Why have I been censored by a Dutch university?

Israel’s war against Gaza has been deemed “too sensitive” by a Dutch university. 

Ahmed Tawfeq APA images

The Netherlands – a reputed bastion of liberal democracy – is censoring solidarity with Palestinians.

Earlier this week, I was scheduled to give a talk at the University of Groningen on how the European Union has enabled the genocide in Gaza.

Less than 24 hours before the talk was due to take place, I learned that administrators at the college had banned it.

The reason cited was that the university objected to how I was described as an “activist-journalist” in material promoting the event.

The decision was taken by Thony Visser, a dean at the university.

I contacted Visser asking why she had a problem with someone who is both an activist and a journalist speaking at a college in a nominally democratic country.

The excuse she provided was convoluted and contradictory.

Visser first claimed that the reason for calling off the event was “not that you are a journalist and activist.”

She stated that the room for the planned event was booked by the group Groningen for Palestine before claiming that it is “not an organization that belongs to the university.”

Rooms for such events may only be reserved by faculty members who have an expertise in the topic under discussion, according to Visser. “This was not the case here,” she alleged.

“Your own profile as a journalist/activist also did not allow for the assessment of the event as the translation of academic expertise for a broad audience,” she added.

While Visser stated there is “nothing wrong with being an activist, nor with being a journalist,” she effectively conceded that she – or others in the university – had objected to me on those grounds.


It is inaccurate for her to claim that the teacher at the university who reserved the room (in consultation with Groningen for Palestine) lacked expertise.

The event was arranged by a specialist in international relations. Palestine has been a major topic in international relations for decades.

Visser’s attempts to hide behind arcane regulations are unconvincing. In discussions with Groningen for Palestine, the university’s administration admitted that it regarded Israel’s current war against Gaza as an issue that is too sensitive.

Universities – particularly in countries priding themselves on being liberal democracies – are not supposed to shy away from “sensitive” matters.

The talk I was scheduled to give was planned as part of Israeli Apartheid Week.

Held annually in universities across the world, Israeli Apartheid Week is designed to raise awareness about the crimes committed against Palestinians. Predictably, Israel and its supporters have long tried to torpedo Israeli Apartheid Week through false allegations that it is motivated by anti-Semitism.

Events marking Israeli Apartheid Week have been allowed at the University of Groningen for many years. It was not until 2024 – amid the Gaza genocide – that the administrators banned such events.

Along with my talk, a screening of the film Farha was forbidden.

I will not capitulate to censorship.

The talk I had been invited to give went ahead as an online event, during which I insisted that the University of Groningen will not silence me.




Holland is one of the countries with the most restrictive
asylum policy in the EU.
With head of government Mark Rutte and his former mentor, the far right-wing Geerd Wylders, calling Moroccans scum, nothing will change.
Dutch policy was liberal in the 80s and 90s and open for Migrants from Asia. Take a look at the Football Nation Team from these periods.
Aversions against the german Nazi history was often felt by those who came on holydays, proud with german status symbols in the 80s.
F.e. cars from BMW or Mercedes was popular to slash the tires.

The Moria of the Netherlands:


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