Amid campus repression, the war in Gaza sparks a crisis of freedom of expression — a global issue

“The Gaza crisis is truly becoming a global crisis of freedom of expression,” said Khan, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. “this is, have a huge impact for a long time to come

Demonstrations are taking place all over the world, strongly demanding an end to the war. The war began in October following a Hamas-led Israeli attack that left 1,200 people dead and 250 hostages, 133 of whom remain prisoners in Gaza.

Since then, Israeli military operations have killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the local health ministry, and the strip is currently facing man-made starvation, while United Nations agencies say Israeli aid supplies This is said to be due to supply restrictions.

she said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. united nations news How academic freedom is limited in the United States violate people’s right to protest About the ongoing war and occupation, including on the campuses of elite Ivy League schools such as Columbia University, Harvard University, and Yale University.

“One after another, the top people at Ivy League universities are being beheaded and decapitated,” she said. “It clearly further polarizes the political climate on this issue between ‘them’ and ‘us.’

Confusion over political views and hate speech

pointing to An alarming rise in hate speech on both sides Regarding protests, she said that at the same time people must be allowed to express their political views.

In many of these protests, she said, there is confusion between what constitutes hate speech and incitement to violence, and what is essentially a different view of the situation in Israel and the occupied territories, namely criticism of Israel’s way of conducting the conflict. Stated.

“Legitimate speech must be protected,” she said. Hysteria is rampant in America

Criticism of Israel is ‘completely justified’

Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia must be prohibited and hate speech violates international law, she said.

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Irene Khan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion;

“But it should not be confused with criticism of Israel as a political entity, as a state,” she said. “It is perfectly legitimate under international law to criticize Israel.”

He said his special rapporteurs had already found bias against pro-Palestinian supporters on social media.

we need freedom of expression” she said, adding that this is a fundamental right important for democracy, development, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

“If we sacrifice all that and politicize the issue and undermine the right to protest and the right to freedom of expression, I think we are doing a disservice to paying the price,” she said. . “If one side is closed, negotiations become difficult.

Special Rapporteur and others human rights council-The appointed experts are not UN employees and are independent of any government or organization. They serve in a private capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

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