SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: September 12, 2016

Attack Types: Travel Restrictions

Institution(s):Birzeit University | University of London

Region & Country:Western Asia | Israel

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 13, 2016, Israeli authorities deported Adam Hanieh, a scholar of development studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), while he was en route to give a series of lectures at Birzeit University in Palestine.

Professor Hanieh is a senior lecturer at SOAS where he researches politics, migration, and state formation in the Middle East, and is a founding member of SOAS’ Centre for Palestine Studies. He was invited by Birzeit University’ Ph.D. Programme in the Social Sciences to conduct a series of lectures over the course of two weeks in September 2016.

On September 12, upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, Professor Hanieh was reportedly stopped by authorities and held for questioning for 10 hours. The substance of the their questioning remains unknown. Authorities then took him to a detention center outside the airport where he was held overnight before being deported to the UK and banned from entering Israel for ten years. According to Professor Hanieh, Israel’s Ministry of the Interior cited “public security or public safety or public order considerations” as a general reason for the deportation order. As of this report, Israeli embassy officials in London are investigating the incident.

On September 26, Professor Hanieh delivered one of his previously scheduled lectures – a discussion of the role of states in contemporary economic development – over Skype.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the denial of entry of a scholar, apparently to retaliate against or prevent nonviolent the academic or expressive activity.  Absent evidence to the contrary, such actions suggest an intent to obstruct the nonviolent exercise of the rights to academic freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of association — conduct which is protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, to which Israel is a signatory. State authorities have a responsibility to protect academic freedom, freedom of expression and association, and to refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on movement or improper detention intended to limit these freedoms.  Such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.


Birzeit University slams Israel’s denial of entry of UK academic