Academic Freedom must be upheld: AFP letter in support of UCC conference on Israel


Below is a letter sent by Academics for Palestine to the President of University College Cork (UCC) in support of an academic conference on Israel due to take place there in April 2017, which now finds itself under threat due to external influences.


From: Academics for Palestine
To:  Michael B. Murphy, President, UCC
Date: 15th January 2017

Dear President

As a group of academics working in Ireland who are committed to supporting Palestinian universities and academics, Academics for Palestine are writing to urge you to allow the  conference International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism  to take place as planned in University College Cork in April. This is an important conference that promises to be a crucial intellectual event with many senior international academics participating. Yet there have been disturbing reports in the press that this conference may be cancelled owing to pressure from Zionist groups.
Even if it were a minor conference, we feel compelled to  ask that University College Cork upholds the central principle of academic free speech which is being attacked here. In other countries, undemocratic pressure groups have managed to stifle academic free speech and shut down academic conferences dealing with this topic under the guise of bogus health and safety claims.

It is vitally important that such interference is not allowed to  happen in  Ireland. We urge you to defend the principle of academic free speech and independent inquiry which is the cornerstone of Ireland’s academic tradition, and allow this conference to take place with no restrictions placed on it on behest of outside pressure groups.

Academics for Palestine

Dr Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin (retired) – chair
Dr David Landy, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Iain Atack, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Yaser Alashqar, Trinity College Dublin
Elaine Bradley, Trinity College Dublin
Ciaran O’Rourke, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Conor McCarthy, Maynooth University
Dr Sinead Kennedy, Maynooth University
Dr Paola Rivetti, Dublin City University
Dr Peter Collins, St Mary’s University, Belfast
Harry Browne, Dublin Institute of Technology
Jim Roche, Dublin Institute of Technology
Zoe Lawlor, University of Limerick