Rectors do not want to cut ties with Israeli universities

08 Jun 2024

Dutch universities do not want to cut ties with Israeli universities: that is what the rectors from fifteen universities, including Radboud University’s José Sanders, have written in an opinion piece published in newspaper Trouw today.

“We do not want to isolate Israeli scientists.” Thus states the headline from an opinion piece in newspaper Trouw, where rectors from fifteen Dutch universities announce that they do not want to break ties with Israeli universities. Radboud University’s Rector Magnificus José Sanders also signed the letter.

Open and critical conversation

The most important reason not to break ties with Israel is academic freedom, according to the rectors. What makes the university such a unique institute to them is “the freedom to research, to think and to debate, even if that clashes with our own or others’ deepest beliefs”. Engaging in open academic conversations and debates, especially in these difficult, polarising times, carries a lot of weight for the rectors.

‘We expect that collaborations will allow for open and critical conversations with each other’

The rectors indicate that they never want to break ties with a country as a whole unless the Dutch government demands it; like in the case of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “But what we do expect,” reads the letter, “is that collaborations will allow for open and critical conversations with each other.”


The open letter means that the biggest demand of the protesting students and employees of Radboud University, namely breaking off ties with Israeli institutes, will not be conceded.

The encampment on the campus in Nijmegen was cleared out by the riot police last Wednesday night, after protesters occupied and defaced TvA 1. It is currently unclear whether new actions will follow after the rectors’ open letter.

Translated by Milou Aluy-van der Meij

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1 Comment

  1. Bibi wrote on 8 juni 2024 at 21:05

    Great to read about the support for the ICC.

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