Shift in opinion over boycott of Israel

July 24, 2014

The academic boycott of Israel (“Unity amid divisions”, Features, 17 July) is a boycott of institutions not individuals, and there has been a tidal shift of opinion in favour of a boycott – this week, a fourth US academic association voted to support it.

The strength of world academic opinion about Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip is conveyed in the 1,000+ signatories (still flooding in) to a letter asking Israeli academics “to join your voices in an open and resounding protest about these war crimes by the Israeli government – your government”. The leading academics and intellectuals who have signed this request include Étienne Balibar, Sir Patrick Bateson, John Berger, Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Ahdaf Soueif, Marina Warner…The Israeli academic response has been, in the context of that country, remarkable. At great risk to their personal and professional security, 65 of them have now publicly signed their names to the following:

“The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.”

The full list of signatories is available [here].

The picture presented in your feature on Israel is of UK government representatives cosying up to the Israeli universities that are producing the technology being used against the Palestinians, and of Israeli academics politely agreeing to disagree. All are bizarrely disconnected from reality. The picture is blown apart by the dreadful events in Gaza, the worldwide academic reaction and the courageous response of our Israeli colleagues.

Tom Hickey
Chair
University of Brighton UCU branch

Haim Bresheeth
Soas, University of London

Jonathan Rosenhead
Professor emeritus
Department of management, London School of Economics

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride