Police Arrested Hebrew University Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Hebrew University professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian was arrested on Thursday afternoon, April 18, on suspicion of incitement. She was transferred to the crime-fighting unit for investigation. Two weeks ago, the police recommended opening a criminal investigation against the lecturer. The head of investigations and intelligence in the police, Superintendent Yigal Ben Shalom, recommended to the prosecutor’s office the opening of the investigation.

In addition, the police are weighing whether to open an investigation against Tel Aviv University Dr. Anat Matar, a leading member of Academia for Equality. saying her online eulogizing on April 9, the late Palestinian prisoner Walid Daka may constitute “support of and incitement to terror.”

The Hebrew University suspended Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian last March for denouncing Israel’s deadly war in Gaza during an interview. Shalhoub-Kevorkian had been under pressure to resign from the university since late October, when she signed a call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. One hundred Arab and Jewish students protest the same day the suspension at the Mont Scopus campus of the university and some 150 Hebrew University faculty members called to revoke the suspension.

Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Photo: California State University)

In addition, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) writes to the Hebrew University in demanding it reverse its decision saying her suspension violated the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. In its letter, ACRI argues that Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s comments, “while contentious, are protected under the right to freedom of expression, rendering her suspension an intolerable infringement upon academic freedom and constitutional rights.”

According an open letter on behalf of over left-wing eight hundred academics, members of Academia for Equality, “we raise an urgent emergency alarm over the decision of the Hebrew University’s administration to suspend Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian from teaching duties due to her statements regarding the current war. Besides the extreme violence being meted out by the Israeli military on the Gaza Strip’s civilian population, other arms of the state are attempting to destroy Israel’s critical civil society and silence the voices of intellectuals opposed to the war and other Israeli policies, especially among the Palestinian citizens of the state.”

The letter, under the title: “Israeli Academia is Entering the Abyss”, says “Israeli law and university by-laws include measures which enable prosecution and disciplinary action against supporters of terrorism and racism. But the law and by-laws have not been used in the countless cases in which Jewish academics and students have incited to genocide in the Gaza Strip and violence against members of the academic community. On the other hand, due to pressure from government-adjacent fascist organizations and senior government ministers, since the war began, numerous procedures have been initiated against students and academics, both Arab and Jewish, who have expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposition to the atrocities committed in Gaza. Likewise, the steps taken against Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian contradict the university by-laws, which do not authorize the president or rector to suspend an instructor over speech, and the law, which does not prohibit the expression of such views.”

“We have listened carefully to Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s remarks, including the podcast interview that provided the ostensible grounds for her suspension. While we do not necessarily agree with all of the views expressed, the university’s claims against her are unfounded; they seem to be mere lazy repetitions of the complaints by fascist organizations the university and Members of Knesset, as reported in the media. Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s remarks do not comprise incitement, threat, support for terrorism or racism, or denial of the October 7 massacre. Rather, they represent a critical perspective on Israel’s actions during the current war.”

Related: https://maki.org.il/en/?p=31746