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PA daily: Abbas advisor Al-Habbash under “attack” by Israeli extreme right about his planned participation in debate with Israeli MP

Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the PA's Supreme Shari'ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, was invited to Hebrew University to debate Israeli MP Ofer Shelah from the Yesh Atid Party on March 1, 2016. PMW produced a report on Al-Habbash to call attention to his ideology and hate speech. The day of the event, Al-Habbash cancelled, citing security threats. His statement mentioned “extreme right wing incitement both within and without the university campus.”

Headline: “Israeli extremists protest the participation of Al-Habbash in a conference at Hebrew University”

“Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs [and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice] Mahmoud Al-Habbash faces strong attack from the Israeli extreme right for his [planned] participation in a conference being organized by the Truman Institute at Hebrew University. The conference, which will deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is meant to take place this Tuesday [March 1, 2016], with the participation of Al-Habbash and Israeli MP Ofer Shelah of the Yesh Atid party.

The Israeli settler movement ‘Im Tirtzu’ (i.e., a Zionist extra-parliamentary group based in Israel), one of the extremist Zionist movements with student branches in Israeli centers, universities, and institutes, expressed its objection to Al-Habbash’s participation and sent a letter on the matter to Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett and the director of the Truman Center, in order to cancel his participation. This was under the pretext that, according to them [and to a PMW report], Al-Habbash supports ‘terror and terrorists, glorifies Palestinian prisoners, and has made a number of statements supporting terror, including a statement saying that Palestine will only be restored by resistance.’

Among the extreme Zionist websites carrying out the attack was Israeli Arutz Sheva, Kol B’Rama (i.e., religious radio station), the Jewish Voice website, and additional extremist websites.

Hebrew University refused to relate to the letters of pressure [calling to] refuse to receive Al-Habbash, and said that it supports freedom of speech and pluralism, as long as there is no violation of the law. Likewise, it noted that the Truman Institute at the university works to promote peace and facilitates mutual dialogue as a basis for resolving the conflict.”

Im Tirtzu - Israeli "extra-parliamentary movement that works to strengthen and advance the values of Zionism in Israel" (source: Im Tirtzu official website). The group is particularly active on Israeli college campuses and is often connected with the far right in Israel, although the group does not associate itself with any particular political party.

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