Hundreds of Dutch academics sign call to cut ties with Israel over Gaza fighting

564 people put their names to letter urging their government to boycott Israeli academic institutions; one signatory works at state Holocaust research institute

An Israeli airstrike on a terror target in the Gaza STrip, May 16, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90 via JTA)
An Israeli airstrike on a terror target in the Gaza STrip, May 16, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90 via JTA)

Hundreds of academics have signed a petition calling on the Dutch government to sever relations with Israel over what they perceive as Israeli violations of international law in responding to Hamas terror group rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Among the 564 signers is a researcher at a state Holocaust research institute.

“We declare we join the calls of our Palestinian colleagues to boycott Israeli academic institutions,” reads the petition, which is titled “Netherlands higher education stands in solidarity with Palestinians.” The document also calls on the Dutch government to “sever all economic, political and military ties with Israel.”

The document says Israel violated international law in its response to the thousands of rockets launched into its cities this month by Hamas. Israel struck back at Hamas in Gaza with intensive airstrikes.

Kylie Thomas, a South Africa native, was the only one from the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, or NIOD, who signed the petition.

Its director, Frank van Vree, said Thomas’s views do not represent the institution, “which as a research institute does not take a position on this action,” he wrote to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. NIOD has no intention of limiting its cooperation with any of its current partners, he added.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 243 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children and teens, with 1,910 people wounded. It does not differentiate between terror group members and civilians. The Israeli military maintained that it killed some 225 terrorist operatives and that the Palestinian death toll was in fact considerably higher than was reported. It said some of the civilian fatalities were caused by Hamas rockets falling short and landing in the Strip.

Thirteen people were killed in Israel, all but one of them civilians, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl.

A ceasefire was reached early Friday following 11 days of fighting.

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