Europe's academics speak out against Israel’s genocide in Gaza

Europe's academics speak out against Israel’s genocide in Gaza
Dr Ghassan Abu-Sitta, Surgeon and Rector of the University of Glasgow. [image credit: Middle East Monitor]

After over six months of Israel’s siege in Gaza at least 34,000 people have been killed, more than half of Gaza’s housing has been destroyed. Israel has deliberately blockaded food and water, using famine as a weapon. Israel has been ordered by the International Court of Justice to cease all activities that could contribute to genocide. However, Israel is ignoring the ICJ orders as well as a cease-fire resolution of the United Nations Security Council.

Europe’s leadership is complicit in this genocide, by allowing the supply of weapons and providing diplomatic cover for Israel’s crimes. At the ICJ, Nicaragua has accused Germany of participating in the genocide. In the face of this genocide, it has become clear that Zionism is a violently racist ideology. All racism—but especially genocidal racism—has no place in the academy. So it is critical that academics oppose Zionism and that institutions start the process of de-Zionization.

Here, we catalog initiatives carried out by Europe-based scientists, academics, and students in support of Palestine and denouncing Israel’s atrocities. Without any claim to completeness, this survey aims to link to appeals, action calls, and open letters. These initatives stand alongside IUS’s call for a boycott of all Zionist Israeli organizations. We hope this list will help raise awareness of the efforts of Europe-based academics to stop the genocide. 


  • On 12 April 2024 the Palästina Kongress (Palestine Congress) of Germany hosted a number of speakers against the genocide. Speakers included prominent scholars, including Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a reconstructive surgeon and the Rector of the University of Glasgow, and Yanis Varoufakis, a prominent economist. German authorities sent police stormtroopers to raid the event, cut the electricity, and arrested at least one Jewish activist. They barred Abu-Sittah from entry to the country and deported him to the UK. Germany then ordered Varoufakis to not present his speech online, and then banned him from Germany after he gave the speech. You can sign the Congress’ resolution here.

European Union

  • Open letter: The EU and Academic Institutions to Halt Collaborative Research Due to the Risks of Dual Use, Misuse, and Violations of Human Rights and International Law. Signed by over 490 academics in or from Europe, the letter asks to “take immediate action to address the serious risks of dual-use and misuse of research projects and to halt funding collaborations with organizations that are known or suspected accomplices in the Israeli or other (alleged) human rights and international law violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide.” The text is available as PDF here.


  • Open letter to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAECI). Regarding the suspension of the Industrial, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation Agreement between Italy and Israel due to the risk of dual use and violation of international and humanitarian law: Signed by over 2600 academics in or from Italy, the letter asks the MAECI to withdraw the call for joint research projects under the Agreement on Industrial, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation between Italy and Israel. The reasons are concerns about the potential development of dual-use technology, under the Italy-Israel cooperation agreement. A call to suspend this cooperation aims to pressure Israel to adhere to international law and to protect Italian institutions from accusations of not preventing potential genocides or being complicit in war crimes.
  • Several Italian universities suspend collaborations with Israel. Following Turin University's lead in declining to participate in the 2024 call of MAECI for the Industrial, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation Agreement between Italy and Israel (see open letter above), the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and the University of Bari have also chosen to withdraw. Concurrently, a wave of mobilizations sweeps across numerous universities including Milan, Siena, Padua, Ravenna, Forlì, Genoa, Bologna, and Rome—where the rectorate was taken over by students on 26 March 2024. The rectorate of the Federico II University in Naples remains under student occupation, as of  10 April 2024. In Florence, more than 200 faculty members, researchers, PhD candidates, and administrative staff have endorsed a plea to their officials to reject the call. Within the University of Pisa, there's a growing call to emulate the stance taken by the Scuola Normale Superiore.
  • Sit-in in front of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and strikes and occupations in 25 Universities. On 9 April 2024, students and scholars have demonstrated in front of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking the cancellation of the current call of MAECI for the Industrial, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation Agreement between Italy and Israel (see open letter above) and to open a call or participation in privileged cooperation channels with conflict-affected countries, aiming to include Palestinian territories in preferential agreements. Moreover, on the same day, tens of Italian Universities have gathered in strikes, sit-ins, occupation of rectorates, and other initiatives aimed at preventing the Universities from joining the open call. Link 1. Link 2. Link 3.
  • Appeal from the academic community and research centers. November 2023. An appeal from Italian academics to ask for urgent action for an immediate ceasefire and respect for international humanitarian law. Over 4700 signatories. This group also assembled a list of statements.


  • Petition “Defending Freedom of Expression on Palestine: An Academic Issue”. In October 2023, The French Ministry of Superior Education and Research (ESR) and the CNRS, while expressing solid support for Israel, sent letters to all their personnel and suggesting disciplinary actions for any misconduct and that freedom of expression is limited by legal boundaries, especially in light of the sensitive situation in the Middle East. Over 1500 academics in or from France signed a petition defending the freedom of expression, also stating: “Our ethical principles as researchers are founded on the right to present our work and analyses without distortion, interruption, and baseless accusations. We also wish to reaffirm our right to support causes and express our solidarity as individual citizens. Therefore, we call on our authorities to ensure an end to intimidations, defamation, and restrictions on scientific discourse, and to protect our colleagues in their mission of disseminating scientific knowledge.”
  • A call for an immediate ceasefire, with over 1300 signatories.
  • Solidarity day for Palestine in Universities on 12 March 2024. Link 1. Link 2.


  • Letter in the Irish Times. A call for Irish universities to suspend ties with Israeli institutions. Over 600 signatories.
  • Letter to heads of universities throughout Ireland.
  • University of Galway’s Statement on Israel–Palestine.

United Kingdom

  • A catalog of UK initiatives to support Palestinian students, academics and universities.
  • Health Workers Alliance for Palestine, Link.
  • Health Workers for Palestine, Link.
  • healthworkers4palestine, Facebook.
  • United Kingdom: Students’ occupations of Universities.


  • Belgium: Petition of the Université Catholique de Louvain to end student mobility and research links with Israel.
  • Spain: Letters of a Collective of University Professors to stop Collaborations with Israel. Link 1. Link 2
  • Spain: University of Valencia conference “No al genocidio en Palestina. No a la colaboración de nuestras universidades.”
  • Philosophy for Palestine, Link. Including a list of solidarity projects.