November 17, 2015 - Palestine Legal issued the following statement today:
Palestine Legal supports students’ demands that the University of Texas investigate UT Professor Ami Pedahzur's attacks on members of Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) at UT-Austin.
Using a UT-affiliated website, Prof. Pedahzur linked a peaceful student protest of an event about the origins of the Israel Defense Forces to the recent ISIS attacks in Paris; exposed a Palestinian-American student’s private Facebook page; and dangerously wrote that peaceful protests in support of Palestinian human rights "raise many red flags" about "how people turn to terrorism."
At a time when Muslim youth in the U.S. are arrested for building clocks, Prof. Pedahzur's false accusations of terrorism against UT students are reckless and dangerous.
In addition to Prof. Pedazhur's physical confrontation of PSC members, James Hasik, a weapons industry contractor and UT graduate student, also tore a Palestinian flag from PSC members' hands and attempted to grab their phones.
Dissent on important political issues is a cornerstone of robust, unfettered academic debate. Professors and other members of the UT community may not assault, intimidate, or harass students because they disagree with speech supporting Palestinian rights.
Palestine Legal calls on the UT Administration to investigate this incident and take appropriate steps to ensure that Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students' voices are welcome and protected without fear to their physical well-being. We also call on the University to issue a public statement affirming their rights, as demanded by PSC.
This incident is part of a well-documented pattern of suppression of Palestinian human rights advocacy across the country. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights documented hundreds of such incidents in a report released in September, "The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S."