The boycott of the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) on Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities is not a private matter - it is an academic terror attack against Israel.
The initiative’s ludicrous arguments are only meant to disguise the fact that the boycott is another bolt in the system aimed at deligitimizing Israel.
The boycott’s timing, at a junction in which there is a renewed chance for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, exposes the true intents of its initiators; they are not interested in the peace talks, nor are they interested in any academic contribution to the Mideast peace process.
They have adopted the most extreme Palestinian demands and denounce Israel’s right to exist.
An academic boycott contradicts the academic freedom and cooperation necessary for the advancement of science.
In all modern international conflicts, academics attempt to bring the fighting parties to the negotiating table and encourage leaders to reach peace agreements.
Only in the Arab world, and now in the British isle as well, members of the academia lead the resistance and boycott fronts.
To ensure the approval of the boycott proposal, the initiators resorted to a sleazy tactic; they scheduled the meeting on the matter for Pesach eve, thus ensuring that the Jewish AUT representatives, who would surely oppose the decision, would not be able to attend.
Track down contributors
The initiators are also cowards and hypocrites; Israel is not the only country that has conquered lands, and it is not the world’s leading violator of human rights.The U.S. has conquered Iraq and Russia is conducting a cruel oppression of the Chechen people, but the British lecturers have never considered taking action against these countries, and they do not have the courage to boycott even one American or Russian university.
The danger here is that similar organizations in other countries known for their extremist views toward Israel, such as Belgium, would adopt the same position.
So, the Israeli government and all the country’s academic institutions must launch an all-out attack against the boycott.
Israeli lecturers should consider asking their British counterparts to suspend their AUT membership until the boycott is called off, and call on British university heads to condemn the initiative and take disciplinary action against anyone who would comply with the boycott.
Israeli university staff members should also track down contributors to the universities that had launched the boycott - Birmingham and the British Open University - and ask them to cancel their contributions until the ban is called off, and call on the British government to act against the AUT.
There is no choice but to staunchly stand up against the British academic terror and the deligitimization of Israel that is at the core of the boycott initiative.
- Eitan Gilboa is a professor of political science and communications at Bar-Ilan University.