In a special interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Professor Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University gives her reasons for supporting the British boycott on Israeli academic institutions.
You support the campaign of the British lecturers' organization for an academic boycott on Israel. Why?
"A boycott of this type is a civil, non-violent act. It is a straight and clear expression of reservation by the boycotters."
But why an academic boycott?
"I support every form of open criticism against the current policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories, whether it is an economic boycott other forms of resistance. A lack of such stances allows Israelis to assume that the world is not against them. But the world, or large parts of it, are against them. And rightly so."
Isn't it better to act through academic cooperation?
"It's hard to express revulsion and shake off criminal acts through cooperation with those who we oppose. Cooperation in the case is mistaken and blurs all of the evil."
What is your response to the claim that the struggle against the occupation should be limited to Israel, and 'the dirty laundry shouldn't be taken outside?'
"How many other sacred stances will we draw here to silence resisting voices? Women who are beaten and raped were also demanded to keep silent 'for the peace of the home.'"
There are those that claim that calls to boycott Israel are an expression of a known and ancient European anti-Semitism.
"Israel is not the victim here, but the aggressor, and the criticism against it are not a form of anti-Semitism. Those who criticize it assume that it is possible to demand that it be moral – to take real responsibility for peace in the region, to stop the killing and the starvation, and to get out of the territories. On the part of Israelis criticizing their country, they are doing it out of deep worry for the society in which they live."
There are many countries that are thought of as imperfect in terms of human rights – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, even the United States, and they do not face sanctions.
"I have expectations that Israel will not be catalogued together with Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and even the United States. It's difficult for me to think that a 'democratic' state is not different from military dictatorships. Unfortunately, in its essence Israel is not different, but it is appropriate that it should be."