Israeli academics boycott ‘settlements’

March 14, 2016  

Israeli Sociological Association, which includes over a thousand professors and researchers, announced Monday plans to impose an academic boycott on Ariel University, Army Radio reported.

President of the Association, Professor Uri Ram  of Ben-Gurion University, said that the Ariel University “is not located in Israeli territory”, and therefore, “we will not cooperate with the institute”.

Ariel University reacted with outrage at the move, accusing the Association of acting like “fascists.”

“Ariel University is surprised and disappointed that people who advocate pluralism as a symbol of their professionalism are operating in models of fascist behavior, which is unable to live together with different views of their own. We are confident that the opinion expressed today represents a minority opinion among sociologists, and certainly does not represent the opinion of all the hundreds of sociologists in Israel, who were not even asked their opinion on the subject,” said an Ariel Univirsity spokesperson.

The Zionist “Im Tirtzu” movement condemned the move. “The Sociological Association’s decision reinforces the BDS boycott of an Israeli academic institution recognized by law – Ariel University.”

Im Tirtzu said in a statement: “We ask the Education Minister Naftali Bennett, members of the Israeli Knesset and the Council of Higher Education to examine ways to correct the distortion brought by Israeli academics boycotting an Israeli academia.”

“Cooperation and funding must be prohibited with an organization that promotes a boycott or denies the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. In addition, the regulations should be changed regarding public activity in higher educational institutions,, to prohibit activities that seek to destroy the State of Israel,” said the statement.

MK Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) responded that he “sees the internal boycott as grievous”. He also appealed to the Chairman of the Council for Higher Education to show him the steps necessary to prevent the ban.

“Boycott is not education, it is the opposite of education. Boycott is not pluralism, it is the opposite of pluralism, and will be treated accordingly. It is absurd that those fighting for academic freedom, take it in own their hands to discriminate against an institution. Israeli taxpayers fund ten billion a year for higher education and we have no intention of allowing boycotts,” said Minister Bennett.

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