Hebrew University suspends Palestinian academic for accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza

Hebrew University suspends Palestinian academic for accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza
The law professor was suspended after she criticised Israel's offensive in Gaza and said it was time to 'abolish Zionism' in an interview with Israeli TV.
3 min read
14 March, 2024
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened in 1925 and is considered one of Israel's oldest [GETTY]

One of Israel's top universities has suspended a prominent professor after she said Zionism should be abolished and criticised Israel's ruthless military offensive in Gaza.

Nadera Shilhov-Kevorkian, a law professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was suspended by the university on Tuesday, a day after she was interviewed on Israel's Channel 14 network in which she said it's time to "abolish Zionism".

Last week, the academic and children’s rights activist appeared on the ‘Makdisi Street’ podcast in which she spoke to the hosts about the Israeli army’s crimes in Gaza – which has seen troops mock and torment Palestinians, deface homes and belongings and detain the elderly, men, women and children.

She described the state of Israel as "a killing machine" and as "a necropolitical regime that can survive only on the erasure of Palestinians".

In a letter sent to Israeli politician Sharren Haskel, the university president, Asher Cohen, and the rector, Tamir Sheafer, said that Shilhov-Kevorkian was continuing to enjoy the reputation of the university while bringing "embarrassment to our esteemed institution".

"Since the beginning of the war, Prof. Shilhov-Kevorkian has been speaking out in a disgraceful, anti-Zionist and inflammatory manner," the letter read.

It also detailed that the administration had sent Shilhov-Kevorkian a letter on October 29 to ask her to consider resigning.

Weeks after the war between Israel and Hamas broke out, Shilhov-Kevorkian, a criminology specialist, joined over 1,000 academics around the world in signing a letter for "the immediate cessation of the Western-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza and the egregious violation of Palestinian children’s rights".

The move was condemned by the university's executive who asked her to resign, but she did not respond.

The letter said that the Hebrew University is "proud to be an Israeli, public and Zionist institution and condemns Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s recent shocking and outrageous statements".

The New Arab contacted Shilhov-Kevorkian but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

The academic, who is chair of global law at Queen Mary University of London, has received a flood of support online since the news of her suspension.

Academic and director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program Jamil Dakwar called it "another blow to academic freedom in Israel" in a post on X.

Max Blumenthal, editor of independent investigative outlet The Grayzone News wrote on x: "Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian was suspended from her job in the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ for telling the truth about Israel's genocide-justifying lies".

Since the start of the war, there has been a wave of suppression against those speaking up for Palestinians at universities globally.

Academics and students have faced suspensions and pro-Palestine marches have been banned at some colleges in America.