Statement on the joint event “Judging in a constitutional democracy”

After protesters disrupted the panel discussion with apex court judges from Israel, Ecuador, Germany and the European Court of Human Rights, organisers decided to continue in a smaller setting. 

On Thursday, 8 February 2024, pro-Palestinian activists disrupted the panel discussion “Judging in a constitutional democracy”, jointly organised by Humboldt University, University of Münster and the Hertie School’s Centre for Fundamental Rights. Due to continuous commotion, organisers decided to stop the event. The panel included active and former constitutional judges from around the world, including professor at Tel Aviv University and judge at the Israeli Supreme Court, Daphne Barak-Erez. 

During the event, a protestor stood up to read out a pro-Palestinian statement. At the end of the statement, the panellists and moderators tried to respond to the protestor and continue with the event. However, this was made impossible due to loud and continuous shouting from individuals who joined the protest. The organisers of the event then decided to stop the panel discussion in agreement with the panellists. Activists were not accepting and actively hindering any discussion. 

"I find it shameful towards the invited guests that a discussion on this important topic could not take place as planned. As a university, we are a place where even extremely controversial positions can be discussed. However, this is only possible if we listen to each other. The activists were not prepared to do this today," said Julia von Blumenthal, President of Humboldt University.  

"Academia thrives on dialogue and exchange. We must offer this space at universities to discuss competing opinions. If we can only hold discussions in closed rooms under strict security conditions, this will not only lead academia, but also our democracy to a dead end," said Cornelia Woll, President of the Hertie School. 

The discussion continued in a smaller circle in the evening.