Science Po Paris lecture hall blocked in support of Gaza: what we know

The Paris Institute for Political Studies continues to be talked about after the resignation of the director. President Emmanuel Macron condemned, on Wednesday March 13, 2024, during the Council of Ministers, the “unspeakable and totally intolerable” comments reported during the pro-Palestinian mobilization the day before at Sciences Po Paris. The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) claimed that the young members of that association were “attacked as Jews and Zionists”. We summarize the controversies that shake the prestigious Parisian establishment.

A hundred students block the main lecture hall

On Tuesday morning, around a hundred students occupied the main amphitheater of Sciences Po Paris, a melting pot of the French elite located in the 7th arrondissement, as part of a “European university mobilization day for Palestine”.

The UEJF student was then “prevented from accessing the amphitheater” where the action took place, and “accusations were made (from the stand, op.a.) against” the student of the association, who condemned Sciences Po on the social network X (formerly Twitter). ).

“Don't let her in, she's a Zionist,” were the words uttered by the UEJF.

“I am saddened that unverified facts are reported directly to the President of the Republic”, judges the student who did not want to give his last name. “We do not accept any form of anti-Semitism,” he added.

The witnesses were heard by the minister of higher education

The head of state “clearly and firmly reiterated his position: yes, university institutions are autonomous, but that autonomy in no way justifies even the slightest beginning of separatism,” said government spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot.

This version is strongly disputed by the Palestinian committee of Sciences Po. In a press release in French and English, he condemned “baseless accusations of anti-Semitism by the extreme right.”

According to Prisca Thevenot, “the witnesses were heard” by the Minister of Higher Education, Sylvie Retailleau, who went there on Tuesday, calling on “the young student who was the victim of these comments (…) to appear before the court”.

Sciences Po management wants sanctions

The management of Sciences Po announced that they would contact the “disciplinary department to sanction these intolerable actions”, according to AFP “several red lines were crossed”.

According to a student present in the amphitheater, interviewed by AFP, the young woman member of the UEJF was prevented from entering “for security reasons, because before that she intimidated pro-Palestinian students”. “She is the only one who could not enter. Other members of the UEJF attended the discussions,” she said on condition of anonymity.

Violent reactions on social networks

On

LFI's related deputy, Aymeric Caron, sent “well done to the Sciences Po students mobilizing against the ongoing genocide in Gaza” on Wednesday, as did LFI's candidate for the European elections, Rima Hassan, who on Tuesday offered her “support to all students and all faculty who are mobilizing against the ongoing genocide.”

“What happened has a name: anti-Semitism,” wrote Aurore Bergé, the minister for equality between women and men, also on X.

At least 31,184 dead in the Gaza Strip

At least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, were killed in a Hamas attack in Israel on October 7, according to a figure obtained by AFP from official Israeli sources.

In retaliation, the Israeli army launched a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip that has so far killed 31,184 people, most of them civilians, according to the Islamist movement's Ministry of Health.

Since the beginning of the conflict, prestigious American universities, particularly Harvard, have been the targets of attacks, accused of not doing enough against anti-Semitism on their campuses.

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