Local Jewish group: 'The vitriol was revolting'

Protesters force cancelation of Brazil university event promoting Israeli academia

Amid demonstration by pro-Palestinian activists, security at State University of Campinas escort out representatives from four of Israel’s top institutions of higher learning

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

FILE: A student reads on campus at the State University of Campinas, Brazil on September 1, 2014. (Ricardo Sdag, Wikimedia Commons)
FILE: A student reads on campus at the State University of Campinas, Brazil on September 1, 2014. (Ricardo Sdag, Wikimedia Commons)

One of Brazil’s most prestigious universities shut down a promotional event on its campus organized by several Israeli institutions of higher learning, following protests by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

The State University of Campinas, situated near Sao Paulo and know as Unicamp, on Monday unexpectedly cancelled the “Israeli University Fair,” an annual promotional event scheduled that day. It was organized by the University of Haifa, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar Ilan University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology to attract students and academics.

Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside the building until campus security intervened and extracted the promoters of the Israeli universities, leading to the event’s cancellation, the R7 television channel reported. Unicamp’s rector, Tom Zé, had declined pro-Palestinian activists’ demand that the university scrap the event but said he supported the right of students to demonstrate against it.

The decision to cancel the event was taken because of security concerns, his office told R7.

The protesters camped outside the building and said they would not leave as long as Israelis were inside. They scrawled Palestinian flags on the walls and carried Palestinian flags as they chanted anti-Israel slogans.

The Israelite Federation of Sao Paulo, or FISEPS, condemned the protesters.

“The images of protesters fomenting hostility to Israeli university representatives are revolting and need to be investigated and firmly condemned by authorities and society,” FISEPS said.

Samidoun, an international pro-Palestinian group whose Brazil chapter was involved in the protests at Unicamp, celebrated the cancellation as a “victory.” Masar Badil, another local pro-Palestinian group, wrote in a statement that just as the event was canceled at Unicamp, “the Zionist entity and its colonial project in Palestine, will inevitably fall.”

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