Haifa University has announced its decision to call off a conference marking the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead,
which was planned by the Hadash
faction for Wednesday.
Organizers wrote in the invitation to the event that Israel
had committed a massacre as part of a "fascist operation".
Several hours after Ynet reported of the controversy around the conference on Tuesday evening, the university explained that the decision to cancel the event was made after an essential discrepancy was found between the original request and the content of the conference, as expressed in a leaflet handed out on campus on Tuesday.
The invitation for the controversial event claimed that Israel had committed a massacre in Gaza and that "hundreds of Palestinians were killed indiscriminately." Organizers noted that the event was being held in solidarity with the Palestinians, who "have been living under the inhumane siege in the Strip for years."
The invitation mistakenly noted that two years, rather than three, had passed since Operation Cast Lead.
Uri Waltman, a member of the university's Hadash faction, said in response that "canceling the event is giving in to the aggression of right-wing activists and the Student Union, which created a tempest in a teapot because of their objection to our stance.
"The opinions presented at the conference are legitimate. In Israel it is legitimate to oppose an operation launched by the government and speak out against it harshly. Anyone denying our right to do so does not understand the meaning of freedom of expression or the meaning of democracy."
Yossi Shalom, chairman of Haifa University's Student Union, said he was "glad to see that the university management showed some sensitivity and understanding and banned the event.
"I truly believe that the thin line between the freedom of expression and incitement was crossed today, and when such a thing happens it's good that one knows how to stop, reexamine the situation and take back one's decision.
"The unrest which could have been created had the event not been canceled would have violated the sensitive routine of studies at Haifa University, and I welcome the decision to call it off."