An ill-advised boycott

July 31, 2014

Israel’s wall in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza are aimed at separating Palestinians from Israelis. Tom Hickey and others (“Shift in opinion over boycott in Israel”, Letters, 24 July) want to aid the Israeli government’s policies with their academic boycott.

Isolating either side from the other has been a disaster for both peoples. Academic contact through collaborative research, conferences and joint programmes can provide an environment for bringing people together. Over the past decade, too many Palestinians and Israelis have met only on the battlefield. The result of increasing isolation is the death and destruction we are witnessing in Gaza. Academics can play a significant role in breaking down divisions and creating an atmosphere where each side can speak to the other.

John Strawson
Co-director, Centre on Human Rights in Conflict
School of Law and Social Sciences
University of East London

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