Glasgow University academics are among a growing number of university groups in the UK and abroad who have decided they must speak up against the Israeli destruction of Gaza and its people. The original of the following report in The Ferret, Scotland’s cooperative newspaper, can be found here.

More than 200 Glasgow University academics call for a ceasefire in Gaza

More than 200 academics at Glasgow University have signed an open letter calling for an immediate ceasefire to the “relentless bombardment” of Gaza that has killed 6,000 children.

The signatories say they are “deeply concerned” over the “abysmal atrocities in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel” and argue it is their “intellectual, humane and ethical duty” to speak out publicly.

The letter  — which calls for the immediate release of all hostages by Hamas — says “the scale and brutality of the Israeli government’s attacks on Gaza’s universities is of extraordinary severity”, and undermines the possibility of peace for future generations.

The academics also express concern over statements by “leading Israeli politicians and government ministers” which, they argue, point to the “grave risk of a genocide”.

The letter says: “We express our deep solidarity with and closeness to the families of the Palestinian university staff and students who were killed or injured by the Israeli government’s bombardment and ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. We also express our deep solidarity with the academics and intellectuals in the Occupied Territories and in Israel who have been disappeared, imprisoned, persecuted and/or threatened.”

At time of writing, 206 academics had signed the letter.

They include Dr Ophira Gamliel, a lecturer in South Asian religions, who helped write the letter, and Dr Giovanni Picker, a lecturer in sociology. They told The Ferret: “It is our responsibility to stand firmly against dehumanisation, atrocity and the destruction of the lives and livelihoods of civilians, especially when this occurs at such an enormous scale of devastation.

It is our responsibility to stand firmly against dehumanisation, atrocity and the destruction of the lives and livelihoods of civilians.

Dr Giovanni Picker

“We work to actively challenge inequality, and promote social justice through our commitment to anti-racism, anti-violence, human rights, gender equality, disability rights, and equal access to health and to justice. Therefore, remaining silent was, and is, not an option for us.”

Dr Philippa Wiseman, who also teaches sociology at the university, said the letter hopes to play a part in helping to bring about “diplomatic, legal, and non-violent pathways towards ending violence”. She added: “We hope to encourage solidarity between people across religious, national, and ethnic divides. As we write in the closing of the letter, we ultimately hope that many higher education institutions around the world will raise their voices unequivocally against these atrocities.”

The open letter comes as the Israeli military said it is expanding its ground operation into “all areas” of the Gaza Strip, following the resumption of fighting last Friday.

It follows calls for a ceasefire by more than 250 British lawyers, including eminent KCs and professors of law, who said serious breaches of international law are being committed.

The Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October killed 1,200 people, with around 240 others taken hostage.

Since then, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 15,500 people have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory campaign, including about 6,000 children.

Main image: Matthew Skubis/iStock