Tel Aviv University has cancelled the appearance at a campus event of a former Arab prisoner jailed by Israel for his activities on behalf of the terrorist Hezbollah organization.
Mohammed Kana’ane, an Arab-Israeli who spent four-and-a-half years in prison, was invited to speak Monday by the left-wing Hadash and Balad student groups at a conference for Land Day, which marks the deaths of six Galilee Arabs in 1976 during riots over a government decision to expropriate land for what it called security purposes.
Land Day took place on March 30.
“In light of concern for public order in the Land Day events scheduled to be held tomorrow, and since the request to approve Kana’neh’s participation was only received recently, leaving no time for preparations, the University does not approve his participation in the event,” the university said in a statement released late Sunday. The statement said that other Land Day events would go forward as planned.
A Sunday protest on campus by Jewish student groups called for the speech to be canceled.
The university last week had issued a statement saying it would allow the event to go forward in an effort to respect students’ right to freedom of speech, which it apparently thought includes screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
JTA contributed most of the material for this report.