Israeli students
Photo: Haim Hornstein

Academics act against British boycott

More than 10,000 academics, including 32 Nobel laureates, sign petition declaring themselves 'Israeli academics' for purposes of UCU boycott

More than 10,000 academics, including 32 Nobel laureates and 53 university presidents have signed a public petition calling to remove a British academic boycott on Israel, reported the organization Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) on Monday.


SPME, based in the United States, said in a statement that the purpose of the petition was to reverse the decision of the University and Colleges Union (UCU), adding they would deliver it to the union, "as an expression of outrage against the boycott, and as an act of solidarity with their Israeli academic colleagues."


The UCU voted in favor of considering a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions at a conference at the end of May.


The full text of the SPME statement reads: “We are academics, scholars, researchers and professionals of differing religious and political perspectives. We all agree that singling out Israelis for an academic boycott is wrong.


"To show our solidarity with our Israeli academics in this matter, we, the undersigned, hereby declare ourselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott. We will regard ourselves as Israeli academics and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded."


According to the group's press release, "the leaders of SPME will continue to raise awareness and condemnation of the vote to promote a boycott by the UCU until it is overturned and the fundamental principles of freedom are restored to British academia.


"SPME will also monitor any instance where Israeli academics are excluded should any boycott take effect, and will implement the principles of the SPME statement accordingly."


Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, one of the drafters of the statement and an outspoken advocate of Israel, said, “never before in modern history have so many academics from such diverse backgrounds been so united in condemning an attack an academic freedom.


"Beyond the sheer numbers of academics who have joined in solidarity with their Israeli colleagues, the signatories are a cross-section of many of the most respected scholars in the world.


"The message of the signatories is crystal clear: should the UCU go forward with a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions, the end result will be a self-inflicted wound on British academia.”


פרסום ראשון: 07.31.07, 06:17
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