Academic boycott – Examples

Here are some examples of letters by individual academics that,
at some point, have refused to collaborate with Israel, have stated it
with a letter and do not mind have their letters published publicly on
this website. If you want, you can copy and adapt these letters to your
particular case before sending them to the relevant person.

We are hearing from many academics who are aligning themselves
with the boycott in a variety of practical ways. Sometimes, academics
hesitate to send a boycott letter because they are afraid of retaliation
and they do not want to be the only ones doing so. Although it is
perfectly understandable that they prefer to join this boycott silently,
as a private matter, we feel that if they made their letters public,
more people would feel more comfortable joining in. Therefore we
encourage academics, famous or not famous, who have joined this
boycott campaign, to publish their letters, as they encourage others to
do likewise.

We, at Tadamon, provide this website for those letters to be public, so
please send a copy of your letters to us and let us make them public,
for a better efficiency of this whole campaign.
—————————————————-
Dear Prof. Klafter (Israel Science Foundation, Chairperson),

I appreciate being asked to evaluate this but I must decline since
I am a signatory of the academic boycott of Israel,

Yours

Prof. Malcolm H. Levitt, FRS
Southampton, UK
—————————————————
Dr. Rotstein,

You have sent me a request to review a research proposal which was
submitted to the BSF (United States-Israel Binational Science
Foundation) competition for research grants to be awarded in 2007.

You must be aware that there is an ongoing international campaign of
academic boycott of Israeli institutions until Israel ends its illegal
colonisation, occupation and dispossession of Palestinians. You know
what success this non-violent approach has had on Apartheid in South
Africa and you, like many other in the academic community, no doubt also
wish the end of the Apartheid situation in Israel/Palestine. So you and
I can only hope that this boycott will help this situation to end in a
similar way and in a timely fashion.

This campaign is also endorsed by many Israeli academics, in solidarity
with our Palestinian colleagues whose academic freedom is currently
denied. In that context, you will understand that I cannot even recommend
alternative potential reviewers.

I hope that Israelis, Palestinians and scientists throughout the world
will soon be able to work together again, in a world of mutual respect
toward each others’ rights.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dror WARSCHAWSKI
Paris, France
—————————————————-
Dear Mr Nagel,

Thank you for the offer to participate to the scientific evaluation
committee of the Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex Systems.
Unfortunately, I am unable to accept this offer for the following
reason. As a European citizen, I have a negative opinion of the way the
state of Israel behaves in the Palestinian occupied territories, and
more generally on the policy of Israel with Palestinians. I feel
I must act to make these things change, to ensure a better future
for Palestinians and Israelis. The economical and political boycott of
all official institutions proved to be efficient against apartheid
in South-Africa. Although the situation is obviously different
in Israel, I guess a boycott of all scientific institutions
from Israel may speed up things. I want to stress that I keep
scientific relations with individual scientists from Israel,
and I wish to help them changing the policy of Israel.

From this point of view, although I am pretty sure that the Minerva
Center is a useful place for exchange between scientists of different
countries, origin and opinions, the Minerva Center is clearly
an official scientific institution tightly linked with the Israelian
government, and I do not want to have any official relation with it.

I hope you will understand the reasons why I decline your offer.

Best regards

Dominique Delande
Directeur de Recherches au CNRS
Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel
Paris, France
—————————————————-
Proposed Boycott of Israeli Institutions by British Academics: Response to President Toope
September 2007

[In a strongly worded condemnation of Britain’s University and College Union’s decision to consider a boycott of Israeli universities posted to the website of the President of the University of British Columbia, UBC President Stephen J Toope calls the threatened boycott “a dangerous and unsupportable attack on the core values of academic life.” The following is a response from UBC staff.]

On June 15, UBC President Stephen Toope drew the attention of UBC’s Academic community to a projected boycott of Israeli institutions by Britain’s University and College Union. Signatories below, as staff, faculty and former students of UBC, hope that the President’s comments mark the beginning of a discussion about this boycott among academics here at UBC.

It should be remembered, first of all, that boycotts are not about individuals. They are a tactic used to change specific policies—in this case, the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the stifling consequences the occupation has had on the Palestinian population, including academics and students.

From 1988 to 1992, all schools and universities in the occupied territories were shut down by military order, and a whole generation of Palestinians was deprived of its right to education. Since 2000, a more subtle policy has been put in place. Travel restrictions make it impossible to attend a university unless you live within walking distance. Roadblocks, checkpoints, and curfews disrupt schedules, and make it impossible to plan the academic year and hold examinations.

Because foreign aid has been withheld, and tax revenues are likewise withheld (Palestinian taxes are collected by Israel, which is supposed to transfer them to the Palestinian government, but refuses to do so), the universities cannot get funds and many students cannot afford tuition fees. One consequence has been that professors have gone unpaid for many months. Now Israeli authorities are denying visas to foreign academics who wish to teach in Palestinian universities, and even to Palestinians who have lived and taught there for many years but who hold a foreign passport.

These are just a few examples of the extreme difficulties faced by Palestinian academics and students, and a few reasons why the presidents of Palestinian universities have repeatedly called for international support.

In forty years of military occupation, there is no record of an Israeli university standing up for the rights of Palestinian universities. To be sure, there are voices of opposition within academia in Israel, and we admire them, as we admire the courageous Israeli journalists, such as Amira Hass, who give a voice to those who live under occupation, and the soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories.

As stated above, a boycott is directed at institutions, not individuals. It might mean, for example, refusing on moral grounds to give a seminar at the College of Judea and Samaria, which was established by Bar Ilan university on occupied territory, yet at the same time might permit collaboration with individual academics from Bar Ilan university itself.

Some of the undersigned participated in a boycott of Soviet universities, one aim of which was to coerce the Soviet government into allowing Jewish academics to emigrate to Israel, and we are proud of having done this. A boycott of Israeli universities, to coerce the Israeli government into allowing the Palestinian population its right to education, certainly needs to be discussed, and cannot be condemned offhand. As President Toope says, one purpose of a university is “to provide a free forum for ideas, popular or otherwise”. We feel that President Toope has begun that discussion on this subject, and we would like to see it continue.

Signatories:
Martin Adamson, Professor, Zoology; James Boucher, CUPE 2950; Nathan Crompton, UBC Arts 2008; Ivar Ekeland, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics, UBC & Former President, University of Paris-9; Gabor Mate, B.A. (UBC 1968) M.D. (UBC 1973); Stephen Petrina, Education; E. Wayne Ross, Professor, Department of Curriculum Studies; Rabab Ward,Director ICICAS (Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems) UBC
—————————————————-
Consider boycott of Israeli universities
September 2007

Britain’s University and College Union has moved to implement an academic boycott of Israeli universities, and some university presidents in this country have already issued pronouncements condemning such a boycott. However, this is a serious issue deserving proper consideration by the academic community.

It is important to remember, first of all, that boycotts are not about individuals. They are tactics used to change a specific policy — in this case, the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the stifling consequences the occupation has had on Palestinians, including academics and students.

Since 2000, Israeli policies have prevented countless Palestinians from exercising their right to education. Travel restrictions make it impossible to attend a university unless you live within walking distance. Roadblocks, checkpoints and curfews disrupt schedules and make it impossible to plan the academic year and hold examinations.

Now foreign aid is being withheld and tax revenues as well since Israel refuses to transfer taxes collected from occupied Palestinians. As a result, universities cannot get funds and many students cannot afford tuition fees. Professors have gone unpaid for many months and Israel is denying visas to foreign academics who wish to teach in Palestinian universities, including Palestinians who have lived and taught there for many years, but who hold a foreign passport.

Yet in 40 years of occupation, no Israeli university has stood up for the rights of Palestinian universities.

Some of the undersigned participated in a boycott of Soviet universities designed to pressure the Soviet government into allowing Jewish academics to emigrate to Israel and other countries. Now a boycott of Israeli universities to pressure the Israeli government into allowing the Palestinians their right to education needs to be considered.

Raja T. Abboud, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, The Lung Centre, Vancouver General Hospital
Richard Bevis, Emeritus Professor of English, University of British Columbia
I. Ekeland, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics, University of British Columbia
V. Raoul, Professor Emerita, French & Women’s Studies, University of British Columbia
E. Wayne Ross, Curriculum Studies, University of British Columbia
E. Seaton, Graduate Studies, York University
R. Ward, Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia

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