Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

American university protests spreading to Sweden

The situation in Gaza

Published 17 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff
So far, the protests appear to be of limited scope.

The US student protests are spreading to Sweden – albeit on a limited scale. Tent camps have been set up at at least a handful of Swedish universities, with students demanding that university leaders condemn Israel’s invasion and war crimes – and that all cooperation with Israel be suspended.

Over the past month, a large number of pro-Palestinian protests have taken place at US universities, with students and activists occupying buildings, blocking entrances, protesting against what they say is Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, and demanding that universities cut off all ties with Israeli companies and institutions.

Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that violent “anti-Semitic gangs” have taken over US universities and demanded that the Biden administration stop the protests – thousands have also been arrested.

Meanwhile, protests have spread to European and Swedish universities. This week, students in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Lund, Uppsala and Örebro were inspired by the Americans and set up tent camps to get university officials to condemn Israel’s invasion and boycott the country.

– We want to emphasize that this is a peaceful demonstration that is part of a global solidarity movement, we take what has happened at universities around the world to Uppsala, a spokesperson told news agency TT.

– We want to force reactions from Uppsala University’s management, says an anonymous activist, according to the state broadcaster SVT.

A small crowd of protesters at Örebro University. Photo: facsimile/SVT

Will not take a stand

At present, the protests appear to be relatively small-scale – there are reports of around 50 tent protesters in Lund and around 60 in Stockholm. However, the hope is to attract more students to join the resistance to Israel.

Anders Hagfeldt, Vice-Chancellor of Uppsala University, writes that the university “obviously supports the rights adopted by the international community in the UN conventions” – but says it is not the university’s role to take a stand in the conflict.

If the organization – Uppsala University – takes a stand on individual issues, there is a risk that employees perceive the opinion and position as an opinion that everyone at the university is expected to share”.

Peaceful demonstrations are the right of every citizen and the university always defends this right, but one cannot demand that the university should manifest political views or expect the university to take a stand on political issues”, writes Lund University’s Vice-Chancellor Erik Renström

It is worth noting that formerly much-loved climate activist Greta Thunberg is taking part in the Stockholm protests – Thunberg, who used to be frequently invited to various power conferences and events for the political elite, has become a much more controversial and unpopular figure after taking a clear stand against Israel.

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