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18 April 2024

Campus
& Culture

Omar Barghouti

Teach-in about Israel-boycott features Palestinian activist

At the first teach-in involving Gaza – since VU Amsterdam changed its policy – speakers will discuss an academic boycott of Israel.

The first teach-in about Israel and Gaza that falls under VU Amsterdam’s new policy has been scheduled. On Wednesday, March 13, there is a gathering about boycotting Israel. The speakers are Humanities emeritus professor Gloria Wekker, writer Conny Braam, VU Global History professor Pepijn Brandon and Palestinian activist and academic Omar Barghouti.

Visa problems

Barghouti is an advocate for a boycott against Israel. He is the founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and co-founder of the international BDS movement. Barghouti is Palestinian and holds a Israeli permanent residency and often faces visa issues. In 2019 he couldn’t get into the U.S. due to an ‘immigration matter’ and that same year he also had visa troubles in the UK. Israel previously banned him from traveling for three years, which a judge annulled one year later so he could receive a peace price in the United States. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

Academic duty

Gloria Wekker is known, among other things, for her book White Innocence – Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race and for her prominent role in the debate about multiculturalism. Conny Braam wrote about her involvement in the struggle against South African Apartheid, which ended in 1990 after being boycotted for years.

Pepijn Brandon is professor at VU Amsterdam. He spoke out against VU Amsterdam’s reluctance to permit gatherings about Gaza on campus. In November he told Ad Valvas that universities are forsaking their academic duty by not speaking about Gaza.

The teach-in will be moderated by VU professor of philosophy Catarina Dutilh-Novaes.

VU Amsterdam announced last week that the barrier for organizing gatherings about Israel and Gaza was lowered, exclusively for and by VU students and employees. The university also said it would come down harder on spontaneous actions such as sit-ins and noise demonstrations.

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