Ben Gurion U student guilty of terror incitement – campus authorities

Student who urged listeners to “not forget the martyrs” at pro-Palestinian rally is guilty of terror incitement, disciplinary body finds.

By World Israel News Staff

An Arab student at Ben Gurion University who made an incendiary speech and praised terrorists was found guilty of incitement to terror by the educational institution’s disciplinary body.

Watan Madi, an Arab Israeli woman who identifies as Palestinian, helped lead a pro-Palestinian rally on campus in May 2022.

During the rally, students raised Palestinian flags and sang nationalist songs, while Jewish students held a counter-rally supported by Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu.

Clad in a Keffiyeh, Madi made a speech which ended with a quote from poet Mahmoud Darwish, urging listeners to “not forget the martyrs.”

The full passage of the Darwish poem Madi quoted reads, “We will not forget the beginning, nor the keys to our homes, nor the road lamps that were lit with our blood, nor the martyrs who fertilized our land, people and history.”

Im Tirtzu filed a complaint to Ben Gurion University authorities after the rally, arguing that her speech praising martyrs violated the school’s policies regarding incendiary speech and incitement to terror and violence.

While Madi claimed that the “martyrs” was a reference to Arabs in 1948 and not an endorsement of modern-day terrorists, Im Tirtzu noted that the poem had been penned by Darwish some 50 years later.

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The NGO welcomed Ben Gurion University’s decision to find Madi guilty of incitement, although the disciplinary consequences she faces are unclear. The university could expel Madi or issue her a formal reprimand.

“Watan Madi should have been in prison a long time ago due to her expressing support for terrorists and martyrs on social media during Operation Guardian of the Walls,” Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said in a statement.

“She was mistaken in thinking that she would be able to continue her incitement on the grounds of Ben Gurion University. Contrary to what she tried to claim, Darvish wrote his poem in direct reference to terrorists who carried out suicide attacks, 50 years after 1948.”

Peleg added that he was “proud of our activists who acted courageously” and that he hopes the university’s decision will signal that incitement and hostility towards the Jewish state “won’t be tolerated on campus.”

In a July statement to left-wing daily Haaretz, Madi said she was the victim of right-wing harassment by Im Tirtzu and that she was unfairly targeted.

The NGO “keeps going after leftists on campuses,” she complained, accusing Im Tirtzu of twisting a “call for freedom and peace…into support for terrorism.”