News Bulletin
Daily News Portal

German scholars demand minister resign over pro-Palestine crackdown

The scholars warn that “academics in Germany are experiencing an unprecedented attack on their fundamental rights.”

  • Germany
    A woman is carried away by police officers during a pro-Palestine demonstration in the theater courtyard of the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. (AP)

Over 2,000 German academics signed on Friday a letter calling for the resignation of the country’s Education Minister, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, criticizing her efforts to penalize scholars supporting pro-Palestinian students.

The scholars emphasized in a statement that “academics in Germany are experiencing an unprecedented attack on their fundamental rights, on the 75th anniversary of the Basic Law.”

They emphasized that Stark-Watzinger’s recent actions have made her position “untenable”.

“The withdrawal of funding ad personam on the basis of political statements made by researchers is contrary to the Basic Law: teaching and research are free. The internal order to examine such political sanctions is a sign of constitutional ignorance and political abuse of power,” the statement pointed out.

The scholars argued that this represents a growing divide between decision-makers in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the academic community.

“Through its intimidating effect alone, the Minister’s actions risk permanently damaging the hard-won right of academic freedom against political and state interference,” they warned.

Stark-Watzinger has faced mounting criticism following media reports about her ministry’s decision to conduct a legal review aimed at assessing the potential withdrawal of funding for studies by academics who signed last month an open letter, in which they expressed solidarity with pro-Palestinian encampments at the Free University of Berlin.

“Regardless of whether we agree with the specific demands of the protest camp, we stand up for our students, and defend their right to peaceful protest, which also includes the occupation of university grounds,” the scholars stressed in Friday’s statement.

The academics also criticized the university’s management for subjecting demonstrators to “police violence“.

Read more: Scholz ignores Nuseirat massacre, says operation ‘sign of hope’

Read More:German scholars demand minister resign over pro-Palestine crackdown