The University of Lille cancels a convention by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Rima Hassan on Palestine, as a result of it can not “guarantee the serenity of the debates” | EUROtoday

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The “rebellious” candidate in the European elections Rima Hassan, April 14, 2024, in Montpellier.

Organized on the initiative of a pro-Palestinian pupil affiliation, a convention by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the “rebellious” candidate for the European elections Rima Hassan which was to be held on Thursday April 18 on the University of Lille was lastly canceled by the institution, Wednesday.

For the college, “the conditions are no longer met to guarantee the serenity of the debates”, and so she “decided to no longer authorize the holding, within its walls, of the conference of Mr. Mélenchon and Hassan scheduled for this Thursday, April 18 ». “We can only regret, in this context, the pressure exerted on the educational and scientific autonomy of higher education establishments”she defined on this press launch.

In response, the nationwide coordinator of La France insoumise (LFI), Manuel Bompard, denounced a “censorship”. “We regret the decision of the presidency of the university which shows itself incapable of resisting the pressures which attack freedom of expression, undermine university and academic freedoms and aim to silence the voices of peace in the Middle East “he lamented in a press release broadcast on.

The “rebellious” deputy from Bouches-du-Rhône introduced that Mr. Mélenchon and Hassan will nonetheless maintain a convention on Thursday in Lille. “Communication about the new location will be sent to registrants”he specifies. “Sadness to see in Lille a university claiming to be the victim of pressure and giving in to it by banning a conference a few hours before it takes place”castigated Jean-Luc Mélenchon for his half on his account.

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LFI has made the denunciation of Israeli operations in Gaza one of the main axes of its campaign for the European elections on June 9, defended by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

“We denounce the exploitation of this conference by supporters of unconditional support for the Netanyahu government”added the radical left movement.
“It will have been enough for the PS Jérôme Guedj to denounce the logo of the student association and for a Macronist MP [Violette Spillebout] calls for creating disorder to destroy academic freedom”lambasted the founder of LFI on X.

Since the start of the week, several elected officials from Renaissance, the National Rally (RN) and the Republicans (LR) have been calling for its cancellation. The logo of the organizing association Libre Palestine which was on the conference poster is one of the grievances raised. It shows a territory encompassing Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, on which the name of the association is affixed.

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For the association, its logo “in no way denies the existence of Israel”

The president of Hauts-de-France, Xavier Bertrand (LR), had called for the conference to be banned. “We cannot tolerate, in a French university, such a conference by La France insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Rima Hassan who, through the Free Palestine logo, deny the existence of the State of Israel”, he said. The boss of LR, Eric Ciotti, denounced a ” provocation “ Who “stirs up a conflict and imports it onto national territory” and welcomed a cancellation that had become ” important “ to his eyes.


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For his part, the vice-president of the National Assembly, Sébastien Chenu (RN), affirmed that “anti-Semitic remarks will be[aient] probably held » on this occasion. The North MP Violette Spillebout (Renaissance) had written to the president of the university to highlight the “very heavy responsibility” of LFI “in the anti-Semitic explosion in France”.

The logo in question was visible on the poster alongside photos of Mr. Mélenchon and the Franco-Palestinian activist Rima Hassan, seventh on the list of “rebellious” in the European elections. Raphaël Glucksmann, candidate for the Socialist Party and Place publique, regretted on TF1 on Wednesday that Mr. Mélenchon “is displayed” with the logo of an association “which denies the existence of the State of Israel”while refusing to call for the cancellation of this conference.

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In a press release sent to Agence France-Presse by LFI, the Libre Palestine association, created in November 2023 in the wake of the October 7 attacks, assured that its logo “neither[ait] in no case the existence of Israel ».

“We have simply mobilized a map which represents a region of the world crossed by an undeniable process of colonization and whose definition of borders is an issue of unstabilized struggles”specifies the association, adding that it does not have “never promoted hatred or uttered anti-Semitic remarks”.

“This conference was, however, supported by an association registered with the prefecture and approved by the university and organized in strict compliance with the rules established by French universities”specify the “rebels” in their press release.

Mr. Mélenchon and Hassan will also participate in an LFI meeting as part of the campaign for the European elections, Wednesday evening, in Roubaix.

This is Mr. Mélenchon's second conference which is canceled within a few days. Another event, scheduled for April 10 at Rennes-II University, was canceled at the last minute by the establishment for reasons of ” safety “.

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