BaShaar – position paper: The Academic Boycott on Israel, 9.7.24

Position Paper | The Academic Boycott on Israel | 9.7.24

BaShaar – Academic Community for Israeli Society"* views with great concern the expanding trends in academia worldwide to boycott Israeli academia. The calls for a boycott are a central part of the wave of riots and demonstrations that are sweeping campuses.

In some cases, these calls reveal blind antisemitism, anti-Israelism and often even blind support of the Hamas terror organization, its atrocities and its charter which calls for the destruction of Israel. These trends should be fought vehemently. "BaShaar" condemns supporters of the murderous terrorist organization Hamas, the rising manifestations of anti-Semitism against Jews just because they are Jews, the anti-Israelism that denies any right of the State of Israel to exist, and the incitement and boycott movement.

There are, however, liberal colleagues who are not blindly anti-Semitic or anti-Israel. These scholars support the calls for boycott out of critical response to Israel's policies and activities in Gaza and the genuine concern for the tens of thousands of Gazan casualties, many of them non-involved civilians, men, women and children in this terrible war and the demand to guarantee the needed humanitarian help. "BaShaar" argues that even in these cases, the call for boycott is unjustified.

"BaShaar" has demanded in the past, and continues to demand, that the Israeli government should refrain, as much as possible, even during war, from committing acts that harm (even unintentionally) the civilian population, and act in accordance with the laws of war. Humanitarian aid, shelter, food, and medical care must be ensured for the civilian population. Additionally, the Israeli government must formulate a strategic plan for the release of the remaining 120 hostages, as a first priority, to ensure the safety of Israelis in general, and the displaced communities, in particular. It must find ways to significantly weaken Hamas and to look for ways for a future Palestinian management of the Gaza Strip that will benefit its people. A responsible handling of these issues by the Israeli government is necessary for ending the war and building a better peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Regardless of one’s views concerning the policies of the Israeli government, they do not justify an academic boycott. Science and humanities should serve as bridges between people and nations. Academic values and ethos including freedom of thought and expression, tolerance, equality and progress are now under attack in many countries, including Israel. Israeli universities are committed to these values, as declared by academic faculty, academic organizations and university managements. An academic boycott joins such attacks and undermines these cherished values.

We, therefore, call upon our colleagues worldwide: while one may certainly express their criticism and strong concern about Israeli policies and actions, it should not follow the road of boycott.

We call on academia and research institutions worldwide to fight against and oppose any manifestation of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Israel views. We urge members of the international academic community to ensure that the academic space is a safe space for all and to denounce and eradicate any activity that endangers personal and institutional security.

PDF Version: BaShaar position on the Academic Boycott on Israel 9.7.24

Link to the Hebrew version

Invitation to sign the Oct-7 Task Group petition: Upholding Academic Freedom: A Call to End Boycotts Against Israeli Academics

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