French University That Banished Israelis From Campus Issues Formal Apology
The University of Paris 8 issued an apology to visiting representatives of an Israeli organization who were forced to flee the campus after being harassed by anti-Israeli members of the student body, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
The incident occurred last week when delegates from What Israel, a group that promotes dialogue and a more balanced approach towards Israel, were touring the university. A planned conference hosted by the organization was canceled and the delegation was forced to return to Israel, Channel 2 said.
In the statement the University of Paris 8 said that it, “…condemns and expresses regret over the incident in which students overshadowed the visit of a delegation of Israeli students on Friday March 14…”
The university’s response came only after a letter that was posted on Facebook by one of the members of What Israel, Nicole Pearl, went viral, reaching tens of thousands of people across France, Channel 2 said. According to Pearl’s Facebook entry, “While they were yelling ‘fascist’ at us, they were using fascistic methods by preventing students from hearing moderate Israeli voices that are open for dialogue.”
What Israel was evidently satisfied with the University of Paris 8’s apology. Maya Sharon, one of the organization’s founders, said that, “We are pleased that the university has expressed its support for our activities. We won’t give in to the hooliganism of anti-Israel elements. By issuing an apology, the university has ensured that as an exercise in academic freedom What Israel will have a platform on campus in the future.”