The academic boycott against Israel continues to broaden, with a new petition signed by 168 academics and researchers in Italy calling to suspend all agreements with Israeli universities as well as the Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology in Haifa.
The petition comes three months after 343 British academics signed another petition calling for an academic boycott of Israeli universities on the grounds that they participate in violations of international law and support the occupation.
The Italian academics and researchers, who belong to seven separate universities across Italy, claimed in their petition that the Technion engages in military research and develops weapons that the IDF uses to "repress the Palestinian people."
The petition continues: "We, the undersigned scholars and researchers at Italian universities are deeply troubled by the collaboration between the Israel Institute of Technology “Technion” and Italian universities.
"Israeli universities collaborate on military research and development of weapons used by the Israeli army against the Palestinian population, providing undeniable support to the military occupation and colonization of Palestine," the petition continues.
"Technion is involved more than any other university in the Israeli military-industrial complex. The Institute carries out research in a wide range of technologies and weapons used to oppress and attack Palestinians."
The petitioners also claim that a Technion development project contributed to the development of the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer "used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes and the implementation of a method for detecting underground tunnels, developed specifically to maintain Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip.
"Technion develops joint research programs and collaborates with the Israeli army and the main weapons manufacturing companies in Israel, including Elbit Systems," the petition continues.
"Among the largest private weapons producers, Elbit Systems manufactures the drones used by the Israeli army to fire on civilians in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008-2009 and in 2014 and provides surveillance equipment for Israel’s Apartheid Wall."
The petition further claims that "Technion also has close relations with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a major government-sponsored weapons manufacturer, which developed an advanced system of protection for Israeli Merkava tanks.
"The institute has also promoted a master’s degree in business management adapted specifically for Rafael managers, further strengthening the relationship between academia and Israel’s military-industrial complex," the petition says.
Among the boycott measures proposed by the petition are the cessation of all collaboration with the Technion and other Israeli universities, including academic and cultural projects. The petitioners also announced that they will no longer attend visits and conferences that they are invited to in Israel.
The petitioners also stated that they will not be severing ties with individual Israeli academics, but solely with the institutions they belong to.
The committee of university heads in Israel responded: "Israeli universities are under attack from the BDS movement as well as other parties, who are distributing deceitful and inciting material against Israel and its higher academic institutions.
"The committee of university heads is acting with everything it has against this ugly phenomenon. But it's not quite enough. We request the involvement of the state to act via all possible means to stop this dangerous process."