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Ashoka University students push to cut ties with Tel Aviv Univ

The students urged the severance of ties until Tel Aviv University takes concrete steps to address ethical concerns….reports Asian Lite News

Students at Ashoka University have added their voices to the growing chorus of protests against the conflict in Gaza, urging the institution’s vice-chancellor to terminate all academic and research collaborations with Tel Aviv University in Israel, media reported.

The student government, representing the student body, penned a letter to the vice chancellor, expressing concern that the university’s affiliations with institutions associated with human rights violations contradict its purported commitment to justice and human rights, news agency PTI reported.

Citing the ongoing crisis in Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have lost their lives and many more have been injured, the students condemned what they termed as Israeli military brutality. They highlighted a trend among students across various universities to call for boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and exchange programs, emphasizing recent protests at Columbia University as a motivating example.

The students pointed out that Ashoka University, located in Haryana’s Sonipat, has established research partnerships, faculty exchanges, research collaborations, and joint programs with Tel Aviv University. They urged the severance of ties until Tel Aviv University takes concrete steps to address ethical concerns.

Allegations against Tel Aviv University include close associations with the Israeli military, support for the occupation of Palestinian territories, and collaboration with Israeli weapons manufacturers such as Elbit Systems. The students accused Tel Aviv University professors of involvement in drafting codes of ethics for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), providing legal defense for IDF members accused of war crimes, and shaping military doctrines.

Additionally, the students cited the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates for the boycott of entities implicated in the Gaza conflict. They highlighted the destruction of Palestinian universities by Israeli forces and criticized Tel Aviv University’s alleged suppression of Palestinian voices.

The petition stressed Tel Aviv University’s obligation to uphold academic freedom, social justice, and human rights principles. It argued that maintaining ties with an institution linked to human rights abuses implicates Ashoka University in these violations. Against the backdrop of international concerns over the conflict, the students urged Ashoka University to demonstrate its commitment to ethical conduct and human rights by severing ties with Tel Aviv University.

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