South Africa: Nehawu Calls On the University of Free State to Cancel MOU With University of Haifa

press release

"We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians." Nelson Mandela

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union [NEHAWU] calls on the University of Free State to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the University of Haifa from apartheid Israel.

NEHAWU has been and continues to be involved in various international campaigns that aims to raise awareness about Israel's apartheid regime over the Palestinian people and build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. One of the priority areas is the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Israeli universities are major, willing and persistent accomplices in Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

For decades, Israeli universities have played a key role in planning, implementing and justifying Israel's occupation and apartheid policies, while maintaining a uniquely close relationship with the Israeli military. Tel Aviv University, for example, has developed weapon systems and the "Dahiya doctrine" of disproportionate force employed by the Israeli military in committing war crimes against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians.

They are involved in developing weapon systems and military doctrines deployed in Israel's recent war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza, justifying the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land, rationalizing gradual ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians, providing moral justification for extra-judicial killings, systematically discriminating against "non-Jewish" students, and other implicit and explicit violations of human rights and international law.

To end this complicity in Israel's violations of international law, Palestinian civil society has called for an academic boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions. Refusing to normalize oppression, many academic associations, student governments and unions as well as thousands of international academics are now supporting the academic boycott of Israel.

Any activity that is in collaboration with Israeli and its Universities is directly supporting the regime against the people of Palestine.

We call for the University of Free State to abandon the webinar scheduled to take place on the 14th of October in collaboration with the University of Haifa, Israel. Moreover, NEHAWU appeals to the University of Free State to terminate its Memorandum of Understanding with University of Haifa and to review all other ties with apartheid Israel.

The national union will write to the university to demand the cancellation of the MOU and we will give the university management 7 days to cancel it. Failure by the university to cancel the MOU will leave us with no option but to picket at the university to vent our anger.

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