Daily Israel Report

Israeli Academics Call Poland to Boycott Israeli-Made Weapons

A group of Israeli academics has called on Poland to boycott Israel-made weapons as well as companies operating in Judea and Samaria.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/16/2011, 3:20 AM / Last Update: 2/16/2011, 8:46 AM

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On Tuesday, as the Knesset debated a law against boycotts on Israel, a group of radical left Israeli academics turned to the government of Poland (the incoming president of the European Union) and demanded action against what they termed the “crimes of the occupation” perpetrated by Israel.

The group is headed by Professor Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University and is demanding that Poland cancel a cooperation agreement with Israel over production of the Spike missile, which they claim Israeli directs against civilians.

The group members are also calling on the Polish government to promote an “arms embargo” on Israel on behalf of the European Union.

In addition, the group is demanding that the Polish government send independent observers to monitor what they term “the human rights violations perpetrated by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” and are also calling to “begin to protest against the wave of racist legislation that was recently adopted by the Knesset, or those that may come to a vote soon,” a reference to the recent decision by the Knesset to establish a parliamentary inquiry into the funding sources of leftist groups.

As if that was not enough, the group members also call on Poland to disallow the activities of Israeli companies that operate in Judea and Samaria, including Egged which operates bus lines in the area, as well as the Eden mineral water company, which has operations in Poland as well.

In response to the boycott call, MK Othniel Schneller (Kadima) has addressed a letter to Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, asking him to investigate the signatories of the letter.

“As a citizen who sees great importance in the right to free speech, I'm afraid that the legal system sets no clear boundaries which clarify how far one may go before harming the interests of the State of Israel,” wrote Schneller.

The Im Tirtzu movement issued a statement on Tuesday in which it condemned the call for the boycott and said: “We express our disgust at the continuing policy of turning a blind eye to attacks by Israelis against the state. Im Tirtzu is planning to turn to the Attorney General with a request to open a criminal investigation against Professor Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University, who is calling for a Polish boycott on Israel, Egged and Eden.”

The statement goes on to say: “The call to boycott is a sabotage of the foundations of the state. It is the Attorney General's responsibility to prosecute these criminals. We call on Tel Aviv University to immediately fire Prof. Rachel Giora for calling for an international boycott of Israel.”

This is not the first time that Prof. Giora has been involved in calling for boycotts against Israeli interests. Several weeks ago she was one of several activists who asked the British authors association to call on English author Ian McEwan to boycott a ceremony in Israel in which he is slated to receive the Jerusalem Prize.

Giora was also a member of one of the radical leftist and anti-Israel groups which called on pop singer Madonna to skip her performance in Israel two years ago.

Giora had said then that a performance in Israel “would imply that Israel is behaving in an acceptable manner, and would be interpreted by Israelis as moral support for the illegal and inhumane policies, described by many as war crimes and crimes against humanity.” 

Her salary is covered by the Israeli taxpayer and donors to TAU. She did not tell the latter to boycott Israel.