Dear Dean Lifshitz:
We admire the vibrancy of Israeli universities as fora for vigorous disputation in often difficult circumstances. We are therefore dismayed by your harsh public denunciation of some remarks made by Professor Hanoch Sheinman in a message circulated to students. We believe that his remarks, which referred to the current hostilities in Gaza without assigning blame for them, were appropriate as an expression of concern for his students and their relatives. At any rate, if you felt that those remarks came too close to being a political statement in an administrative message to students, you could have said so in a private communication to Professor Sheinman. By reacting instead with a strident public condemnation, you have treated him abusively and have conveyed the clear impression that the boundaries of discourse in the Bar Ilan Faculty of Law are now sharply circumscribed. We call upon you to back off from your precipitate response to Professor Sheinman's comments, and we hope that you will henceforth deal with these matters in a manner that befits the liberal ethos of Israeli universities.
Matthew H. Kramer, Professor of Legal & Political Philosophy, Cambridge University
Sergio Tenenbaum, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto
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