230 Israeli Lecturers Vow Not to Obey Law Banning Nakba Commemoration

Declaration calls proposals violation of basic rights and freedom of expression.

Two hundred and thirty lecturers from Israeli universities and academic institutions signed a declaration this week to "publicly violate" the proposed Nakba and Citizenship laws, should they pass through the Knesset.

According to the declaration, the proposals are "harshly anti-democratic, and all gravely violate basic rights essential to democracy and to freedom of expression."

The declaration listed three proposed laws that its signatories said they would violate: A proposed law revoking citizenship for those who do not declare loyalty to Israel and a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state; a proposed law making it illegal to commemorate the anniversary of the Palestinian "nakba"; and a proposed law making it illegal to deny the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

The proposals were all put forward by members of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party.

The initiative to circulate the declaration began when Professor Bill Freedman of Haifa University sent an email to his colleagues on the matter.

"I can not sit on the sidelines while Israel descends into anti-democratic fascism," Freedman said.

"I saw the bills proposed to the Knesset. I am American originally, and the subject of freedom of speech is ingrained deep inside of me."