Defending our students committed to Palestine

As teachers, doctoral students, researchers and faculty members at Sciences Po and other universities, we express our full support for students that participated in the occupation organised the morning of Tuesday 12th March, in response to the call of the Academic Coordination Against Colonization in Palestine (ACACP)to organise a day of academic support for the Palestinian people.

We unambiguously condemn antisemitism, which we oppose without question. We also condemn the political instrumentalization of the fight against antisemitism. We therefore condemn the defamation of the students involved in mobilising for Palestine, on the basis of “unspeakable and completely intolerable remarks” which are not specified. There is no doubt that this is intended to divert attention from the substantive issues at hand: the abuses committed against Palestinian people perpetrated by the state of Israel. We condemn the legal escalation of the case, which only confirms the biases of the administration, who remain silent about the harassment carried out before Tuesday’s events, and were unwilling to listen to students who wish to express their solidarity with Palestine. We therefore call upon the leadership of Sciences Po to suspend the disciplinary procedures against student activists.

We also stand against the repressive methods that the administration used (cutting off the electricity, opening the windows of the amphitheatre, etc.), quite literally silencing a witness to the crimes recently perpetrated in Khan Younes. Equally, we note the silence within our institution concerning the violence suffered by the Palestinian people since October 7th. Whilst we endeavour through our teaching and engagement to provide frameworks for understanding the conflict in a civil manner, we feel that the administration’s attitude is fuelling a climate of tension.

Several of us doctoral students were participants during the four hours of reflection and productive discussions surrounding Palestine. We can therefore attest to the organisers’ unwavering position against all forms of hatred, whether antisemitism, racism and islamophobia. Throughout the morning, the amphitheatre was open to the entire Sciences Po student and teaching community. At no point did we witness any acts of discrimination. With regards to the sequence of events, we refer you to the statement from the Palestine Commitee.

We further affirm that the visit of the Prime Minister and the remarks made by the President constitute an unacceptable interference that undermines university autonomy and freedom. We condemn the undue pressure placed upon the academic community since October 7th, pressures that have been criticised by numerous organisations and outlets: in particular, by L’Humanité and the Circle of Researchers on the Middle East (CCMO). We call upon French universities to mobilise for Palestine, and we support the boycott of Israeli academic institutions where they are implicated in the colonisation of Palestinian territories and the oppression of Palestinians. (See the statement of the ACACP). 

You can sign and view the list of signatories here