Communist Students Condemn Bennett’s Proposed “Ethics Code”: It Undermines Academic Freedom

At the behest of far-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a subcommittee of the Council for Higher Education (CHE) adopted Sunday, March 25, a wide-ranging “code of ethics to put a high barrier between politics and academia.” However, Communist students, the heads of Israel’s universities and lecturers’ unions across the country have condemned it.

The code prohibits lecturers from enjoining colleagues or students to assist the BDS movement by calling for boycotts of Israeli universities and colleges It also bans the educators from “wrongly taking advantage of the teaching platform to systematically and improperly exhort a political position that clearly exceeds what is required by the teaching of the course in its broader context within its field.”

Joint List chair MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), in a Twitter post, called the education minister “a dangerous fascist” who “passes a code of ethics straight from the darkest of regimes.”

The Association of University Heads criticized the code harshly. “The Council of Higher Education’s decision continues the unfortunate approach in which the ethics code is political censorship that tramples on the most basic principles of academic freedom and free research, and is intended to silence people,” the Council said in a statement.

“This is a breath of fresh air for Israeli academia,” cynically noted fascist student group Im Tirtzu’s CEO Matan Peleg. According to Peleg: “The code is a correct and necessary measure toward ending Bolshevik politicization in academia and ensuring that students receive an unbiased and pluralistic education.” He added: “What we have witnessed over the past year – calls for intifada on campus, comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany in the classroom, and professors promoting the boycott of Ariel University – show that the true test of the code still lies ahead and that it needs to be implemented in full force.”