Israel to Muzzle Professors on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

freedom speechBy Arabia Higher Ed Editorial Team

The Israeli establishment is frustrated that some professors who teach about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Israel as well as in the United States are designing their own courses that undermine Israel’s legitimacy in the minds of their students.

This issue surfaced this past June after the Ministry of Education in Israel distributed guidelines for how faculty members should deal with such controversial political issues.

The proposed guidelines were rejected by the National Union of Israeli Students, the Alliance for Academic Freedom in the US, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the Academic Engagement Network.

The guidelines have been submitted for possible adoption by the Israeli Council for Higher Education, and  would become government policy if adopted.

The Alliance for Academic Freedom issued a statement condeming the proposed policy, stating that it "promotes ironic and Orwellian constraints on speech."

The Alliance iterated that "the proposed regulations not only run counter to the fundamental Western principle protecting freedom of speech, but also overturn the decades-long practice defining universities in Western democracies: A university faculty is a voluntary and self-regulating body of scholars that itself establishes the principles guiding professional conduct.  Therefore, it is unrealistic for universities to expect that they can persuade faculty to abandon deeply held views."

The statement urges Universities to provide students with opportunities to be exposed to a range of perspectives on contentious issues like the Arab-Israeli conflict.


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