More than 200 members of staff and researchers at the University of Manchester are calling on the institution to cut its ties with Tel Aviv University following Israel’s recent aggression on the Gaza Strip.
In an open letter addressed to the university’s vice-chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell, the staff said that the Israeli university was “deeply implicated” in Israel’s latest aggression on the Gaza Strip, which killed 248 Palestinians, including 69 children and 40 women and injured over 1,910 others.
Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip started on May 10 and ended with a ceasefire brokered by mediator Egypt on May 21.
19 families in the Gaza Strip have been wiped off the population civil registry during Israel’s 11-day aggression, including 41 children and 25 women.
More than 90,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes, and much of Gaza’s infrastructure and many residential buildings were completely destroyed or levelled.
“We, the undersigned, call on the University of Manchester to end its research partnership with Tel Aviv University, a university deeply implicated in Israel’s premeditated bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza,” said the letter.
The letter, signed by 224 people as of Wednesday, said the University of Manchester’s continued relationship with Tel Aviv University is in violation of its commitment to oppose racist violence and oppression.
“This partnership contravenes the University’s ethical commitment to oppose racist violence and oppression, a commitment we request you uphold,” the letter stated.
“Not only does the University of Manchester fail to speak up for Palestinians and heed their call for material support, but we also forge a strategic partnership with Tel Aviv University, an institution deeply implicated in their violent oppression,” the letter added.
The letter said that Israeli universities have played a key role in planning, implementing, and justifying Israel’s occupation, and “Tel Aviv is no exception.”
“Across a range of disciplines from mechanical engineering to philosophy, Tel Aviv University is heavily and openly involved in research and development in weapons and surveillance technologies, and in military strategy and operational theory,” the letter pointed out.
“It has described itself thus: “In the rough and tumble reality of the Middle East, Tel Aviv University is at the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge,” noting “much of that research remains classified.”
“To give only one example, Tel Aviv University is home to the Institute for National Security Studies which takes credit for developing the “Dahiya Doctrine.””
“This is a military doctrine of disproportionate force, adopted by the Israeli army, which privileges civilians over and above military targets and advocates, as one of its designers at TAU put it, “the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people”.”
The authors of the letter said that all this implicates “Tel Aviv University in the deliberate and premeditated bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza – war crimes, in other words, as the UN has described previous military assaults on the people of Gaza.”
““If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza,” the UN Secretary-General said against the Israeli onslaught. Israel should be held to account “for the atrocities it has committed over the last 12 days,” is the view of the head of Oxfam in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.”
The authors of the letter finally called on the institution to uphold the University’s own anti-racist ethical principles by ending the strategic partnership with Tel Aviv University.