Barack Obama disqualified students from Ariel University from attending his speech because they study at a West Bank settlement school.
Ariel University students posted this banner on their Facebook page this week after they were banned from attending Barack Obama’s Thursday speech.
Labor MK Nachman Shai called on Israeli students to boycott Obama’s speech this week after the US president banned West Bank Ariel University students from the event.
The Times of Israel reported, via IMRA:
Labor MK Nachman Shai called on students to skip US President Barack Obama’s planned speech to the Israeli public, scheduled for Thursday night, citing the White House’s exclusion of Ariel University from a program to allow students to attend the Jerusalem address.
Shai said the Student Union should protest the president’s decision to exclude the university by not attending the highly touted speech, to take place at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center.
“Following the decision not to invite students from Ariel to the US President’s speech in Israel, I demand that the Student Union inform President Obama that they will not attend his lecture on Thursday,” Shai wrote on his Facebook wall.
The US Embassy said it was not boycotting Ariel University, located in the eponymous settlement deep inside the West Bank, but rather was only offering tickets to the speech to schools with which it has a partnership.
Ariel became a university last year after a highly contested political fight.
But Shai said the US was boycotting Ariel students because of where they study.
“It is shocking to think that you can disqualify students just because they learn in the West Bank. I do not understand how President Obama wants to conduct a dialogue with the Israeli public when he is consciously excluding part of it,” he said.
Ariel, a settlement with 20,000 residents in the northern West Bank, has historically been a sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israel hopes to keep the settlement in the event of a final-status agreement, while the Palestinian Authority would like to see it evacuated. The decision to grant Ariel University full university status last year was internationally criticized.