Entry: Banning Israeli universities... And then what? Saturday, April 23, 2005

The news of how the Brits have now banned Israeli universities, hardly come as a great surprise. But it is just as unpleasant, nevertheless. The matter is certainly of highly personal interest to myself, as someone hoping to start MA studies in Israel next year. It seems like if I do pursue graduate studies in Israel, I need to keep in mind that my education might stand and fall with the world's "attitude" towards Israel.

Brits ban Israeli universities

British academicians claim Haifa University censors criticism of Israel’s policies in territories, Bar-Ilan boycotted because it 'runs courses in colleges in the occupied West Bank;' Israeli official: ‘Last time Jews boycotted in universities was in 1930’s Germany
Britain's main university teachers' union said on Friday it had agreed to a Palestinian request to boycott two Israeli universities, angering Jewish students and administrators who said it could fan anti-Semitism.

Association of University Teachers (AUT) General Secretary Sally Hunt, announcing the boycott, said members are asked to avoid all academic or cultural cooperation with Haifa University and Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, British Ambassador to Israel Simon McDonald said the British government opposes academic boycotts in general and the boycott against the Israeli universities in particular.The AUT council voted to boycott Bar-Ilan because it runs courses at colleges in the occupied West Bank and "is thus directly involved with the occupation of Palestinian territories contrary to United Nations resolutions". It boycotted Haifa because the university disciplined a lecturer for supporting a student who wrote about attacks on Palestinians during the founding of the state of Israel.

 'A betrayal of academic principles'

The boycott, which is not compulsory, will last until Haifa "ceases its victimization of academic staff and students who seek to research and discuss the history of the founding of the state of Israel," it said. The AUT said it voted for the boycott in response to a plea for action by a group of Palestinian academics. British university administrators and Jewish student groups were outraged. "It is a betrayal of academic principles -- it looks like they are moving backwards into the hatred of the past few years," Union of Jewish Students spokesman Danny Stone said.

Reminiscent of 1930s Germany

The AUT's executive committee said it would look further into a call to boycott a third university, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, after claims that the institution had confiscated land occupied by Palestinian families in east Jerusalem. 

Boycotting Israel? - Read this

But how far are the Brits planning to take their academic boycott of Israel? And how exactly are they planning on doing it, with one eye shut?
Adam sent me an excellent article discussing the matter. (This is must-read material).

Pay attention, British professors. If you support the boycott of Israel proposed by some of your fellow academics -- and if you are to remain intellectually honest -- prepare for a radical lifestyle change. Firstly, unplug your computers. Good. Now switch off your interactive digital television sets. Well done. And now throw away your mobile phones. Excellent.

You see, Professors, these machines are not only the engine of the globalized, capitalist world but they also depend on technologies that have been produced by Israeli academics in the Zionist entity.Also, I'm afraid you may not use the British Library because it has been computerized by Ex Libris, a Zionist company that was spawned by the odious Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


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May 14, 2012   11:31 AM PDT
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October 27, 2010   07:23 AM PDT
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April 25, 2005   09:02 PM PDT
Baaaah. Good one.
April 25, 2005   01:25 AM PDT
We should just ban them until they get out of their dullness.

Torbjörn, I don't see why something so simple should be tricky for a "universal genius" like yourself! (and I have no doubt that you are). I also agree with Orly that I think you should get your own website (but not at the cost of your comments on mine, of course). I promise your website would be my new online hangout place (which is just what I need, another website to be addicted to..).
April 24, 2005   10:28 PM PDT
Perhaps we should ban English academics until they get out of Northern Ireland.
Torbjörn Karfunkel
April 24, 2005   05:22 PM PDT
OK, so here's the answer. Moses was 80 years old! This number is derived from the 'facts' that
a) the people wandered in the desert for 40 years, after which
b) Moses died at the age of 120.
April 24, 2005   11:20 AM PDT
Torbjörn I don't know the answer.

Maybe for Harry (a Canadian), and Orly, who studies at a university that follows more an an "American" way, it is natural to feel that British academia has no influence anymore. But this is certainly not the case over here in Europe. I'd say that at least 60% of the material I read is British. It is extremely influential in European social science/humanities.
Torbjörn Karfunkel
April 24, 2005   10:05 AM PDT
I take the liberty to change the topic completely.

Tricky question: How old was Moshe when the Jewish people left Egypt?

I know the answer, but it never occurred to me until yesterday, when it was brought up at the seder evening.
April 24, 2005   08:24 AM PDT
I can't remember a single Brit academic paper I read. Actually, in computer science most of Europe is really lagging (no offence, Torbjörn?)

I can't help feeling that the peculiar choice of these two universities has to do with their academic level more than with their "opinions". Not that any university I know has an official political opinion. The choice of Haifa uni is particularly ridiculous, because Arab students are very politically active there. Actually, some nickname it "Bir Zeit".

I am quite sure there will be no ban on Israel in computer science, because Israel has immense contribution to the field. Most of the research is in US where Jews has an immense contribution.

There won't be an academic ban on Israel in science / technology, but I don't know about the humanities. It's similar to the difference between Israel's importance in soccer and in basketball. While Israel was banned from hosting international soccer games (now it can host only in Tel Aviv area) it hosted the basketball Euroleague Final Four (and Maccabi Tel Aviv won it).

I understand your feeling, Maria, when you think these people are actually boycotting you and me it's really seem weird. I don't think this boycotting will become a trend, but of course we (the other universities) have to boycott these lecturers (I really don't know what is their significance).

There are Israeli academics among the initiators of such boycotts - Just shows you of the "censorship" in Israeli academia. I don't understand how come these people continue to hold their academic positions.
Torbjörn Karfunkel
April 23, 2005   11:16 PM PDT
No, they're not.
April 23, 2005   11:12 PM PDT
Why bother about British Universities? They are on the way to second or third rate status.

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