BDS-supporting professor can get Israel Prize, High Court rules

High Court judges decided on Thursday to overturn the decision of former Education Minister Yoav Galant to deny Godreich the Israel Prize.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Professor Oded Goldreich, of the Weizmann Institute of Science and who voiced support for boycotts against Israeli institutions, can receive the Israel Prize, the High Court of Justice ruled.

High Court judges decided on Thursday to overturn the decision of former Education Minister Yoav Galant to deny Godreich the Israel Prize in the field of mathematics and computer science research, and the decision was turned over for reconsideration to Minister of Education Yifat Shasha Bitton.

Goldreich signed a petition on March 23 calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in Judea and Samaria.

“Research projects should not be used to legitimize or otherwise sustain illegal Israeli settlements,” read the petition signed by Goldreich and initiated by the “No Ariel Ties” group dedicated toward boycotting Ariel University.

The petition, signed by 522 academics in Israel and abroad, called on the European Union to “ensure that its taxpayer-funded research programs are not used to legitimize or otherwise sustain the establishment and the activities of Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

A 2019 open letter signed by 240 Israeli and Jewish academics, including Goldreich, called on the German government to reject its resolution equating BDS with anti-Semitism. The letter also urged Germany to continue funding organizations, including pro-BDS NGOs, which “peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation” and “expose severe violations of international law.”

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Godreich is also quoted as saying he will “be distressed to shake the hand of the two head bastards Galant and Netanyahu, but it will be negligible to the distress of their stupid policy.”

Chairman the Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu Matan Peleg stated that the High Court “has justified the BDS’ wrongdoings and turned governance into a meaningless concept. This is a double disgrace. After all, if a consistent call for years to boycott Ariel University and a call for international pressure against Israel is not considered significant support for a boycott, what is?”

He said that Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit and the High Court judges should not have intervened at all in the discretion of two senior elected officials, two education ministers from two Knessets and different governments.

Their intervention “is a gross trampling of democracy and certainly the destruction of the separation of powers mechanisms. They are fundamentally anti-democratic. High Court judges and the Attorney General are justifying the anti-Semitic boycotts against Israel. Shame on them,” he concluded.