Krisis statement of solidarity with the student protests in the Netherlands and elsewhere

As scholars committed to the emancipatory project of critique, the editorial board of Krisis must call out the police brutality and repression of legitimate protests at the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University and in other places around the world. We assert the moral and political right of students and university staff to speak out against Israel’s destruction of Gaza and oppression of Palestinians. Although Krisis is an independent journal, the editorial board includes academics affiliated with a number of Dutch universities. Since Krisis is published and partially funded by Dutch academic institutions, we have been rendered complicit in this political conflict. Hence, Krisis feels obliged to respond to the demands expressed by students and others in the academic community to break the institutional silence around Israeli state violence. The need to speak out is all the more urgent as the coalition agreement for a far-right government in the Netherlands offers no hope of improvement, and proposes changes (such as moving the Dutch embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem) that will only exacerbate the situation. We are committed to protesting the complicity of Dutch academic institutions with the Israeli regime as long as collaborations with Israeli institutions still stand. 

To the protests and encampments: We stand with you.

Krisis agrees with previous statements issued by Dutch Scholars for Palestine and supports the right to protest and assemble. We stand in solidarity with the students, staff, and others who have had the courage to speak out against Israel’s ongoing atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank and against the silence and complicity of Western institutions, including universities. The University of Amsterdam’s response to the protests has been appalling and counterproductive. We hope and see that the response to encampments set up elsewhere can be different, and we are committed to the demand for real positive change in the form of divestment and explicit condemnation of Israel's genocidal war. Krisis supports demands put forward by the students and staff of universities in the Netherlands, Belgium, and elsewhere criticizing collaborations with Israeli universities. We acknowledge that divestment can take multiple forms, including evaluating these collaborations in light of human rights violations according to internationally recognized standards and rejecting partnerships whose results might be directly used in the perpetration of state violence against the Palestinian population, or suspending all collaborations with Israeli institutions. Such forms of divestment are a crucial part of nonviolent protest targeting institutions rather than people, and speak to our deep concern regarding the ongoing scholasticide in Palestine. We agree that any future partnerships with these institutions should be conditioned on the Israeli regime stopping its atrocities in Gaza and against the Palestinian population. This also entails ending the illegal occupation of land in the West Bank, as well as ending practices of policing, arrests, ethnic cleansing and genocidal violence. Such demands for a ceasefire have been voiced by many, including  those within Israeli society who are standing up to the right-wing government, and human rights groups that have documented human rights violations (see here and here), with the ICJ  imposing preventive measures on Israel to prevent genocide (see here).

We also take issue with the wilful conflation of critique of Zionism (or of Israel) with antisemitism, which in the Netherlands and elsewhere is a rhetorical strategy being pursued by right-wing parties to delegitimize the student protests, project antisemitism on racialized groups, and deflect from antisemitism on the right. It also actively endangers Jewish staff and students, especially those critical of Israel or who identify as anti-Zionist Jews, and denies shared histories of struggles against racism and capitalism. We stand against all forms of racism, including antisemitism as defined in the Jerusalem Declaration, and oppose the instrumentalization of charges of antisemitism for increased police surveillance of racialized groups in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Krisis has always been strongly committed to providing a platform for students and early-career scholars to publish critical research, and we invite contributions on the current protest and its broader historical and political context, both with regard to other student protests, and to center voices and stories from Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora. Through such contributions, we hope to educate and share knowledge about the situation in Palestine/Israel with our readers.