Bar Ilan Universtyi students college lawn hanging out 300.
(photo credit: Courtesy Bar Ilan University)
Bar-Ilan University banned the right wing NGO Im Tirztu from distributing material which it declared to be of racist content on campus, calling it “counterproductive” to student discourse.
The two booklets, "Nakba Nonsense" and "The Palestinian Refugee Lie," are its "most popular booklets and have been distributed for years in every Israeli University without issue," according to Im Tirtzu. "Nakba Nonsense" was also banned
by Bar-Ilan University last year.
“Bar-Ilan University believes in freedom of speech and that dialogue can be held between different positions in a respectful manner,” said a Bar-Ilan spokesperson. “Unfortunately in the booklets in question, this does not take place. Therefore, we did not approve their distribution.”
While Im Tirztu called the booklets Israeli advocacy material, the university claimed that its distribution was prone to cause riots and confrontations between different student groups. “In the booklet ‘Nakba nonsense,’ apart from its name, it contains contemptible expressions and racist content,’’ a Bar-Ilan spokesperson said. “’The Palestinian Refugee Lie’ was not approved [due to] the cartoon on its cover,” the spokesperson added. “Would such [an] image be distributed in [a] university campus abroad with an Israeli flag or a Star of David hanging from its nose, it would clearly be labeled as antisemitism.”
The ban occurred earlier this week ahead of the university’s student group fair, in which politically-affiliated campus groups are invited to present themselves to students.
“The university’s conduct is unfitting and goes against its very own guidelines,” said Carlos Bigio, the deputy head of Im Tirtzu’s Bar-Ilan University branch. “It is unfortunate to see how the university administration, which is supposed to promote discussion and social activities, is working to silence students and prevent their freedom of expression.”
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The university said it has allowed Im Tirtzu to distribute a long list of its booklets over the years, including in this year’s student fair, but will avoid the distribution of booklets with a message that could be perceived by some as offensive.
“This is an activity for students, and not a fair intended to provide a platform for dozens of people from outside who may engage in provocative or offensive activities,” a Bar-Ilan spokesperson stated.
“It should also be remembered that the university’s security personnel and its disciplinary authorities have no authority over such people.”
“In the face of slanderous lies and ongoing attacks against the State of Israel’s right to exist,’ Im Tirtzu replied, “it is unfortunate that the university decided to cave to political correctness rather than stand up for the facts and the truth.”
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