This statement has been overtaken by events

We, the undersigned academics, express principled and full support
for the University of Southampton’s commitment to freedom
of speech and scholarly debate.

We commend the University of Southampton administration, including
Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam, for its resolute defence of academic
freedom.

It is standing principle and recognised practice that academic
conference organisers have the right to choose those speakers
and topics they feel would best address the purposes of the conference,
without these being dictated to them by outside parties. To the
best of our knowledge, the conference invitations in this case
are based on qualification to speak on the topic rather than on
political positions held.

We affirm, as academics from various disciplines and institutions
of higher education, that the themes of the conference, such as
the relationship of international law to the historic and ongoing
political violence in Palestine/Israel, and critical reflections
on nationality and self-determination, are entirely legitimate
subjects for debate and inquiry.

We are very concerned that partisan attempts are being made to
silence dissenting analyses of the topic in question. For external
pressure and interference, especially from political lobby groups
and a government minister, to censor lawful academic discussion
would set a worrying precedent.

We trust that the programme of ‘International Law and the
State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’
will go ahead as planned, to the credit of the University of Southampton
and all those involved.

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