As hundreds of British academics express their support for an anti-Israel boycott, Israel reacts harshly by stating that boycotts only “sow hatred and alienation.”
By: Atara Beck, World Israel News
Only a week after 150 British celebrities and artists published a letter opposing boycotts on Israel, 343 British academics from 72 institutions in the United Kingdom responded with a letter of their own supporting boycotts on the Jewish State.
“As scholars associated with British universities, we 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,” the full page ad, which appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday, stated.
The signatories declared they would boycott Israel and would not “accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions; act as referees in any of their processes; participate in conferences funded, organized or sponsored by them, or otherwise cooperate with them.”
They claimed they were boycotting the state, and not individuals, and therefore would “continue to work with our Israeli colleagues in their individual capacities.”
Among the allegations, the group claimed that the Technion University in Haifa had helped develop technologies used to destroy Palestinian homes.
The ad concluded with a call urging “our academic colleagues throughout the UK to join us in putting their names to this personal Commitment.”
Sowers of Hatred and Alienation
Israel’s embassy in London issued a harsh criticism of the letter, saying that “boycott movements only aim to sow hatred and alienation between the sides, rather than promoting coexistence.”
“The only path to advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinians passes through the negotiation room. Israel has called time and again for the renewal of talks immediately, without any preconditions. Those who call for a boycott against Israel during a month which saw 45 stabbing attacks – in which more than 100 Israelis were wounded, and 10 were murdered – blatantly ignore the lives of Israelis, and the conditions necessary for peace,” the embassy. The numbered of murdered Israelis has since climbed to 11.
Ronnie Fraser, director of the Academic Friends of Israel organization, said in a statement that the number of academics who signed the letter represent less than a quarter of 1 percent of the 194,245 academics working in the United Kingdom, which he said constituted merely a “statistically insignificant minority.”
“The British Government firmly opposes calls to boycott Israel,” British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey said in a statement. “We are deeply committed to promoting the UK’s academic and scientific ties with Israel, as part the flourishing partnership between the two countries.”
“The reality is one of rapidly strengthening trade and tech links between Britain and Israel. As David Cameron has said, the UK Government will never allow those who want to boycott Israel to shut down 60 years worth of vibrant exchange and partnership that does so much to make both our countries stronger,” he added.