Dear Officials of Leiden University,
We are a group of Israeli citizens. It has recently been brought to our attention that Leiden University had decided to host a special lecture at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University on Thursday 25/11,
commemorating a speech by Professor Rudolph Pabus Cleveringa during the Second World War, in which he protested the removal of Jewish faculty members.
The statement issued by Leiden University reads as follows:
"Cleveringa raised his voice right at the onset of the war, notably in regard of the freedom of expression. This is highly appreciated in Israel, all the more as there are still universities abroad trying to boycott Israeli professors and students."
We would like to pay our highest respect to Prof. Cleveringa, for his bold action, taken in the defense of universal principles of human rights.
However, as Israeli citizens who care for these principles’ the choice to hold the Cleveringa lecture at the Hebrew University seems completely erroneous to us.
The Hebrew University is not a politically neutral institution. In addition to the incidents mentioned above, the Hebrew University is a constant and willing collaborator with the Israeli Defense Force - a military force over which hover well founded allegations of war crimes, including the bombing and destruction of Palestinian Universities and severe disruption of their academic life, or the bombing of media centers and radio stations. The Hebrew University has been involved in the development of weaponry for use by the Israeli military and in the training of the top military weapons’ researchers. The university even hosts a military base within its Givat Ram campus. All of this does not bode well with the principles of human rights.