Fifty-one Nobel Prize laureates from around the world signed a petition slamming Britain's University and College Union's proposal
to impose an academic boycott on the State of Israel.
"We, Noble Prize laureates, condemn the UCU's shameful decision to boycott contact and exchange of information with Israeli educators and academic institutions," the petition said.
The idea of a petition was presented by Technion Professor Aaron Ciechanover, the 2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry.
Ciechanover appealed to his good friend, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who took it upon himself to seek the signatures of fellow laureates.
Wiesel led a similar petition two years ago, which ultimately foiled a previous proposal for a British academic boycott on Israel.
The petition also condemns the boycotts proposed by UNISON,
the largest union in the British Trades Union Congress, and the British National Union of Journalists,
calling on British companies not to buy Israeli products.
"Not only do such boycotts encourage the extremists," the petition said, "but they also praise and glorify prejudices."
Wiesel told Yedioth Ahronot newspaper on Monday that there has been a rush of laureates eager to sign the petition, and that so far, only one Nobel Prize laureate refused.
This is a very impressive rate of support of the petition, and the calls keep coming in, more signatures are expected on the petition, Wiesel said.
The petition will be published later Tuesday throughout different media outlets across the world.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry will simultaneously distribute the petition to Israeli representatives across the world, who will in turn present it in local media, on campuses and in academic circles over the next few days, in an attempt to gain further support in the fight against the boycott.