Spanish universities decide to break relations with Israeli centers that are not “committed to peace”

Spanish universities decide to break relations with Israeli centers that are not “committed to peace”

The Spanish Universities have shown this Thursday their support “for the feelings of our campuses and the demands that are spreading from them” – in reference to the camps that are demanding a ceasefire in Palestine – and have reported that they will break with the centers Israelis who are not committed to peace.

This was expressed in a public note by the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (Crue) after the Meeting this Thursday. “We undertake to review and, where appropriate, suspend collaboration agreements with Israeli universities and research centers that have not expressed a firm commitment to peace and compliance with international humanitarian law,” explain the rectors.

In addition, the Crue also commits to “intensify cooperation with the Palestinian scientific and higher education system and expand our cooperation, volunteering and care programs for the refugee population.” The last point of the note talks about “ensuring that in the exercise of free expression, equally reprehensible behavior of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia does not occur, as well as any other hateful behavior within university communities.”

“Empty words”, according to the camping students

The student camps that proliferate throughout the country in solidarity with the Palestinian people responded to the rectors on Thursday afternoon. In a joint statement, they have described the CRUE statement as “empty words” that do not respond to their demands and have demanded that the universities “totally sever relations of all kinds.” According to the students, “in addition to agreements with Israeli universities, our universities maintain relationships with companies that finance the genocide against Palestine. “We are not worth an empty review while they profit from the purchase and sale of weapons that are used against the Palestinian people.”

They have also accused the rectors of “entering the discursive framework of the Zionist state of Israel by talking about ‘anti-Semitic actions’ that are not really happening.” The spokespersons who read the statement in Madrid added that the actions they demand “should lead to the Spanish state unreservedly denouncing the genocide of the Palestinian people and breaking all its ties with Israel, since until today its position has been one of flagrant complicity.” ” and they concluded by warning that “this movement by the Crue does not discourage our intention to remain in these camps.”

The professors who make up the University Network for Palestine of the Community of Madrid have shown their support for the campers this Friday. “We want to second, support and publicly thank the students for their resistance, integrity and capacity in the actions that are being carried out these days in Madrid (…). The students are giving us lessons: integrity, effort, response and resistance. We believe that their action has been decisive in accelerating the CRUE’s reaction, and in the imminent recognition of Palestine as a state in Spain and other European countries,” they said in a statement.

The note speaks of a “crucial movement (…), of a social awakening against injustice, inhumanity and political and ecological, economic and gender unconsciousness”, and predicts that this action will be “followed by others.”

From the US to Valencia

The rectors’ statement comes a week after the protests on university campuses that had begun in the US reached Spain. Students from the University of Valencia were the first to set up tents, generating a contagion that has spread this week to campuses throughout the country. Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Euskadi and other communities have followed their example after several months of silence from the university world or low-impact individual actions.

Some universities had gone ahead of CRUE. Last April the Basque public University did so and yesterday Wednesday the University of Barcelona voted in the faculty on a motion in which it asked to suspend relations with Israel.

The PP has also taken a position on the camps. The party’s spokesman, Borja Sémper, maintained that he has the “feeling” that the student demonstrations demanding an end to the conflict are actually “against Israel and in favor of Hamas.” Before that, the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso had required the rectors of Madrid’s public universities to keep “politics out of the classrooms.” The message does not seem to have penetrated the Crue.

The Israeli Government has previously reacted to similar actions by the Spanish Government. When the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Pablo Bustinduy, sent a letter this past Wednesday to companies alerting them that they could be collaborating with genocide and human rights violations, the Israeli embassy in the country charged against the “false accusation of genocide.” that “gives wings to Hamas and incites hatred.”

The rectors’ reaction comes seven months after Hamas attacked Israel and the Israeli Government responded by starting a massive attack that has devastated the Gaza Strip and murdered thousands of Palestinians. When Russia invaded Ukraine the Crue reacted immediately. The day after the Moscow attack, the rectors condemned the attack and the following week they recommended that their centers break relations with Russian university centers.

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