A Unified Call for Academic Solidarity and Inclusion
Dear Members of the Association of Italian Scholars and Scientists in Israel,
One month has passed since the harrowing events of October 7th, which saw the brutal killing and torture of thousands of people, with over 240 civilians—including babies, children, women, men and the elderly—currently held hostage in Gaza. These are innocent lives, targeted for their Jewish heritage and residence in Israel. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, including our esteemed colleague and friend, Prof. Tova Forti of BGU. Our fervent hope is for the swift and safe return of all hostages to their homes. In light of these events, we urge the Italian and international academic community to stand with us in condemning the terrorist actions of Hamas.
The Association of Italian Scholars and Scientists in Israel (AISSI) is a non-profit, apolitical academic entity. The acts committed in Kibbutz Beeri, the Nova Party, and across southern Israel are crimes against humanity that should be universally denounced. These acts are in no way representative of Palestinian rights, whose legitimate aspirations are also undermined by Hamas.
As academics, we advocate for open debate and the recognition of all peoples, including Palestinians and their rights. However, what is happening in Italian universities, with demonstrations against Israel under a misrepresented pro-Palestinian agenda, is concerning.
What distresses us even more is the silence of academic authorities and our colleagues. This silence is not just disheartening—it’s dangerous. Many of us have been vocal critics of recent governmental policies in Israel and have strived alongside Palestinians for their civil and social rights. The current academic boycotts and calls to sever ties with Israeli institutions ignore the efforts of those of us who strive for peace and democracy.
The situation urges us to raise our collective voice for peace and against the divisive calls for boycotts. It is through unity, continued collaboration, and intensified researchers and student exchanges that we can foster a deeper understanding of our shared realities.
Let us unite in our resolve to ensure the safe return of all hostages and to reinforce our commitment to inclusion and peace.
Cristina Bettin PhD,
President of the Association of Italian Scholars and Scientists in Israel