“Those that trample on academic freedom must know that there is a penalty to pay, as they also impugn the integrity of their institutions and their own scholarly credentials.”
Paris, 27 October 2015
“Today's Guardian (UK) newspaper ad of 343 academicians calling for a boycott of Israeli Universities and other educational institutions is yet another test of earlier failures,” argued the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels.
Samuels noted that, “in 2007, the British Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) sought legal advice regarding a similar call... Their own lawyers stated that, it would be 'unlawful to directly, or indirectly call for or implement, a boycott by the union or its members, of any kind of Israeli Universities and other academic institutions'.”
The Centre pointed out that “UCU General-Secretary, Sally Hunt, accepted the recommendation, shifting the aim to 'where possible, play a positive role, supporting Palestinian and Israeli educators and promotion of a just peace in the Middle East'.”
Samuels suggested that “the Guardian signatories consider the possible repercussions:
- that those who are union members implicate those Unions, thereby exposing them to litigation and possibly onerous fines
- recommendations to donors to withhold support from their universities or departments
- counter-boycott by those who resent mayhem on the campus: of BDS academics seeking United States faculty positions, grants, conference invitations, publication in learned journals.”
“Bottom-line, those that trample on academic freedom must know that there is a penalty to pay, while they also impugn the integrity of their own institutions and their own scholarly credentials,” concluded the Centre.