Ariel University in the West Bank.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Researchers from Ariel University withdrew from a conference in London in September after being told they would not be able to reveal their institutional affiliation.
While the news of the incident broke abroad in The Times Higher Education Magazine last week, in Israel, Ariel University issued a statement regarding the incident on Thursday.
“The event described is an extreme manifestation of hypocrisy and absurdity. While the conference organizers are interested in research and researchers of Ariel University, they are trying to ignore the existence of the institution where these studies have emerged,” Ariel University said in a statement on Thursday.
“Fortunately, this is a rare phenomenon in the landscape of international conferences, where Ariel University researchers are received with much esteem. Ariel University will continue to strive to lead in the field of research and academia.
Also deserving mention is the protest of the participants of the conference from Israel and abroad against the absurd behavior of the organizers,” the university statement read.
While the names of the researchers involved have not been released by the university, two researchers submitted proposals for papers and were accepted to the European Association of Israel Studies’ annual conference at the SOAS University of London, which took place September 14-16.
However, the researchers were asked by the organizers to conceal their affiliation with Ariel University.
EAIS chairman Clive Jones, a professor of regional security at Durham University, told The Times Higher Education Magazine last week that “until the status of the Occupied Territories has been decided between the two parties, we cannot recognize Ariel as a university which is part of the broader Israeli higher educational body.”
“When we had proposals submitted by people working at Ariel, we decided that they were welcome to come and present their papers, but would have to give them as individual scholars rather than as academics representing Ariel University,” he told the magazine.
According to the SOAS London University website, the third annual Conference on Israel Studies: Conflict, Continuity, and Change: Israel in Comparative Perspective aimed to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines who are engaged in research relating to any aspect of Israel studies.