Academic BDS: Tel Aviv U to Investigate Solidarity with Shalabi

Tel Aviv University will conduct an examination of senior lecturer Dr. Anat Matar for her participation in a solidarity demonstration with hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Hanaa Shalabi.

The demonstration, which took place on the university campus on Wednesday March 21, called for the release of Hanaa Shalabi, who is imprisoned without charges after she was released as part of the Palestinian-Israeli prisoner exchange in October 2011.

Hanaa Shalabi was released from over two years of administrative detention on 18 October 2011, as part of the prisoner exchange deal concluded by the Israeli government and Hamas. Four months later she was arrested from her family home in Burqin, a village near Jenin. Fifty Israeli soldiers raided her home in the early morning, accompanied by an intelligence officer and a large number of dogs.

Following her arrest, Shalabi was taken to Salem Detention Center, where she was subjected to beatings and humiliating treatment. She started her hunger strike on the first day of her arrest, in protest of the ill-treatment to which she was subjected.

According to the Tel Aviv University security, the demonstration in solidarity with Shalabi was illegal. Im Tirzu, a radical right wing organization, carried on a counter demonstration in the area. Students affiliated with Im Tirzu later identified Dr. Anat Matar, a lecturer in the Tel Aviv University Department of Philosophy,  as having participated in the solidarity act with Shalabi. Im Tirzu subsequently initiated a petition against Matar and encouraged the dozens of student complaints filed with the university administration against her.

Tel Aviv University announced that it will conduct an examination of the subject.

In response, Dr. Anat Matar said that the demonstration was not an illegal act, and that “People stood quietly on the grass with eyes and hands tied, and that in my opinion does not require approval”.

Im Tirzu claimed that “it is regrettable to find that at Tel Aviv University there are people working against the state.”

This attack on Dr. Matar is not the first time that Im Tirzu attempts to silence dissident voices on campus and has received a positive response by the university administration.

In January this year Im Tirzu focused on Professor Yehuda Shenhav, also of Tel Aviv University, because of comments Shenhav made in the classroom. Shenhav identified the Im Tirzu movement as a fascist group.

* This article was published by the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

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