Dozens of world-renowned academics at the University of Cambridge have issued an open letter calling for an end to the Gaza blockade, saying they have a responsibility to speak out against the “actions and posture” of Israel.
The letter which was signed by 55 leading thinkers from a range of political, religious and cultural backgrounds, blasts the “bombardment” of the Strip and the death of over 2,000 Palestinian, most of whom were civilians.
Signatories, including noted mathematician and physician Prof. Raymond E. Goldstein, say they “wish to add our voices to those of the Palestinian resistance”. It was not immediately clear whether this referred to Hamas.
Those signing the letter did however state their support for 300 Holocaust survivors who lodged an open grievance against Israel’s actions this summer.
The Cambridge group also used the opportunity to say that the Gaza Strip was “occupied territory” due to Israel’s control of the borders and surrounding land, sea and air space, adding that “there is no legal right of self-defence by an occupying power against the people under its occupation”.
The group concluded by voicing concern about the “victimisation of students and lecturers, inside and outside of Israel, for speaking out on this issue,” adding: “We demand an end to the persecution of critics of Israel within academia.”
It comes just days after Cambridge bioengineering student Leo Impett launched a Kickstarter (crowd-funding) scheme for a “digital terracotta army,” whereby those funding the idea have their faces added to 3D printed figures symbolising the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Each toy-soldier represents ten deaths,” said Impett, adding that soldiers in black would symbolise military deaths, soldiers in red would representing civilians and soldiers in white would represent children.