Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: The Academic War on the Jews

Israeli research papers are sent back unread, and boycotting Israeli academics is routine. Will they also boycott the products of israeli research that save lives?
Published: Saturday, September 15, 2012 10:31 PM


Anti-Semitism no longer shocks people.

When legions of “Palestinian martyrs” started blowing themselves up in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula and Karnei Shomron, the British daily Guardian ran an editorial titled “Israel Has No Right to Exist”.

Now that Iran's nuclear facilities are close to manifacturomg  a new Hiroshima's bomb, the Guardian just published an editorial promoting the academic boycott of Israel. Not only the Ariel University Center in Samaria, but most of the Israeli academics. The Guardian slams “the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in an occupation where violations of international law and human rights are routine”.

A few weeks earlier, more than 250 European academics signed an open letter to EU research Commissioner Màire Geoghegan-Quinn calling for the exclusion of Israeli companies “that are complicit with Israeli violations of international law from EU funded research programs”. The letter was also signed by Gérard Toulouse, a member of the French Academy of Science, Malcolm Levitt, a member of the UK Royal Society, and renowned philosopher Slavjoj Zizek (50 academics signed the letter from Italy).

They want to exclude the Israeli Antiquities Authority as well because of its work of protection of the Jewish heritage in the Temple Mount area.

The Western universities are becoming one of the most important souirces of anti-Jewish sentiments. And the academic boycott is like an ecological disaster poisoning the entire Jewish body.

In Italy, professors of Ca' Foscari University in Venice signed a European petition which included the statement that “my conscience doesn't permit me to collaborate with official Israeli institutions, including universities".

The Association of University Teachers in Britain  mounted an academic boycott of two universities in Israel: the University of Haifa and Bar Ilan University, which is being boycotted because of its support for the Judea and Samaria College in Ariel. However, the boycotts did not start there.

More than 200 professors from Sweden have signed on to a call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

The guest lecturer at a recent UK conference, organised by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, should have been Motti Crystal, an expert in negotiation theory. But under pressure from one of the participating unions, his invitation was withdrawn. The reason? Crystal is an Israeli. A Jew.

Recently, the University of Paris VIII closed its doors for two days to avoid a harder stance about a planned conference against the Jewish State.

Septuagenarian Israeli novelist and Holocaust survivor, Esther Orner, has been banned from the University of Provence, while Hizbullah officials were admitted to speak at the Sorbonne University.

In the Netherlands, Rotterdam’s Erasmus University hosted events in which Israel was equated with South Africa’s apartheid.

Graduate students at Carleton University overwhelmingly voted for the university’s pension fund to divest from four companies that are "complicit in the occupation of Palestine". Britain’s largest trade union for academics voted to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel and severed ties with the Histadrut.

Over 700 US-based academics have endorsed the boycott of Israel, including evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers. The American boycott was started in 2009 by 13 professors in California and now the movement claims activities on more than 40 US campuses. They are campaigning to divest from Caterpillar and Motorola and they reject any collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions.

Last autumn, Israeli professor Ronen Cohen, whose “sin” is that of teaching at Ariel, was expelled from a German academic conference in Berlin (he was later reinstated after a storm of protest). Elsewhere, Spain’s Housing Ministry disqualified Ariel University from participating in the international competition on solar power because of its address.

The boycott is meant to isolate the Jews and put pressure on them.

David Hirsch, a sociology lecturer at Goldsmiths College, University of London, wrote that the boycott would create an atmosphere in the U.K. where Jewish academics would be asked if they supported the “colonialist and racist” policies of the Israeli government.

A prominent figure in Belgium’s Jewish community, Jacques Brotchi, recently resigned from the board of University of Brussels after denouncing grave anti-Semitic incidents within the campus.

An Israeli student at the University of Turin, Amit Peer, confessed to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that “the Jews here are hiding their own identity because they risk becoming a target”.

Israeli attaché Shai Cohen was prevented from speaking at Pisa University after a violent attack by students, who called him “butcher”. The Israeli ambassador, Ehud Gol, fled Florence University after a similar “protest”.

It's not a new phenomenon in Europe.

In June 1969, left-wing students attacked Asher Ben Nathan, Israel’s first ambassador to Germany. He was shouted down at Frankfurt University by members of the German leftist student group SDS and Israelis from the leftist Matzpen group.

Several months ago, Israeli writer Moshe Sakal was booted from an academic conference in Marseilles at the request of Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish.

We don't count the number of Western academics who not only boycott the Israelis, but who also support Palestinian terrorism.

Ted Honderich, a Canadian-born philosophy professor at University College London, gave a lecture at the University of Toronto in which he said the Palestinians had a moral right to engage in terror: “To claim a moral right on behalf of the Palestinians to their terrorism is to say that they are right to engage in it, that it is permissible if not obligatory.”

The English Department of Harvard University invited Tom Paulin, a poet and academic from Hertford College at Oxford, to lecture at the university. In an interview with the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, Paulin was quoted as calling the Israeli settlers “ Nazis and racists” for whom he felt “nothing but hatred” and who should be “shot dead". The department initially canceled Paulin’s invitation but then overturned the cancellation.

If the city of Frankfurt decided to grant an award and € 50.000 to a US academic who has called for a boycott of the Jewish state, Judith Butler, the academic war against the Jews comes also from the Israeli professors themselves. A few days ago Arutz Sheva published an email exchange between some of Israel's leading academic figures on how to boycott Ariel University.

The goals of the current anti-Semitism in the Western faculties are inhibiting Israeli scholars from obtaining grants, persuading academic institutions to sever relations with Israeli universities, convincing academics not to visit Israel, not inviting Israelis to international conferences, preventing the publication of articles from Israeli scholars, refusing to review work of Israeli scholars, denying recommendations to students who wish to study in Israel, expelling Jewish organizations from campus and not publishing in Israeli papers.

Two examples.
Richard Seaford of Exeter University refused to review a book for the Israeli journal Scripta Classica Israelica.

Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple,” just refused to authorize a Hebrew translation of her prize-winning book, saying that “Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories".

Unfortunately, there are no serious studies on the impact of the boycott on the Israeli academia. The only one is by Paul Zinger, former head of the Israeli Science Foundation. He declared that in one year twenty-five research papers which were sent out for review came back to Israel from scholars who refuse to look at them.

"Veritas vos liberabit", chant the scholastics, meaninglessly. "The truth will set you free". In its paranoid version, it's a declaration of war against the Jewish people.