Swiss University Students Protest, Demand Israeli Academic Boycott

Student protests calling for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions have spread to universities in Switzerland, including Fribourg and Basel. Protesters occupied university buildings, demanding the suspension of cooperation with Israeli academic institutions and a ceasefire in Palestinian territories.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Swiss University Students Protest, Demand Israeli Academic Boycott

Swiss University Students Protest, Demand Israeli Academic Boycott

Student protests calling for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions have spread to universities across Switzerland. On Monday, around 100 protesters occupied premises at the University of Fribourg, while approximately 80 protesters gathered at the University of Basel, with some occupying a historic university building.

Why this matters: The protests reflect the growing international debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role ofacademic institutions in promoting peace and human rights. As the boycott movement gains momentum, it could have significant implications for international academic collaborations and the global response to the conflict.

The protesters in Fribourg demanded the removal of a plaque commemorating Chaim Weizmann, the first Israeli president, from the Aula Magna auditorium. They also called for the renaming of the Chaim Weizmann Conference, an event held annually at the university since 2009.

In Basel, around 50 protesters gathered outside the Bernouillanum, a historic university building, while approximately 30 others occupied the building itself. The protesters urged the University to "fulfil its responsibility" and suspend cooperation with Israeli academic institutions.

The recent wave of student protests began last week at universities in Geneva, Lausanne, and Zurich. On Sunday evening, protesters also occupied rooms at the University of Bern. Across all the demonstrations, the protesters have consistently demanded an academic boycott of Israel and a ceasefire in the Palestinian territories.

The University of Basel's Rectorate stated that it would decide on further action regarding the protests on Monday afternoon. As the demonstrations continue to spread, the calls for Swiss universities to cut ties with Israeli institutions grow louder, reflecting the ongoing tensions and complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Key Takeaways

  • Student protests calling for an academic boycott of Israel spread to Swiss universities.
  • Protesters occupied premises at University of Fribourg and University of Basel.
  • Demands include removal of Chaim Weizmann plaque and suspension of cooperation with Israeli institutions.
  • Protests began in Geneva, Lausanne, and Zurich, and have spread to multiple universities.
  • Protesters demand academic boycott of Israel and ceasefire in Palestinian territories.