On November 12 Academics for Palestine (AfP) organised a public debate asking ‘should academics boycott Israel?’ with renowned Israeli historian Prof Ilan Pappe, Palestinian academic and writer Dr Ghada Karmi, and British political scientist Prof Alan Johnson. People often ask why boycott Israeli academics who might be partners to a fruitful academic dialogue, so let me propose that the academic boycott is justified because Israeli universities collaborate with the occupation and the discrimination of Palestinian citizens and subjects, and are also pivotal to Israel’s multi-billion dollar armament industry.
Long before the 1967 occupation, Israeli universities were steeped in Zionist ideology, and helped the state to uphold Jewish existence in Palestine in what they saw as a hostile environment. More recently, declining resources led neo-liberal Israel to rely on the universities to bring in much needed revenue by developing military equipment. A 2009 report for the Alternative Information Centre shows that in order to maintain the occupation, Israel’s security forces are heavily dependent on technological means and developments that facilitate the continuation of the occupation with reduced manpower and government funding. For which they need the universities. Read more