Hebrew U professor calls to boycott Israel-hosted premier physics contest

A Hebrew University professor is pushing for a boycott of a prestigious international physics competition for high school students hosted by Israel.

By Eytan Meir

Professor Emmanuel Farjoun, a lecturer in Hebrew University’s Einstein Institute of Mathematics, signed an open letter calling to boycott the International Physics Olympiad set to be held in Israel in July.

The International Physics Olympiad is the premier international physics competition for high school students that includes competitors from some 80 countries.

The letter, published on the official website of the BDS movement, was signed by Prof. Farjoun and 19 other academics who dubbed Israel an “apartheid” state and urged students and the organizers of the competition to boycott the event.

“We call on all students and mentors from all over the world not to participate to (sic) the next International Physics Olympiad in Israel,” read the letter.

“We call on the boards of other International Science Olympiads to refrain from organizing their future contests in Israel, as long as it continues its military occupation and apartheid policy, in defiance of international law,” the letter concluded.

Farjoun, the only Israeli signatory on the letter, has a long history of anti-Israel activity. Already in 2006, he began promoting the BDS movement, including the boycott of Hebrew University, where he teaches.

On Farjoun’s profile on the Hebrew University website, his article “Why Boycott” is featured under his list of publications. Farjoun has also accused Israel of murdering innocent people in Gaza and called for international pressure to be placed on the Jewish state.

Hebrew University has recently made headlines for a number of anti-Israel incidents involving its professors.

This week, it was reported that Hebrew University Professor Amiram Goldblum called pro-Israel student activists “Nazi dogs” and threated to prevent them from getting accepted to advanced degrees.

Last month, 10 Hebrew University professors were among the signatories of a letter sent to the German government urging them to reject their landmark “BDS is Anti-Semitism” law. Also last month, a senior lecturer in the university’s international program was recorded bringing guest speakers who accused Israel of being a “fascist” state and “torturing” Palestinian children.

‘A moral and ethical crisis’

Tamir Jacobi, a first-year student studying international relations, commented:  “It is outrageous that professors at Hebrew University are able to promote BDS, spout anti-Israel rhetoric, and bully students with impunity. We came here to learn, not to be indoctrinated with anti-Israel propaganda.”

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu that has been the leading advocate against academic politicization, said that Hebrew University is “undergoing a moral and ethical crisis.”

Read  IDF forces not present when 6-year-old Gaza girl was killed, probe suggests

“While tremendous amounts of resources are invested in Israel and throughout the world to combat the international BDS movement, there are professors at Hebrew University undermining these efforts by promoting BDS from within Israel,” said Peleg.

“It is disgraceful that Hebrew University, which is supposed to be a beacon of academic light, has become a political incubator of anti-Zionist professors who devote their lives to attacking the State of Israel,” said Peleg.

“The University must immediately work to root out this severe phenomenon. The writing is on the wall,” he added.