Predictably, Palestinian students in Israeli universities are being regularly censured and punished for expressing their views on social media. Equally predictably, Jewish students in Israeli universities are not. It has often been claimed that the universities in Israel are islands of liberalism in a sea of increasing illiberalism. This is further evidence that such a claim has always been a myth. The original report in can be found here.

Israeli University Suspends Eight Students Claiming They Supported Hamas on Social Media Posts – Israel News –

The disciplinary committee of the University of Haifa has suspended for the duration of the proceedings eight Arab students who are facing disciplinary action over social media posts the panel claims expressed support for Hamas in connection to the October 7 attack.

The decision came a few days before the belated start Sunday of the academic year. The committee was acting on a request submitted earlier last week by the rector of the university, Prof. Gur Alroey.

In his request, Alroey argued that the presence of the eight students at the university could cause “extreme situations” that “demand appropriate actions to prevent disastrous results.”

The students, most of whom are represented by Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, argued in response that the university failed to specify the damage their presence might cause. They added that the decision to suspend them while their case was still being adjudicated impairs their ability to continue their studies.

Six of the eight students were suspended October 8, when Alroey sent them a letter citing what he said was their support for the Hamas attack on communities near the Gaza Strip border. The rector told Haaretz that the support was expressed in the sharing on social media of “nauseating” images from the massacre, with captions such as “great morning” and “they deserve it.”

In his letter to the students, Alroey wrote that he believes the institution has a duty “to protect the entire University of Haifa community” and that “Students who have been affected by the war need our protection and support now, more than anyone else.”

The disciplinary proceedings began about three weeks later. People who attended the committee session reported that it began with Alroey showing a short video with difficult images from the massacre, as if in an attempt to justify the swift suspension.

The committee initially canceled the suspension, but restored it late last week on the grounds that this constituted “taking broad responsibility for the university community.”

In a statement, the university said the students’ alleged offenses were egregious. “The decision of the disciplinary committee, which is an independent committee, speaks for itself, and we honor it.”

In a response, Adalah accused the university of selective enforcement against Arab students, adding that the decision violates the affected students’ presumption of innocence “and conveys the threatening message that the university seeks to convey, which is meant to chill all critical discourse regarding the war.”

Since October 7 there have been over 100 disciplinary proceedings against students, the vast majority of them Arab, at Israeli institutions of higher education, for allegedly expressing support for the terrorist acts of Hamas or for incitement against Israeli soldiers.

The pretexts for the actions include posts expressing sympathy with the residents of Gaza to remarks entirely unrelated to the war, or posts including a verse from the Quran that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Some disciplinary actions were indeed initiated over outrageous and jarring statements.

Last week Seminar HaKibbutzim, The Kibbutz Teachers College, expelled a Jewish student who claimed that the college permits students who support terrorism and spread misinformation claiming that Arab students at the college expressed support for the October 7 massacre on social media.

As of the end of last week, decisions had been made in 65 of the disciplinary procedures that had been opened since the outbreak of the war. According to data collected by Adalah, which represented the vast majority of the students facing disciplinary action, about half of them ended in complete acquittal. Six students received an “educational punishment,” such as community service or writing a letter of apology; 14 were given a temporary suspension and 12 students were expelled.