Speaking at Ben-Gurion University Wednesday night, British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould denounced those who boycott Israel. “Everything we do is an expression of our values, and it is through our actions that we give voice to those values.” Among those values, he said, is “our rejection of academic boycotts, because we believe that boycotts divide people and reduce understanding, when what we need is to bring people together."
“Our mission, of building scientific and academic links between our nations, is deeply unwelcome to some, who would rather go down the route of boycott than engagement,” Gould said. “My government has stood firm by this mission, in part because of the knowledge that universities in Israel are places where the measure that counts is excellence, not agreement.”
Over the past year, Gould added, the British embassy had launched no less than seven major research programs between Britain and Israel.
Ben Gurion University President Prof. Rivka Carmi lauded Gould, saying that “the phenomenon of a diplomat who understands and appreciates the role of academia in research and development is rare and appreciated,” and expressing praised for Gould's “vision for UK-Israel partnership in the sciences and humanities.”