Boycott betrayal 1

June 7, 2002

Most staff probably know little of the "academic boycott" organised against Israeli universities ("Historian fears for academic freedom in Israel", THES , May 17). But on a recent visit to Israel, every academic I met knew of, and felt perplexed and betrayed by, its uneven-handedness.

They argued that universities, as social institutions of critical reflection, discussion and argument, need support, not a boycott, by academics abroad, whatever the view about Israel's behaviour.

I ask colleagues here to communicate with their Israeli counterparts to ensure that the latter do not take their silence as agreement with the boycott.

David-Hillel Ruben
Soas, University of London

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