OPEN LETTER to Morgan Freeman: Hebrew university not morally qualified to give awards for combating prejudice.
Dear Morgan Freeman,
We are a group of Israeli citizens who are working to move our government
Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in "Invictus"
to recognize the full rights of Palestinians. We have recently learned that the Canadian chapter of the friends of the Hebrew university intends to award you with the Key of Knowledge award. You might have heard that the Hebrew University, like other Israeli institutions which are complicit in the the policies of their government, is the object of an international boycott campaign. As Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of that movement, put it recently "They asked international civil society organizations and people of conscience to 'impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.' ” Barghouti also quotes the state department, which finds "institutional, legal and societal discrimination” against Palestinian citizens of Israel. Amnesty International , Human Rights Watch , and the United Nations  all report Israeli war crimes committed repeatedly. The Israeli government's response to this critique has been the same as responses issued by South Africa in the late 80's. Both apartheid South Africa and the Israeli government have invested much money and effort in attempts to obscure their crimes by 'rebranding' themselves . Such an effort is greatly assisted by respected figures who would lend their prestige to Israeli institutions.
As for the Hebrew university itself, not only is part of it built on confiscated Palestinian land and some of its student housing are in an Illegal Israeli settlement, it also practices racial profiling as many other Israeli institutions . For this and other reasons we believe that the Hebrew university is not morally qualified to give awards for combating prejudice. We are asking that you decline the award and join the growing list of artists, leaders and academics who have refused to lend their credibility to hiding Israel's indefensible policies.
As Desmond Tutu put it: "...this harsh reality endured by millions of Palestinians requires people and organizations of conscience to divest from those companies — in this instance, from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard — profiting from the occupation and subjugation of Palestinians. Such action made an enormous difference in apartheid South Africa. It can make an enormous difference in creating a future of justice and equality for Palestinians and Jews in the Holy Land.". We would be interested in any question or comment you may have.