University of Cologne Pulls Professor’s Invite Over Her Support of Palestine – The Daily Beast

Posted By on April 11, 2024

The University of Cologne withdrew renowned philosophy scholars invitation for a visiting professorship over her support of Palestine, citing the schools ties to Israel.

On Monday, the top-ranked German University released a statement saying Professor Nancy Fraser would no longer be invited to the university as part of the 2023 Albertus Magnus Professorship, because she had signed a letter questioning Israels right to exist as an ethno-supremacist state.

In November, Fraser was one of over 400 philosophers and professors who signed a letter titled The Philosophy of Palestine. The purpose of the letter was to publicly and unequivocally express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and to denounce the ongoing and rapidly escalating massacre being committed in Gaza by Israel and with the full financial, material, and ideological support of our own governments.

Fraser was supposed to give a series of public lectures about her current book project on labor in a capitalist society, and had no intention to speak about Israel or Palestine, she said in an interview with Jacobin.

Fraser said that in the days before the announcement, the university had reached out to her about her decision to sign the letter. I thought, what a nerve! I mean, whats it his business what my views are about the Middle East? Im a free agent, Im able to sign whatever I want, she said.

I didnt want to be overly confrontational. So, I wrote back and said, well, of course, there are many different views about Palestine and Israel, and theres a lot of pain on all sides, including pain I experienced myself as a Jew. But theres one thing on which there can be no disagreement, she said. Two days later, she received word that she was no longer invited to speak at the university.

Fraser called the incident a truly outrageous instance of something many people would argue is a much broader trend in Germany today.

They are in clear violation of widely held academicand, frankly, constitutionalnorms about political freedom and freedom of speech, she said. This will do considerable harm to the German academy.

In a follow-up statement, the university attributed its decision to the letters invitation for other academics to join in an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The university claimed it was difficult to reconcile this sentiment with its many ties to partner institutions in Israel. In 2019, the German parliament voted to condemn the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel for using anti-Semitic methods.

In October, the University of Cologne released a statement sending thoughts and prayers to our partners, their family members and friends in Israel, a country towards which we bear a particular historical responsibility and with which we enjoy a unique relationship.

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University of Cologne Pulls Professor's Invite Over Her Support of Palestine - The Daily Beast

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