Ben Gurion UNiversity 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The University of Johannesburg said Friday that it does not support an academic
boycott of Israel, two days after the university’s senate voted to allow ties
with the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) to lapse in April.
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statement on Friday, Prof. Ihron Rensburg, vice-chancellor and principal of the
University of Johannesburg (UJ) said “I need to make this quite clear. UJ is not
part of an academic boycott of Israel. UJ holds the view that given the current
situation in the Middle East the formal institutional agreement between UJ and
BGU is an insurmountable obstacle to either institution facilitating a wider
dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian academics.”
continued, “it has never been UJ’s intention to sever all ties with BGU,
although it may have been the intention of some UJ staff members.
the UJ Senate voted to bring an end to the formal institutional agreement
between the two universities which at this particular time, in the Senate’s
view, creates an obstacle to cooperation between academics in Israel and
Last Wednesday, the UJ senate voted to end ties with BGU in
April, a week after the school held a debate over a UJ-written report entitled
“Findings on Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: Institutional complicity and
active collaboration with Israeli military, occupation and apartheid
In addition, in September UJ launched a petition calling for
the school to cut ties with BGU that gained the support of hundreds of South
African activists and academics.
The ending of official ties between the
universities means the cessation of water purification research projects that
were being jointly conducted by the two institutions.