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Palestinian Professor Who Took Students To Auschwitz Denounced As 'Traitor'

16/04/2014 14:09 BST | Updated 16/04/2014 15:59 BST
Chris Radburn/PA Archive
A general view of Auschwitz one, Poland, as the government announced Wednesday November 9, 2005, that it would make annual funding of 1.5 million available to the charity. Watch for PA Story EDUCATION Auschwitz. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PANOTE TO EDITORS - PHOTO WAS TAKEN TUESDAY NOVEMBER 8.

A professor who took a group of Palestinian students to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland as part of a project designed to teach empathy and tolerance has been branded a "traitor."

Upon Professor Mohammed S Dajani's return, his university disowned the trip, his fellow Palestinians condemned him and friends advised he flee abroad.

The trip, involving 27 Palestinian students from Al-Quds University, was part of a joint venture focusing on conflict resolution between the university and two others.

But the university has instead the group "acted in their personal capacity and were not representatives of the university."

Dajani said he expected criticism, the Washington Post reported: “I received emails warning me not to go to Ramallah or the university.

"I was accused of trying to change the Palestinians' mentality ‘by brainwashing generations and teaching them big lies and fabrications such as the Holocaust and the suffering of Jews so that they would accept the theft of their land.'"

But he said he doesn't regret the trip - and he would return if given the opportunity.

Writing on Facebook, he said: "My response to all this tirade is that my duty as a teacher is to teach, to have my students explore the unexplored, to open new horizons for my students, to guide my students out of the cave of perceptions and misperceptions to see the facts and the reality on the ground.

"I will go to the university, I will put my photos of the visit on Facebook, and I do not regret for one second what I did.

"As a matter of fact, I will do it again if given the opportunity. I will not hide, I will not deny. I will not be silent. I will not remain a bystander even if the victims of the suffering I show empathy for are my perpetrators and my occupiers.

"The aim is not to get any one's approval but to do the right thing."

A student who went on the trip told haaretz.com: "Most people said we shouldn’t go. It is a strange thing for a Palestinian to go to a Nazi death camp. But I would recommend the trip."