Boycott is betrayal of our values 1

June 2, 2006

The Natfhe boycott of Israeli academics "who do not publicly disassociate themselves from Israeli policies" goes against free speech and the free exchange of ideas, limiting the ability of academics to contribute to mutual understanding. Academic life is about building bridges, not destroying them; opening minds, not closing them; hearing both sides of an argument, not one. Boycotts are a betrayal of these values.

The contribution of Israeli universities to human advancement is recognised the world over. Israeli universities are independent institutions where Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs and Druze study and research side by side.

The boycott blatantly contradicts the statutes of the International Council of Science that prohibit discrimination based on nationality, religion, creed, ethnic origin, race, colour, language, age or sex; and contradicts Natfhe's own constitution, which opposes unfair discrimination on the grounds of ethnic or national origin or religion.

Should a scientist who has made a contribution beneficial to mankind be barred from a conference because of his refusal to swear an oath of political loyalty? Such oaths do not belong in academia. They belong to illiberal minds and repressive regimes.

Come now and let us reason together.

Signed by 21 organisations including: International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom, Bar-Ilan University, International Academic Friends of Israel and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

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