Paris, 21 February 2018
In a letter to the French Minister of Higher Education, Frederique Vidal, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage at the “Disruption and forced closure of the ‘Stopover in Israel’ exhibition and a Hebrew language course at Lille University, following a demonstration by, so called, pro-Palestinian students and professors.”
The letter noted, “This four-day cultural festival of workshops, including music and cuisine, is an exercise in ‘BDS’ (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel, a hatemongering campaign characterized as illegal under French law, and also in this case, a threat to freedom of expression.”
Samuels stressed, “Succumbing to such threats only encourages demonstrations, often leading to violence and fomenting antisemitism.”
The Centre urged the Minister to “Condemn the Lille decision and to ensure that any further gagging of Jewish/Israeli campus programmes be forestalled through the authority of your Ministry.”
“The behavior at Lille University must not be a precedent,” concluded Samuels.