I was deeply ashamed to discover a number of professors from my university, City University London, lend their names pledging to boycott Israeli academic institutions as they are “deeply disturbed by Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement”.
Without singling out each individual, a simple Google search informed me that a number of the following professors and doctors including Tawhida Ahmed, Grietje Baars, John Cowley, Rachel Cohen, Jo Littler and Mazen Masri have spent part of their academic careers lecturing at universities such as St Petersburg State University which, as we all know, is located in Russia. Lest we forget about the Russian occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Others have previously accepted scholarships to further their careers by studying at institutions they wish to now boycott such as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Shame on you for singling out the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. Shame on you for ignoring the failed leadership of Yasser Arafat who let down the Palestinian people by declining to accept the extensive offer negotiated during the presidency of Ehud Barak. Shame on you for your selectivity and not mentioning the occupation of Tibet by China, the occupation of Kashmir by India, the occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkey. Shame on you for your silence against the more than 200,000 deaths in Syria. Shame on you for not boycotting countries with despicable human rights towards gays and women such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Nigeria. Countries that support modern day slavery such as Qatar – a country I suppose you’re not going to boycott us sending our football team to play in a stadium built by slaves.
Shame on you for writing your boycott using technology developed in Israel by leading Israeli universities such as the הטכניון – מכון טכנולוגי לישראל | Technion. Shame on you for leading a healthy life thanks to the incredible research performed at institutions such as the מכון ויצמן Weizmann Institute.
Disagreeing with the policies of a government should not cause you to discriminate against that countries institutions or citizens.
Lastly, we have a number of Israeli professors, lecturers and research associates on campus – including former heads of departments – who have graduated from Israeli institutions and some who have served in the IDF. Shall we drag them out of their offices and sack them? If so, please let me know when so I can give them the common decency of helping them pack their belongings.