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Ben Artzi. 'Boycott can cause damage to Israel'
Photo: University of Haifa
Haifa professors slam lecturers' boycott
New Haifa University rector, his predecessor speak out against their colleagues' endorsement of artists' boycott of city located beyond Green Line. 'Some Israeli academics live in glass houses, shattering the basis for their existence,' one professor says

Senior figures in the Haifa University, one of the most left-wing affiliated institutions in Israel, slammed fellow academics who have declared they would refuse working beyond the Green Line.

 

Many Israeli academicians and authors joined actors and playwrights in a call to shun West Bank settlements by avoiding cultural performances beyond the Green Line. These included Israel Prize laureates Professor Ariel Rubinstein and Professor Zeev Sternhell.

 

The Haifa lecturers who oppose the initiative are affiliated with the Left but explained that a call for a boycott is not only wrong but may cause great damage to the State of Israel.

 

Professor Yossi Ben Artzi, Haifa University's outgoing rector and one of the founders of Peace Now believes academics should not use an academic boycott as a tool to further ideological or political agendas.

 

"I too believe that settlements are the source of all evil in Israel," he stressed. "Nevertheless, the use of a boycott is not only ineffective but bolsters the target of the boycott. There are Israeli academics who live in 'glass houses' and in recent years they have been throwing stones and shattering the basis for their existence."

 

Ben Artzi expressed concern that his colleagues' move would legitimize foreign elements in imposing their own boycott of Israel. "Whoever does not want to go to the territories should not go, and rightfully so as far as I'm concerned. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between personal refusal and a public boycott."

 

Lecturers' hypocrisy

He insinuated that he sees the move as hypocritical. "One cannot on the one hand opt for an act of boycott when it suits themselves and claim that it is wrong when Israel as a whole is being threatened with a boycott. The senior lecturers who signed the petition scored an own goal and are legitimizing a boycott of Israel by the academic world."

 

Haifa University's new rector, Professor David Farji added that it was the lecturers' right not to go to the territories for ideological motives, but that a boycott was not legitimate.

 

"The Ariel college is a wonderful institution responsible for serious studies. There is no doubt as to its legitimacy, regardless of its geographic location," he said. 

 

 

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