SHAME ON IRISH ACADEMICS
Israeli academics over the holiday weekend slammed a call for a European Union boycott of Israeli academic institutions delivered by 61 Irish academics in a letter sent to The Irish Times on September 16. Signatories to the petition, meanwhile, defended their actions.
While complaining that"The Israeli government appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders and to longstanding United Nations resolutions," the petition called for"a moratorium on any further [cultural and academic] support to Israeli academic institutions, at both national and European levels."
The petition cited what it called Israel's"policy of violent repression against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, and its aggression against the people of Lebanon," and urged that the"moratorium should continue until Israel abides by UN resolutions and ends the occupation of Palestinian territories."
"It is obvious that there is no universal norm [in the call for boycott], only discrimination," said Dr. Alexander Yakobson in response to the petition. Yakobson, a lecturer in history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, recently authored a book with renowned legal scholar Amnon Rubinstein titled Israel and the Family of Nations: The Jewish Nation-State and Human Rights that confronts anti-Israel activism and discourse.
"The petitioners don't call for a boycott of academic institutions in every country with whose policies they disagree," Yakobson explained."They don't demand a boycott of the Sudan, or of China, which has tremendous academic ties to Europe. And they don't want to boycott the United States or Britain over Iraq. There is no universal norm, they're just anti-Israel. So," he concluded,"we have to ask what it is about Israel that upsets them."
More importantly, for Yakobson,"they don't demand of any Palestinian academic even to disavow terror." This is particularly strange, he believes, since"even when Europe imposed sanctions on the Hamas government, it did not impose them on Palestinian universities. Nobody has even suggested doing this."
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