The Rights Forum demands full cooperation with information request
The research institute, which focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, submitted GIPA requests to all Dutch universities in January. It is looking for documentation on Dutch universities' ties with organisations that “promote support for the state of Israel”.
The request was met with outrage and accusations of anti-Semitism. Ultimately, the universities agreed to comply with the request, but only in part. They are willing to disclose details of their ties with organisations in Israel – which The Rights Forum had also requested – but not of their relationships with “Dutch and international organisations in the domain of religion, commemoration or the fight against anti-Semitism”.
The Rights Forum responded last week. The institute called the universities’ decision “unacceptable” and believes they have succumbed to “a campaign of libel and slander” in which criticism of Israel is equated with anti-Semitism.
Now, the issue will likely have to be resolved in court. It will then be up to a judge to determine whether the universities should be allowed to invoke the grounds for exception in the Government Information (Public Access) Act.