[Weizmann Institute] Kobi Snitz is the organizer of a lecture of American software freedom activist Richard M. Stallman (RMS), sponsored by Palestinian Authority's group 'Jaffa Youth Movement' in Jaffa. See below his emailed invitation and a note from a student telling of his exchange with Kobi Snitz.
Dr. Stallman cancelled his lectures at the University of Haifa and Shenkar College which were due to take place on the evening of Thursday 21-Jul-2011 and the next day. When Hebrew University linux users wanted to find out the reasons, this is what they heard from Kobi Snitz:
Mr. Snitz advises both myself and RMS that in order to make sure the talk in
Israel meets the standards of the BDS-supporting organization which is
"hosting" RMS then the talks in Israel must be both sponsored by a BDS
supporting organization and held in a hall "owned/run" by a BDS supporting
organization. Snitz's words were, "in order to not violate the boycott the
sponsors and the place should be dissenting israeli groups and
The Palestinian Authority, which offered funding for GNU Project founder Richard Stallman's trip, was unhappy to learn that he had scheduled lectures at Israeli universities
The American software freedom activist Richard Stallman has cancelled a lecture that he was scheduled to give at Tel Aviv University due to pressure from the Palestinian Authority.
The funding for his trip came from the Palestinians who invited him to lecture for them, Stallman wrote in a letter explaining the cancellation.
Richard Stallman, head of the Free Software Foundation.
|Photo by: AP
He said that they were not pleased that he had been scheduled to lecture at Israeli universities as well, and so withheld funding for his trip.
Stallman, who is president of the Free Software Foundation, decided to cancel the lectures at the Israeli universities and wrote in his letter that he was sorry for if he caused disappointment with his cancellation.
Lectures had also been scheduled at Haifa University and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Kobi Snitz <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, 19 July 2011,
Subject: a Talk by Richard Stallman, July 22
"A Free Digital Society"?
Activities directed at ''including'' more people in the use of digital
technology are predicated on the assumption that such inclusion is
invariably a good thing. It appears so, when judged solely by
immediate practical convenience. However, if we also judge in terms
of human rights, whether digital inclusion is good or bad depends on
what kind of digital world we are to be included in. If we wish to
work towards digital inclusion as a goal, it behooves us to make sure
it is the good kind.
What: A talk by Richard Stallman sponsored by the jaffa youth movement
the Al Saraya Theater Mifratz Shlomo St. 10
Ancient Jaffa (Near the HAMAM)
When: July 22nd at 3pm (sharp).
Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 and started the development of the GNU operating system (see www.gnu.org) in 1984. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, as well as to make changes either large or small. The GNU / Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award, and the the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several honorary doctorates.
The organizers of the event would like it to be known that they are in full support of the rights of Palestinians. In particular, the organizers support the call for boycott of complicit Israeli institutions. Richard Stallman is following the boycott during this trip out of respect to the Palestinian hosts who invited him to the region.
"A Free Digital Society"?
For more details kobi snitz 054-219-1547 or Sami Abu-Schada 0504435996
After Dr. Richard M. Stallman (RMS) cancelled his lecture at the University
of Haifa I tried to arrange an alternative meeting hall for him. Like some
other people I thought that all that was required was "not an Israeli
university" or perhaps "not a prominent symbol of the state".
Yesterday (9-Jun-11) RMS sent me a response which indicates that there is an
even bigger problem. According to him, "the Palestinians' boycott is so
strict that they object to [him giving lectures hosted by] all organizations
except those that support the boycott."
My opinion is that under such circumstances RMS should refuse to speak, or
at least have a "sudden and unavoidable scheduling conflict" which
necessitates cancelling his visit.
If this really is the situation then I will not be searching for lecture
halls for him and will not be attending his lectures either.