Posted by: Lister | November 20, 2007

The Threat of Boycott had an effect

From Tony Greenstein at the People’s Voice: (via JSF)

The reason that there was wall to wall establishment opposition to a Boycott, with everyone from Alan Dershowitz to Tony Blair and George Bush denouncing the idea, was because it called into question a state that is built on giving privileges to its Jewish citizens and denying them to the Palestinians. For the first time ever 4 out of 6 Israeli University Presidents issued a statement, on the day of the academic boycott debate, calling for restrictions on Palestinian students to be lifted. The prospect of an academic boycott achieved more, in terms of getting Israeli academics to speak out, in 1 month than had been achieved in 40 years.

Then he links to Israel urged to lift ban on Palestinian students (May 30th 2007):

Four Israeli university presidents and several high-profile authors today called on the Israeli government to lift its restrictions on Palestinian students.
The call, in a letter to the defence minister, appears to have been timed to coincide with the vote among British academics over a proposed boycott on Israeli universities.

The group said Israel should lift a ban that prevents all Palestinian students in Gaza from studying in the West Bank. Several courses, including medicine, occupational therapy and health administration are only available in the West Bank, but Gazan students are not given permission to travel there to study. Israel usually cites security concerns.

“Blocking access to higher education for Palestinian students from Gaza who choose to study in the West Bank casts a dark shadow over Israel’s image as a state which respects and supports the principle of academic freedom and the right to education,” the letter said.

It was signed by the presidents of Ben-Gurion, Hebrew, Haifa and Technion universities, as well as prominent Israeli authors including Amos Oz, AB Yehoshua and David Grossman. The presidents of two other major universities, Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan, did not sign.

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