5 April 2005


The Association of University Teachers, of which I am a member, is contemplating an academic boycott of Israel (see story here). I am strongly opposed to it, not because I approve of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – I don't – but because:
Israeli universities are not reponsible for the actions of the Israeli government or the Israeli army any more than British universities are responsible for the actions of the British government or the British army.

I believe it important not only to maintain but to strengthen academic links between British universities and both Israeli and Palestinian universities because I think such links can play a small but significant part in encouraging dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

A boycott – whatever the intentions of its supporters – would have no effect except to give succour to anti-Semites.

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