Arab academic quits after Auschwitz visit

By Nathan Jeffay, June 12, 2014
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A Palestinian professor has quit his job after being criticised for taking a group of students to visit Auschwitz.

Mohammed Dajani's colleagues at Al Quds University in the West Bank reacted so negatively to his act of Holocaust commemoration that he tendered his resignation.

He subsequently criticised Palestinian resistance to Holocaust education as "a crime against humanity".

In a Facebook post, Dr Dajani said he had hoped the university would reject his resignation letter, which would "send a clear and emphatic message to the university community that it supports academic freedom".

Instead, he received a brief letter saying that his resignation had been accepted.

Dr Dajani insisted: "I am not running away from battle - on the contrary, I put my job on the line for the sake of my cause."

The visit took place in April as part of the Hearts of Flesh - Not Stone programme for Israeli, Palestinian and German youngsters organised by Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany.

As part of the course, Israelis studying Palestinian history pay a visit to a refugee camp.

Ben Gurion University academic Shifra Sagy, one of the Israel-based co-ordinators of the programme, said that she felt "very sad and disappointed" at the abrupt end to Dr Dajani's academic career.

"I thought that what we did together was a step between the two nations in advancing peace, but we're obviously not getting there," she said.

Last updated: 2:45pm, June 12 2014