APAN supports university protests against institutional complicity with Israeli occupation, genocide

Apr 30, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has voiced its support for students and staff establishing Palestine solidarity demonstrations and encampments across the campuses of Australian universities this week.

It is imperative to safeguard the democratic right of young people, students and educators to speak out against, and teach and learn about, Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza and its history of apartheid, oppression and occupation of the Palestinian people.

Students are justified in protesting the complicity and collaboration of their universities – via research partnerships, financial investments and professional, cultural and academic associations – with arms manufacturers, the Israeli Government, and institutions and businesses that enable, support and profit from Israel’s genocide and occupation.

Israel’s genocide has killed at least 34,488 Palestinians and wounded more than 77,600 in almost seven months. 

Almost 15,000 of these Palestinians have been children, with UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini calling this a “war on children.”

Israel’s violence also represents a brutal and calculated attack on the very foundation of Palestinian society and its future, with more than 5,479 students, 261 teachers and 95 university professors killed in Gaza (as of 18 April 2024).

More than 80 per cent of Gaza’s schools and all of the universities have been destroyed in what UN experts have described as “scholasticide” – the “intentional effort to comprehensively destroy the Palestinian education system.”

APAN calls for universities to support and protect the rights of students and staff to protest, speak up against, learn about and teach about Israel’s ongoing genocide, and to listen to and follow the demands of these protesters.

APAN also supports university student and staff calls for academic institutions to end their normalisation of Israeli apartheid, genocide and occupation by cutting ties with weapons manufacturers and Israeli universities.

Comments attributed to APAN President Nasser Mashni:

“We wholeheartedly support the students and staff exercising their democratic rights to protest against their universities’ complicity with Israel’s genocide.

“Universities must not be cogs in Israel’s war machine against Palestinians, or play any part in facilitating or profiting from Israel’s brutal killing and occupation of Palestinians. Nor should universities shy away from demanding that Israel be held accountable for its ongoing atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank.

“Protest is a legitimate form of public political action that deepens our democracy, and that universities – and the community more broadly – must uphold and champion.

“It is unacceptable for academic staff such as Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah to be targeted, smeared or threatened for fostering debate and understanding about the horrors that Israel is perpetrating in Palestine, and universities must not allow themselves to be intimidated into silencing staff or students.

“Attempts to shut down legitimate, peaceful protest of Israeli genocide and institutional complicity in this genocide must be exposed for what they are – cynical efforts to divert attention from Israel’s brutal violations of international law, and Australia’s political unwillingness to act.”