Opposition growing to boycott of Israel

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Opposition — much of it in the United States — is growing to the vote last week by Britain’s main faculty union, the University and College Union, to encourage a boycott of Israeli academics. An online petition by Wednesday had more than 1,300 scholars from around the world — including several Nobel laureates — pledging that as long as the boycott call remains in effect, they will consider themselves to be like Israeli academics and will refuse to attend any meeting from which Israeli professors are excluded. The American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a statement urging the British union to reject the boycott. “Free scientific inquiry and associated international collaborations should not be compromised in order to advance a political agenda unrelated to scientific and scholarly matters,” the statement said. The American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom adopted a statement reiterating its opposition to academic boycotts. And the British prime minister, Tony Blair, said in Parliament that the boycott was “misguided” and “undermines academic freedoms,” The Guardian reported.

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