic Ayalet Shaked, and Minister of Higher Education Rafi Peretz:
We, the California Scholars for Academic Freedom, a group of over 200 academics working in higher education in California, write to condemn in the strongest terms the brutal invasion of the home of Professor Widad Barghouti and her subsequent detention without cause on September 1, 2019. Professor Barghouti, who teaches communications and media at Birzeit University, has been put under administrative detention subject to interrogations without cause and without recourse to due process.
Administrative detention, which can be imposed without charges and be indefinitely and arbitrarily extended, is a form of legal violence imposed by the Israeli State on Palestinian society and, in this instance, on a respected educator as well as members of her family. Palestinian faculty and students alike have a right to education, a right that is systematically undermined by harassment and administrative detention.
We call for the immediate release of Professor Widad Barghouti. We call for an end to the unjust practices of harassment and administrative detention that are aimed at denying Palestinians their right to education. Educators and intellectuals should be free to express their views and pursue their profession without obstruction or harassment. We call for an end to this continued suppression of Palestinian society.
California Scholars for Academic Freedom
Professor Judith Butler,
Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature,
Department of Comparative Literature
University of California, Berkeley USA
Professor Emeritus Lisa Rofel,
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz USA
Co-coordinator, California Scholars for Academic Freedom
Professor Claudio Fogu
Associate Professor, Department of French and Italian
University of California, Santa Barbara USA
Professor Vida Samiian
Professor and Dean Emerita
California State University, Fresno USA