(November 20, 2019 / JNS) Israel’s prestigious Technion–Israel Institute of Technology has come under fire for hosting four guest lectures featuring members of the controversial NGO Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI).
The lectures were held on Tuesday in the framework of a Faculty of Medicine course on integrated systems for fourth-year students.
PHRI, a recipient of substantial funding from the European Union, United Nations and New Israel Fund, works to “change discriminatory and abusive structures and policies towards Palestinians in the Occupied Territory.”
The organization is known for its critical stance on Israel, and its founder and honorary president, Dr. Ruchama Marton, has openly called for anti-Israel boycotts.
During last year’s weekly “March of Return” protests in Gaza, in which Hamas terrorists tried to storm the border with Israel, PHRI issued a press release accusing Israel of “shoot[ing] unarmed demonstrators.”
According to the Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu, hosting PHRI is an explicit violation of the Council for Higher Education’s ruling to reject politicization of academia.
“This is a violation of the Council for Higher Education’s 2011 decision, which clearly states: all attempts of politicizing academia should be rejected,” wrote students in a letter initiated by Im Tirtzu’s Technion branch to the dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Elon Eisenberg.
“The Technion, which defines itself as apolitical, is not supposed to give a platform to political organizations, especially not organizations that promote anti-Israel activities,” continued the letter. “As Israelis and students that are proud of the Technion, it pains us to think that such an organization is part of our study program, especially in a course that is mandatory.”
According to Im Tirtzu, the dean has yet to respond to the letter.
Yishai Gelem, who studies at the Technion, said he was “shocked to learn that the Technion, which prides itself on being apolitical, would bring such a radical-left organization to give lectures.”
“And not only that,” added Gelem, “but students are being forced to attend because the lectures are mandatory.”
Another student, Ofek Dvir, called the lectures “embarrassing.”
“It is embarrassing for the Technion that such radical anti-Israel organizations are coming to give classes,” said Dvir. “We came here to learn, not to be indoctrinated with anti-Israel propaganda.”
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