Some 150 Israeli academicians and authors joined actors and playwrights in a call to shun West Bank settlements by avoiding cultural performances beyond the Green Line.
"As long as Israel is mired in the swamp of occupation, we cannot say we had a good year," Israel Prize laureate in economics, Professor Ariel Rubinstein, told Ynet Tuesday. "Israel's conduct in the territories constitutes a historic disaster for the Jewish people."
The lecturer who endorsed the call, initiated by actors and playwrights refusing to perform in the new cultural center in Ariel, include Nissim Calderon, Yaron Ezrachi, Shlomo Sand, and Daniel Rabinovich.
On Monday, authors David Grossman, Amos Oz, and A. B. Yehoshua joined the boycott call.
"The petition's objective is to undermine the normalization in the relationship between Israel and the occupied territories," Rubinstein said. "We are dealing with a catastrophe whose implication is a failure to partition the land; this may threaten the State's existence as a Jewish entity."
Rubinstein added that he does not dismiss the possibility of imposing an academic boycott similar to the one imposed against South Africa during the apartheid era.
"Under some circumstances, academic boycotts should not be rejected, but the question is who imposes the boycott and why," he said. "I do not reject the settlers personally, yet in this case an academic boycott will constitute an act against the occupation."
'Israel should adhere to law'Another signatory to the boycott petition is Professor Amiram Goldblum, a chemistry lecturer at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
"By signing, we declare that we shall refuse invitations for lectures or seminars in the territories," he said. "We will not appear at the Ariel College or at its branches, because we believe that any appearance or academic discussion there violates the law and international conventions, which Israel should adhere to like all other nations."
In a petition published Tuesday, the lecturers and authors stress their "support for theater members who refuse to perform in Ariel, express our appreciation for their public courage, and thank them for bringing the debate about the territories and settlements back to the headlines."
"We seek to remind the public that similarly to all other settlements, Ariel too is located in occupied territory and is not located in the State of Israel's sovereign territory…we view the calls for refusal to perform in the territories as a basis for broad public backing for leaving the settlements and withdrawing from the territories; in our view, these acts are vital for the State of Israel's existence and welfare."