Monday, March 20, 2017

Belgium: Four universities invite Palestinian terrorist to speak as part of BDS week

Salah Hamouri, a frequent guest at Israel-bashing events in Belgium.
i24NEWS reports:
The University of Antwerp in Belgium will host on Wednesday Palestinian terrorist Salah Hamouri, who will be speaking about "the issue of torture and human rights violations in Israeli Prisons."
It is important to give the whole picture.  In total four (and not only one) Belgian universities hosted the Palestinian terrorist.  The Free University of Brussels and the University of Antwerp went one step further.  They invited Charlotte Kates of Samidoun.  In December 2016, Samidoun organised in Brussels an event to pay homage to Sami Kuntar, the Hezbollah child killer 

It seems that only the students at the University of Antwerp protested.  

University of Antwerp

Salah Hamouri and Charlotte Kates of Samidoun.

The Free University of Brussels (ULB)
Salah Hamouri and Charlotte Kates of Samidoun.  

The Catholic University of Louvain (UCL, francophone)

Salah Hamouri and Alexis Deswaef, Belgian Human Rights League.

The Catholic University of Leuven (KUL, Flemish):
Salah Hamouri, hosted by Pr. Lieven De Cauter and Selwa Othman.

(...) Hamouri was arrested by Israeli authorities in March 2005. After pleading guilty, he was finally sentenced in April 2008 to half the sentence he was incurring. He was released in December 2011 under a deal with Hamas to release captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for nearly 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. 
Hamouri's speech at the University of Antwerp for "Israel apartheid week" was organized by the extreme left-wing group COMAC, the youth movement of the Labor Party of Belgium, and was approved by the school's director, Herman Van Goethem.
The decision to host Hamouri has caused a stir in the Belgian Jewish community, especially for the Jewish students attending the university. 
"I am very disappointed with the event, as the guest is a terrorist convicted of an assassination attempt, released before the end of his sentence,' Jessica Rosenblum, a student at the University of Antwerp, told i24NEWS. "An individual like Hamouri and the hate speech from organizations advocating the BDS movement have no place in Antwerp," she added, denouncing the use of freedom of expression in order to "delegitimize Israel."
The Association of Jewish Students at the University wrote a letter to the University director, detailing their outrage over the event, a copy of which was obtained by i24NEWS
In his reply Van Goethem defended "freedom of expression", and said that the university he runs has the right to organize evenings with a "political" theme, especially to allow those who want to express their opinion on the concept of "Apartheid linked to the concept of the Jewish state" to be heard. 
For him, Salah Hamouri's conviction for terrorism "cannot justify a refusal" to allow him to appear at the event. 
Additionally, Hamouri "served his sentence of seven years and pleaded guilty as part of an agreement to reduce his sentence," Van Goethem said. 
"Preventive censorship in the context of freedom of expression is fundamentally unacceptable," he added. "It will be an opportunity to ask critical questions and debate. I see no reason not to organize this evening."
"I sincerely hope that this debate, which I am sure will be a robust one, will facilitate a meeting of minds on a topic where, in my opinion, a far too great polarization prevails," concluded Van Goethem. (...)
"He was released as part of an exchange," André Gantman, a member of the Antwerp Municipal Council and former president of the Jewish association B'nai B'rith in Antwerp, told i24NEWS, referring to the Shalit deal. 
"The problem is not a legal but a moral one," he said, adding that "Hamouri has never expressed any regrets." 
For Gantman, the director Herman Van Goethem bears responsibility for this "inadmissible" event, effectively "allowing his university be violated a killer." 
Echoing this sentiment, student Israel supporter Jenny Aharon told i24NEWS the “dialogue” argument is misleading. For her, the problem is not confronting opposing views, but “debating with a killer.”
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