It has been reported that Dutch universities have requested more time from a pro-Palestinian group’s request in which they asked universities to reveal any ties they may have with Israeli and Jewish organisations.
Universiteiten van Nederland (UNL), an umbrella group that represents fourteen Dutch universities, said that the request had caused “considerable unrest” but under freedom of information rules, they were obligated to reply.
The request was made by The Rights Forum, an organisation founded in 2009 by former Dutch Prime Minister Andreas van Agt, after alleging that pro-Israel university groups were stifling debates concerning Israel.
The organisation said that it had requested the universities to reveal their ties with Israeli academic institutions and companies, and other groups “known for their active and unconditional support for Israel’s domination of the Palestinians”.
Binyomin Jacobs, the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, remarked that the request “reeks of antisemitism” and that it implied a “shadowy Zionist/Jewish cabal is operating in the Dutch university system”.
Rabbi Jacobs added that he was concerned by “the number of universities that were so compliant with such a transparently antisemitic request. It reminds us that most mayors cooperated during the occupation to pass on the names of their Jewish citizens to the Germans.”
UNL has said that it has asked the Rights Forum for a delay “so that they have time to process it”, and added: “The request is for the disclosure of institutional partnerships between Dutch universities and the organisations specified in the request. It specifically excludes partnerships between individual academics.”