Academia for Equality in Israel-Palestine an die Göttinger Uni-Präsidentin

 

 

 

Academia for Equality (AfE) is a civil-society organization comprising of about five hundred Jewish and not Jewish members, based in academic institutions in Israel and all over the world, dedicated to principles of equality, inclusion, democratization and to the values of an inclusive and accessible public education.

 

אקדמיה לשוויון |  Academia for Equality | أكاديميون من أجل المساواة https://www.facebook.com/academiaforequality/ info@academia4equality.com

February 25, 2019

To the president of Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Prof. Ulrike Beisiegel

Academia for Equality (AfE) is a civil-society organization comprising of about five hundred Jewish and not Jewish members, based in academic institutions in Israel and all over the world, dedicated to principles of equality, inclusion, democratization and to the values of an inclusive and accessible public education.

It is with deep regret that we heard about your decision to withdraw your support of the 2019 Göttingen Peace prize which was awarded to “Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East” (Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost e.V.). This unfortunate decision is not only a mockery of the values of human rights and freedom of speech for which your university stands, it is also an insult to Jewish history itself as so many Jews in the modern era were the first to speak truth to power. Surrendering to the pressure of right wing groups falsely accusing the “Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East” for being antiSemitic and therefore illegitimate is in fact aligning yourself with those groups and accepting de-facto their propaganda accusation.

We are aware that “Jewish Voice” publically supports the BDS movement and we wish to stress that although as an organization Academia for Equality does not hold any official stance regarding the BDS, we strongly defend the right of academics and citizens in general to express any position on the matter without being labeled as anti-Semites.

The struggle for Human rights is controversial in nature as it involves protesting against states and other strong entities that violate these human rights. However the words of Desmond Tutu are more than pertinent here: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality”.

We are extremely disappointed to see how our colleagues in Germany help narrow the democratic public sphere, turning a cold shoulder to civil society groups advocating for the basic values which stand at the basis of our shared academic life.

We urge you to reconsider your decision.

Yours sincerely,

Academia for Equality, Israel-Palestine