To Professor Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University
Dear Professor Klafter,
We the undersigned, are members of the General History Dept at Tel Aviv University, heard in full the speech of Mr. Alan Dershowitz in the name of the Honorary Doctorate recipients as broadcasted live on video.
As Historians who know very well the periods of the past where the enlightened democracy declined into a dark regime, we are very concerned with some of the things said. Mr. Dershowitz viciously attacked academic members of the university criticizing the policy of the government, he specifically named some members of staff and accused them for leading narrow-minded thinking as they impose their opinions on students (and he compared it to sexual harassment).
As you know there is no single proof that member of staff imposed his/her political opinions on students.
Mr. Dershowitz is allowed, of course, to enjoy the freedom of speech and to express his opinions, but the fact he named lecturers and accused them of hurting students and of hurting the strength of the State of Israel – These words are on the verge of defamation and may put those members of staff at risk.
We ask you, as the university administration to renounce the words of Mr. Dershowitz and to announce it will continue to protect the freedom of speech of all members of our academic community in any way. As you wrote in your article in the Jerusalem Post in 15th of February 2010 – The university must protect the freedom of thinking and freedom of expression of members of staff and students.
Bad winds blow these days in Israel and in the West in general, which are anti-Intellectual and anti-Democratic. The universities are – as you said – the beacons protecting from them. Negation of some views or others and the attack on those expressing them, from the podium of the university destabilize such protective walls.
Pro-Peace IS Pro-Israel
We are sure you will find a way for the university administration to renounce those words of Mr. Alan Dershowitz.
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