British petitioned to prevent boycott

"Boycott actions are antithetical to the principles of academic freedom."

May 27, 2006 20:51
1 minute read.
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The Israeli-led International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom initiated an online petition, signed by over 4,700 people, as of Saturday, asking the British National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (Natfhe) to reject a proposed boycott on Israeli academics, The Guardian reported on Saturday. "Academic boycott actions are antithetical not only to principles of academic freedom but also to the quest for peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict," the petition read. The motion, to be discussed on Monday, criticized Israel for erecting the security fence and supposedly enacting apartheid policies and discriminating between Arabs and Jews vis- -vis education opportunities. The motion's supporters and critics each believed the outcome would support their view, according to the British daily. The Guardian published two letters, one supporting and one condemning the boycott. The anti-boycott letter, signed by 600 academics read "We oppose the inconsistency of blacklisting Israelis but adopting a different attitude to academics in the ... long list of other states that are responsible for equal or worse human rights abuses." The same letter made sure to speak out against "Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza." On the other hand, the Federation of Unions of Palestinian University Professors and Employees welcomed a boycott on Israeli academics, saying "Israeli research institutes, think tanks, and academic departments have granted legitimacy to the work of academics who advocate ethnic cleansing, apartheid, denial of refugee rights, and other discriminatory policies against the Palestinians."

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