Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Academic Boycott Drama

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Academic Boycott Drama

Article excerpt

BOYCOTTS, DIVESTMENTS and sanctions (BDS) are nonviolent methods of protest. Nevertheless, the recent proposal adopted by the UK's University and Colleges Union congress simply to discuss whether it should boycott Israeli academic institutions caused an international furor. Expensive ads denouncing a boycott appeared in European and American newspapers, including a letter published Aug. 5, written by Elie Wiesel and signed by 56 fellow (mostly Jewish) Nobel Prize laureates. (American Educational Trust boardmembers sent a letter and a Remember These Children book to each of the signatories.)

Supporters of an academic boycott say they cannot ignore what Israel is doing in the occupied Palestinian territories, or the systematic denial of educational opportunities and academic freedom to Palestinian students and scholars. Those opposed to the boycott say they'd prefer to continue their support of Israeli academics-many of whom, they say, are not responsible for the repression of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Washington Report readers who received our July 25 e-mail action alert entitled "Academic Boycott-Yes or No? …

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