Demands for the resignation of a German minister for harassing academics who support the Gaza protests Demands for the resignation of a German minister for harassing academics who support the Gaza protests

Demands for the resignation of a German minister for harassing academics who support the Gaza protests

Demands for the resignation of a German minister for harassing academics who support the Gaza protests
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More than two thousand academics in Germany signed a statement demanding the Minister of Education and Scientific Research, Bettina Stark-Fatsinger, to resign from her position against the backdrop of a plan to cut off financial support for academics who support students protesting against Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip.

The statement, which was published online yesterday, Friday, accused Minister Starke Fatzinger of acting unconstitutionally. He added: "On the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the constitution, scholars in Germany are facing an unprecedented attack on their basic rights."

The statement stressed that it is “unbearable” for Stark Fatzinger to continue in her position according to this path. He also stated that investigating academics falls within the scope of the states’ responsibility, and that criminal law does not fall within the ministry’s scope of responsibility.

The statement added that the request to end financial support contradicts the constitutionally guaranteed principles of freedom of academic education. He pointed out that cutting off this support due to political statements by researchers is unconstitutional, and stressed that “teaching and research are free.”

The statement stressed that ordering an investigation was “a sign of constitutional ignorance” and “a political abuse of power,” and added: “The mere appearance of state restrictions on free public debate is damaging to our democratic society and to Germany’s reputation as a global scientific center.” The statement was signed by 2,348 academics.

In the same context, the government avoided answering a question regarding the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research opening an investigation and considering the possibility of cutting off financial support for academics who support students protesting against Israel.

Deputy government spokesman Wolfgang Buchner said in a press conference in Berlin, “The Ministry of Education and Scientific Research made a statement on the matter, and the Prime Minister has no comment on the matter.”

In response to a question about concerns for the future of science and freedom of expression in the country, Buchner said: “As you know, we do not comment on statements and letters that are open to the public.”

He added that he would not comment on the question about the severe criticism directed against the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research and the demand for the minister to resign.

It should be noted that many faculty members in Germany signed an open letter expressing dissatisfaction with police violence towards students protesting in support of Palestine at the Free University of Berlin on May 7.

On Wednesday, local media reported that the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research had opened an investigation against the academics who signed the open letter. The channel indicated that the ministry will study the possibility of cutting the funding granted to the aforementioned academics.

She confirmed that the ministry asked the academics why they supported students in solidarity with Palestine, and asked them for a defensive clarification in this regard.

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