UK academics boycott universities in Israel to fight for Palestinians’ rights

 

Palestinian protesters run from teargas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank. Photograph: Emad Drimly/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Palestinian protesters run from teargas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank. Photograph: Emad Drimly/Xinhua Press/Corbis

More than 300 academics from dozens of British universities have pledged to boycott Israeli academic institutions in protest at what they call intolerable human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

The declaration, by 343 professors and lecturers, is printed in a full-page advertisement carried in Tuesday’s Guardian, with the title: “A commitment by UK scholars to the rights of Palestinians.”

The pledge says the signatories, from a variety of universities in England and Wales, will not accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions, act as referees for them, or take part in events organised or funded by them. They will, however, still work with individual Israeli academics, it adds.

The advert says the signatories are “deeply disturbed by Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement”.

In a statement on behalf of the organisers of the boycott, Prof Jonathan Rosenhead, of the London School of Economics, said Israel’s universities were “at the heart of Israel’s violations of international law and oppression of the Palestinian people”.

He said: “These signatures were all collected despite the pressures that can be put on people not to criticise the state of Israel. Now that the invitation to join the commitment is in the public domain, we anticipate many more to join us.”

The initiative brought immediate criticism from the British and Israeli governments. The British ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, said he was “deeply committed” to promoting academic and scientific ties. He added: “As David Cameron has said, the UK government will never allow those who want to boycott Israel to shut down 60 years worth of vibrant exchange and partnership that does so much to make both our countries stronger.”

 

thanks to: the Guardian

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