Ban Palestinian speaker with terrorist ties, Brussels university urged


BRUSSELS (JTA) — A Belgian watchdog on anti-Semitism urged a Brussels university to ban students from having a dialogue with a representative of a Palestinian group that the European Union considers a terrorist entity.

The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism made the appeal this week in the media and in direct talks with faculty of the Free University of Brussels, or VUB, over the students’ plan to allow Khalida Jarrar of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to speak via a video uplink at an event devoted to promoting a boycott of Israel. Organizers called Israel an apartheid state in invitations.

“It is unthinkable that a podium will be offered to terrorist groups that specialize in killing Jews at a university of a city where a terrorist killed four people at a Jewish museum just a few months ago,” Joel Rubinfeld, the league’s president, told JTA about the plan to have Jarrar speak on Wednesday.

The event is part of an annual series of events titled Israeli Apartheid Week that are held annually on dozens of Western campuses. At the Free University of Brussels it is being organized by COMAC, a youth organization of the left-wing Workers’ Party of Belgium.

The university demanded that organizers change their event’s program to include speakers who oppose boycotting Israel and its definition as an apartheid state, but have resisted calls to cancel the event, Rubinfeld said. Belgian law does not forbid arranging an audience for members of terrorist organizations, he noted.

His organization’s legal department warned the Free University  that it will be the subject of legal action, along with COMAC, for any incitement during Israeli Apartheid Week events.

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