PRESS RELEASE: CAFE PALESTINE FREIBURG VERSUS UNIVERSITY OF FREIBURG
PRESS RELEASE BY CAFE PALESTINE FREIBURG e.V.
CAFE PALESTINE FREIBURG e. V. versus THE UNIVERSITY OF FREIBURG
before the Administrative Court, Freiburg, Germany, on 3 May 2013 at 09:30 a.m.
On Friday, 3 May 2013 at 09:30 a.m. the Administrative Court in the German city of Freiburg will hear Cafe Palestine Freiburg e.V.'s application against the University of Freiburg. This application has been taken against the discriminatory action led by the University of Freiburg against the Cafe Palestine Association.
FACTS OF THE CASE
In July 2012 Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. (e.V. – eingetragener Verein – registered association) applied to the University of Freiburg for a room allocation on its premises to hold a scheduled lecture by the renowned French surgeon, Professor Christophe Oberlin, from the Faculté Denis Diderot, Paris, titled ‘Plastic Surgery in Gaza’. The lecture was due to take place on 11 December 2012.
On 7 September 2012 Cafe Palestine received a communication from the University of Freiburg’s Executive Officer (Regierungsdirektor), Mr. Willaredt. Mr. Willaredt informed Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. that following the ‘assessment of content’ of the planned lecture, the decision had been taken that ‘no facilities could be made available’ for the event. In response to this communication and corresponding decision, Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. requested that the University of Freiburg provides a written explanation.
In the University’s letter of 25 September 2012 to Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V., Mr. Willaredt wrote that, in reference to the law of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and the guidelines of the University of Freiburg, and ‘for reasons to do with neutrality, no allocation of halls or space should be made for political parties and associations’. Mr Willaredt added that an application for room allocation ‘may also be refused, if there are indications that during the event calls for violation of the constitution or breach of the law may be voiced’. It was further claimed in the University of Freiburg’s communication of 25 September 2012 that the institution had evidence of Cafe Palestine’s 'ulterior political motives'.
It is crucial to stress that Cafe Palestine is neither a political party nor a political association. It is a non-profit association and acts within the framework of culture, politics and society and with full transparency and openness. Cafe Palestine aims to foster collaborative activities and work together with local and international institutions.
In spite of Cafe Palestine’s non-political status and the aforementioned points regarding the aims of the Cafe Palestine, the University of Freiburg owing to one-sided and misleading research from particular employes from the University, made baseless conclusions and defamatory remarks against Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. and its speakers.
These claims have damaged Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V.’s reputation. In addition, a prominent French academic was banned from speaking at one of Germany’s most renowned universities.
It should be recalled that freedom of expression is a basic human right and enshrined in Article 5 of the Basic Constitutional Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Furthermore, academic freedom, which includes the freedom of research, teaching and studying, is a basic constituent of this universal right. Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. contends that the University of Freiburg has flagrantly violated these rights.
The University of Freiburg’s suggestion that Cafe Palestine’s event may voice calls for the violation of the constitution or breach the law is clearly erroneous and misleading. However, if the University of Freiburg insinuates a violation of the constitution, then the jurisdiction for the verification of such allegations would lie with the Ministry of Interior of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Since the University of Freiburg hosts political events such as lectures organized by the German-Israeli Society or 'anti-Deutsche' ISF (Initiative Socialist Forum), its reference to ‘political neutrality' and 'ulterior political motives’ in the 25 September 2012 communication to Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. cannot justify the reason for the exclusion of the association from the University’s premises.
Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. maintains the crucial need to exercise free speech without any institutional obstructions, and its legal right to expose the defamatory allegations as well as to demand retraction and declaratory action.
Cafe Palestine requests in the strongest possible manner that future events organized by Cafe Palestine continue to be conducted lawfully in the University of Freiburg premises and within the institution’s guidelines.
Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V. is a small voluntary association and, owing to a lack of financial resources, is unable to afford counsel representation. Nevertheless, the Association feels confident that in this case (as with the Nakba Exhibition „Die Nakba – Flucht und Vertreibung der Palästinenser 1948“ organized by Cafe Palestine, which was prohibited by Dr. Dieter Salomon, the Mayor of Freiburg in 2010, but was later found by the Administrative Court of Freiburg that ‘The exhibition does not violate penal law with regard to content and is protected by freedom of speech’) the objective facts and the law will receive juridical satisfaction.
Freiburg, 16 April 2013
Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V.
EVENTS BY CAFE PALESTINE FREIBURG e.V.
(Since its foundation in May 2010 until today)
9.5.10 CHILDREN IN GAZA – Annie Sauerland, Dr. Gabi Weber
20.6.10 THE FREE GAZA FLOTILLA AND THE MEDIA – Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Matthias Jochheim
4.7.10 EUROPEAN CHAMPION GERMANY – ARMS EXPORTS AND LICENSING AWARDS TO GOVERNMENTS AT WAR AND IN VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE NEAR EAST – Jürgen Grässlin
26.9.10 WE REFUSE TO BE ENEMIES – Daoud Nassar on his project building bridges through personal contact TENT OF NATIONS
17.10.10 PALESTINE IN THE LITERATURE OF ARAB WOMEN WRITERS – READING with the Alawi Publishing House
12.11.- 14.11.2010 PALESTINE DAYS FREIBURG
12.11.10 Opening of the exhibition “THE NAKBA – FLIGHT AND EXPULSION OF THE PALESTINIANS 1948“, by and with Ingrid Rumpf and patron Hedy Epstein
13.11.10 Discussion meeting FUTURE OUTLOOK OF THE PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI CONFLICT AND GERMAN SHARED RESPONSIBILITY – with Prof.
Jeff Halper, Heiko Flottau, Geri Müller, Daniel Vischer, Dr. Ludwig Watzal, Dr. h.c. Hans-C. Graf Sponeck – in cooperation with Kant Foundation Freiburg, Department of Oriental Studies at the University of Freiburg
14.11.10 HISTORY AND CURRENT ISSUES OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENT POLICY – CENTRAL PROBLEM OF THE NEAR EAST CONFLICT – Dr. Viktoria Waltz
12.12.10 PALESTINE – PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRISIS NETWORK – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? – Dr. h.c. Hans-C. Graf Sponeck
16.1.11 ISRAEL´S RACIST LAWS – NO END IN SIGHT OF THE NAKBA? – Prof. Dr. Werner Ruf
6.2.11 THERE IS NO PRICE FOR FREEDOM – Vernissage and discussion with Edo Medicks
13.3.11 JUDAISM – ZIONISM – “PROMISED LAND” – Gilad Atzmon
10.4.11 MILITARY COURTS IN ISRAEL – PALESTINIANS UNDER OCCUPATION LAW – Roni Hammermann, Machsom Watch
8.5.11 Audiobook presentation HEAR; O ISRAEL by Erich Fried with Beate Himmelstoss, Jürgen Jung
5.6.11 REPORTS FROM GAZA – Vera Macht
26.6.11 A GERMAN IN THE NEAR EAST CONFLICT – CAUGHT BETWEEN ALL CHAIRS? – Anica Heinlein
10.7.11 THE HEART OF JENIN – Film screening and discussion with the protagonist Ismael Khatib, in cooperation with Friedrichsbau Cinema
14.7.11 CHILDREN OF THE STONES, CHILDREN OF THE WALL – Film screening and discussion with the producer Dr. Robert Krieg
10./11.9.11 – PALESTINE DAYS FREIBURG
10.9.11 MUSIC THAT TEARS DOWN BOUNDARIES – Gilad Atzmon, Frank Harrison, M. K.
11.9.11 PALESTINE, ISRAEL, GERMANY – THE LIMITS OF FRANK DISCUSSION – conference with Prof. Samir Abed-Rabbo, Gilad Atzmon, Ramzy Baroud, Dr. Ibrahim El-Zayat, Sameh Habeeb, Alan Hart, Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Dr. Makram Khoury-Machool, Ken O´Keefe, Moderators: Dr. Tilman Lüdke, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Uhde, Artists: Viqar Ali, David Borrington
14.10.11 SHO KAMAN? WHAT ELSE? – Freedom Theatre from Jenin, in cooperation with Südwind e. V.
23.10.11 Cinema matinée ARNA´S CHILDREN – Documentary about the Freedom Theatre
27.10.11 THE REVOLUTIONS IN THE ARAB WORLD – A PALESTINIAN APPRAISAL – Reverend Dr. Mitri Raheb, Moderation Prof. Dr. Bernhard Uhde, in cooperation with Kant Foundation Freiburg, Bonhoeffer-Gruppe
30.10.11 LAST EXIT – FLIGHT AND EXILE – L. A. E-A., Taleb Alsader, Salem El-Aklok
13.11.11 Reading THE END OF THE WARS – Prof. William Hathaway
24.11.11 POWDER KEG NEAR EAST: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SITUATION IN ISRAEL – Michel Warschawski, in cooperation with Die Linke Freiburg
19.11.11 BETWEEN THE FLEETING WORDS – Palestinian dance performance – Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre London
17.12.11 BAZAR at Jos Fritz Café
9.1.12 Cinema soirée JERUSALEM – THE EAST SIDE STORY by Mohammed Alatar
26.2.12 CULTURAL RESISTANCE IN PALESTINE – Misbah Deeb
8.3.12 NAKBA – THE OPEN WOUND – Reading with Marlène Schnieper
15.4.12 THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT – ISRAEL CAN DO ANYTHING – TALKING TURKEY ABOUT ANTISEMITISM AND CRITICISM OF ISRAEL – Evelyn Hecht-Galinski
26.4.12 FROM A BEDOUIN TENT TO POLITICS IN BONN – A LIFE STORY AS WORLD HISTORY – Abdallah Frangi
13.5.12 WE REFUSE TO BE ENEMIES – Film screening and discussion with the producers Stefanie Landgraf, Johannes Gulde
16.5.12 Discussion with Rabbi Arik Asherman, Rabbis for Human Rights
24.6.12 IT’S GOD’S FAULT – Reading with Oded Netivi
3.7.12 THE WANDERING WHO – Panel discussion with Prof. Norton Mezvinski, Gilad Atzmon
7.7.12 SUMMER PARTY
22.7.12 ISRAEL HOSTAGE OF RELIGIOUS FANATICS – WHY ISRAEL IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY – a theological appraisal – Reverend Dr. Jochen Vollmer
20.9.12 BREAKING THE SILENCE – ISRAELI SOLDIERS SPEAK ABOUT THEIR MISSIONS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES – Dana Golan, in cooperation with Badische Zeitung newspaper
11.11.12 NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE NI´LIN – Saeed Amireh
11.12.12 THE HEALTH SYSTEM IN GAZA – Prof. Christophe Oberlin, in cooperation with Erich-Lexer-Klinik Freiburg
19.1.13 LILITH – Contemporary Arab dance – Lamia Safieddine, in cooperation mit E-Werk Freiburg
24.2.13 …AND THE TYRANTS’ FEAR OF THE SONGS – Reading from the book POETRY OF RESISTANCE – Markus Heizmann, harp music Eva Heizmann
3.3.13 FATAL EMBRACE – ISRAEL´S POLICIES AND THE SILENCE OF THE CHRISTIANS – Marc Braverman
17.3.13 SIR BASIL ZAHAROFF – THE KING OF ARMS – Dr. Anne Maximiliane Jäger-Gogoll, PD Dr. Johannes M. Becker