Citing freedom of information, Brazil professor seeks list of Israelis on campus
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Citing freedom of information, Brazil professor seeks list of Israelis on campus

(JTA) — Acting at the request of pro-Palestinian groups, the deputy dean of a Brazilian university urged faculty to list Israelis working or studying on campus.

Jose Fernando Schlosser, deputy dean of the Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil’s south made the appeal in a flyer he sent out on May 15, the online edition of the O Globo daily reported Wednesday.

The flyer requests “urgent dispatch of information on the possible presence of Israeli students or teachers” in post-graduate programs. The text explains the request came from several groups, including the Santa Maria Committee of Solidarity with Palestinian People. According to the university, the request is based on Brazil’s 2012 law on freedom of information, which orders public institutions to provide information to interested citizens.

Reproduction of the flyer that surfaced on social media and carried the text “Freedom for Palestine, Boycott Israel” were forgeries of the original, which did not contain that text, the university said in a statement to local media. The university said it would file its own complaint for forgery.

Parties offended by the flyer filed a criminal complaint against Schlosser for allegedly inciting discrimination on race, color, ethnicity, religion or national affiliation, O Globo reported. But in a statement to media, the university’s dean, Paulo Afonso Burmann, insisted that the flyer, which he said was issued at the request last year of five groups, was “in compliance with the law on freedom of information.”

CONIB, the umbrella group of Brazil’s Jewish communities, rejected the university’s explanations and said in a statement that it “received the university’s actions with repudiation.”

Schlosser’s flyer “was a clearly discriminatory measure, done by a high-ranking official in the federal education system, and it should be dealt with the severity it merits,” CONIB President Fernando Lottenberg wrote in a statement posted Thursday on CONIB’s website.