by Giulio Meotti
Insidious, but more and more pervasive and lethal, is the academic boycott.
The case of Orange, the French mobile phone company that is considering abandoning the Israeli market, was on the front pages of all major newspapers. But there is a silent boycott of the Jewish State which is more insidious, latent and even more dangerous because it undermines Israel's cultural superiority and cuts Israel's link with the rest of the world.
"The academic boycott is illegal according to all academic organizations in the world," says Professor Zvi Ziegler, a mathematician at the Technion (Institute of Technology in Haifa) and head of the main scientific forum fighting the boycott. "It is against progress, so you will not find universities or European academics who officially boycott Israel. But many do silently, behind the scenes".
This happened to Oren Yiftachel, a leftist Ben Gurion University scholar, whose publication, sent to the magazine Political Geography, was refused by their saying that they did not accept anything that came from the state of the Jews.
Seaford did it by sending the following motivation: "Alas, I am unable to accept your kind invitation, for reasons that you may not like. I have, along with many other British academics, signed the academic boycott of Israel, in the face of the brutal and illegal expansionism and the ethnic cleansing being practiced by your government".
This case is reminiscent of the Oxford pathologist, Andrew Wilkie, who declined a doctoral application from a student of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tel Aviv, Amit Duvshani, with these words: "Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because the (the Palestinians) wish to live in their own country. I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find another suitable lab if you look around".
In 2002, the year of the beginning of the academic campaign against Israel, Paul Zinger, the head of the Scientific Association of Israel, revealed that more than seven thousand scientific research projects are sent from Israel abroad every year. Dozens of scientific papers were returned that year, with the terse explanation: "We refuse to examine any document from Israel". That phenomenon now seems out of control.
Among the silent measures taken by the boycotters is refusing to participate in conferences held in Israel, ignoring requests to write letters of recommendation for Israeli scholars looking for promotions, and refusing contributions from Israeli scholars.
The publishing house of St. Jerome in Manchester, specializing in translation and linguistic research, has refused to send academic volumes to Bar Ilan University in Israel. The English magazine, Dance Europe, refused to publish an article about Israeli choreographer Sally-Anne Friedland, Richard Seaford of the University of Exeter refused to review a book for the Israeli magazine Scripta Classica Israelica.
Chilling is the case of Ingrid Harbitz, researcher of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Oslo, who refused to send blood samples to the Goldyne Savad Institute of Jerusalem. "Due to the present situation in the Middle East, I will not deliver any material to an Israelitic university", was the response of the Norwegian scientist.
Students and teachers are banned from European universities just because they are Israeli Jews. Ring a bell?
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