Students and activists from the Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu have expressed outrage after Technion-Israel Institute of Technology hosted multiple guest lectures by members of the NGO Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI), which is highly critical of Israel and and according to Im Tirzu has expressed support for the BDS movement.PHRI describes itself as an organization which “stands at the forefront of the struggle for human rights–the right to health in particular–in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” and promotes “a just society where the right to health is granted equally to all people under Israel’s responsibility.” In the past they have denied that they support the BDS movement.
The lectures, part of the Faculty of Medicine's course on integrated systems, are a direct violation of the Council for Higher Education's ruling to reject the politicization of academia, according to Im Tirtzu. Students are required to attend the lectures.
Im Tirtzu sent a letter to the dean of the Technion calling on the university to cancel the lectures or at least to host a parallel conference presenting the alternate opinions in the subjects discussed. Im Tirtzu also planned an initiative to send letters to the Faculty of Medicine asking for the lectures to be cancelled. 800 letters had been sent as of Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, this is not the first time that clearly anti-Israel lectures have been scheduled to take place within the Technion's walls [that] students have been forced to attend," said Ofek Dvir of the Technion's Im Tirtzu branch. "Last year, we prevented a lecture that discussed 'civilian supremacy' and 'apartheid' in Israel and 'the occupied West Bank' from being held by Professor Muhammad Jabarin. We called for the heads of the university to act immediately in order to prevent incidents of severe politicization of academics."
"As Israelis and students that are proud of the Technion, it pains us to think that such an organization is part of our study program, especially in a course that is mandatory," wrote students in a letter to the dean, according to JNS. The dean has not responded to the letter.
"It is embarrassing for the Technion that such radical anti-Israel organizations are coming to give classes,” said Ofek Dvir, according to JNS. “We came here to learn, not to be indoctrinated with anti-Israel propaganda."