Ibrahim Nasrallah announces withdrawal from academic conference in protest of Israeli participation

The poet and novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah announced his withdrawal from the conference of the European Association for Modern Arabic Literature (EURAMAL), which includes Arab and European professors working in Western universities interested in the study and teaching of Arabic literature. He announced his withdrawal from a conference, “Fiction and History: the Rebirth of the Historical Novel in Arabic,” organized by the association in Naples, Italy, where Nasrallah was scheduled to speak about his experiences in writing Palestinian literature.

Nasrallah was surprised to learn of the presence of an Israeli lecturer from Bar-Ilan University, as the invitation to him did not mention the participation of any scholars from Zionist universities in the conference. This caused him to send a letter to the organizing committee of the conference with his categorical refusal to participate in these activities, leaving the conference.

The message follows:

“I inform you that I accepted the invitation to attend this conference, “Fiction and History,” because the invitation was very clear in how it referred to the axis of history and the Arab novel. The names that were mentioned in the letter of invitation were clear and are the names of great writers that I cherish.

I was surprised, as were many Arab and European participants, by the appearance of presenters in the conference program representing universities in the Zionist state. This was particularly shocking for me at a time when the Zionist entity is engaged in a bloody escalation and unprecedented crimes, broadcast live before the world.

I am writing to inform you that I will no longer participate or lecture at the conference because my national and human conscience does not allow me to participate in a conference hosting Israeli academics.

At a time when the academic, artistic and literary circles are escalating the boycott of this racist entity, I declare my absolute support for the boycott movement and its actions.

I was expecting the European Association for Modern Arabic Literature to be a European-Arab association that takes care for something like this not to happen. It has proven that it has never been involved in such things for the 26 years since its establishment, but it seems that there are some who are seeking specifically to bring academics from the Israeli state to the conference. This is a big failing that cannot be borne by national, moral or humanitarian logic and the association must address it swiftly.

I will not accept that those who occupy my home will bribe me by saying that they study our novels and present these academic studies at the same time that they enjoy the house that was stolen from me.

Ibrahim Nasrallah”