Ben-Gurion University to Reprimand Hadash Activist Over Reference to Poet Darwish

Watan Madi, a student and Hadash activist at Ben-Gurion University was reprimanded last week by the disciplinary court after quoting the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish during a campus ceremony marking Nakba Day. The complaint against Madi was filed by the fascist organization Im Tirzu, which staged a counter demonstration outside the event last May.

Ben-Gurion University’s disciplinary court convicted the student, Watan Madi, of disobeying campus authorities by using the word “shahid” (martyr) during the event.

The disciplinary court commissioner, Prof. Avi Rubin (Photo: Ben-Gurion University)

Last month, the disciplinary court commissioner, Prof. Avi Rubin, advised that the university halt proceedings against Madi on the grounds that there were fundamental and essential flaws in the conduct of the university throughout the legal process. Members of the Hadash chapter at Ben-Gurion said they intend with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) to appeal the decision.

Last month, some 400 Israeli university faculty demanded that disciplinary action against Madi be reversed. In a letter sent to the Ben-Gurion University administration, the signers said that the disciplinary process taken against the student was flawed and violated academic freedom of expression and the principle of equality.

The letter noted that one of the disciplinary board’s members had resigned before it made its ruling and was replaced by someone who hadn’t heard the student’s defense. The letter was signed by faculty staff members from Ben-Gurion, Tel Aviv, Hebrew, Technion, Open, Bar-Ilan, Reichman and Haifa universities as well as from Bezalel, the academic colleges Kibbutzim College, Kaye Academic College of Education, Tel-Hai, Weizmann Institute, Ruppin, the College of Management Studies, Sapir, Hadassah, Beit Berl and Van Leer Institute.