SEO Headline (Max 60 characters)

Is a British University Calling Off Conference on Israel?

April 1, 2015

Conflicting reports circulated Tuesday about the status of a conference, International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism, scheduled for next month at the University of Southampton, in Britain. The conference has been the subject of intense debate over the last month. Some defenders of Israel and others have charged that the conference is one-sided and designed to question the right of Israel to exist. Some of those critics have called on the university to cancel the conference, which -- to date -- it has not done. Many scholars have defended the conference, some because they back its substance and others on the principle that academics should be able to organize conferences as they see fit.

On Monday, organizers of the conference wrote online that the university informed them it intends to withdraw permission for the event to take place. The organizers wrote that while university officials cited safety concerns, the professors who put together the meeting believe that political considerations and not safety explain the move.

A spokesman for the university sent an email to Inside Higher Ed strongly denying that the conference has been called off. The spokesman acknowledged that the university has raised security issues, but said that was the only reason for the discussions, and that the faculty organizers would have the final say. "Any decision by the university regarding the withdrawal of permission will be judged purely on considerations around the health and safety of our staff, students and for the general public. Any decisions about a potential cancellation of the conference will be left to the organizers," the statement said.

Share Article

Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

Back to Top