1. Is your decision to leave Al-Quds specifically in response to fallout from your trip to Auschwitz?
Yes it is. It was the university administration who sparked the incitement on campus with their public statement distancing themselves from the trip and me as if we are doing something wrong when they did not issue such a statement when military parades took place on campus. My resignation letter stated:
Since the university educational environment to practice teaching and disseminating learning and knowledge is not available any more at your esteemed university, which does not make it possible for me to practice my teaching mission and exercise my academic freedom, consequently I regretfully submit to you my resignation from my position as member of the faculty, Director of the Libraries, and Chair of the American Studies at your university effective June 1, 2014."
2. What was the nature of the problems you encountered after the Auschwitz trip? In what ways were you prevented from performing your job as you see fit?
The high-pitched incitement against me made the university decide to have security guards escorting me on campus. How can I perform my duties under such circumstances?
3. What have the students who traveled with you said to you since your return? Are any sorry they went? Have you asked whether they would go again under the same circumstances?
My students who participated in the trip were very supportive. They actually met with members of the Faculty and Employees Union which fired me from its membership as well as the the student leaders on campus who told them that university officials contacted them to take action against me. One of my students told me he said to the president of the employees union he fires him from his family's association, and the union president responded, "But I am not a member of your family's association." My student responded, "But isn't that what you did with Professor Dajani, firing him from your union knowing he was not a member?"
4. Do you have any second thoughts about having made the trip?
No and I will do it again.
5. Was it the right decision to bring students with you? Will you bring other groups?
6. Is the criticism and difficulties you were received with typical of the present-day environment? Are opinions being coerced?
The Holocaust has been a taboo topic in Palestinian memory and I believe for the sake of peace and reconciliation we need to deal with this taboo among others.
7. What do you plan to do now that you’re leaving Al-Quds?
Work on Wasatia to promote a culture of moderation and reconciliation between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people.
8. how long have you been teaching?
For more than 40 years.
9. in all those years, do you believe restrictions exist for Palestinian professors? That they are not allowed to teach freely?
The question is:. Can a Palestinian teacher invite an Israeli scholar to a Palestinian university to lecture about the Zionist narrative?
10. And what does that say about the future of Palestinian society?
We need to break away from the chains of these taboos to move forward. Only then will we be free and creative.