UG accused of censorship for blocking screening of Palestinian movie

The UG has stopped Groningen for Palestine from showing a pro-Palestinian movie at the university on Tuesday evening. The student organisation is accusing the UG of censorship.

The screening of the movie Farha, which follows a young Palestinian girl who is forced to leave her home during the Nakba in 1948, had been planned for a while. Students screen a movie every year as part of anti-apartheid week, and similar events focusing on Palestine, the war in Ukraine, and the Lebanese civil war have been held in the past with no issue.

But the university doesn’t consider Groningen for Palestine a student organisation, says a UG spokesperson. It also has members who aren’t students. ‘And on social media, they invited everybody to come to this movie. So this was an external party organising the event, and that’s why we said that according to the university’s rules, it isn’t allowed.’

The movie was originally planned to be shown at the Harmonie building. When that wasn’t possible, the group tried to move to a room at the UCG which was booked as a back-up in case the first screening was blocked. However, they weren’t allowed to show it there, either. It was finally screened off campus in the old youth synagogue in the Folkingedwarsstraat, which has been squatted.


At a pre-scheduled demonstration outside the Harmonie building on Wednesday morning, Groningen for Palestine expressed its dissatisfaction with the UG. ‘We demand that freedom of expression is loud, which is not the case when students are banned from participating in a movie screening’, a speaker said.

The protest was disrupted by a man shouting ‘look what you are supporting’. He was showing pictures from October 7 on his phone. A scuffle broke out, and the man was taken away by police moments later.

Representatives of Groningen for Palestine talked to the university on Wednesday morning, but the UG stands by its decision. ‘They just doubled down on it as not being organised properly’, says Alina Achenbach with the group. ‘But for us it is clear that this is just a different application of rules.’

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