Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Stop the Snowball Effect of Academic Boycotts

Translated from Hebrew in Walla:

Attempts to impose an academic boycott on Israel are an affront to the most important national resource, to its human capital. This resource is under attack by an international anti-Israel elements. An academic boycott means, harming the strategic advantage of the state of Israel and a real danger to its future and strength.

An emergency meeting was held last week at the President's office on imposition of academic boycotts. The convergence of all the heads of the higher education institutions indicates the importance and seriousness of the matter. The President of Israel called it a first-rate strategic threat and is willing to be mobilized  "as a soldier in the fight," he said, to eradicate the phenomenon.

We are at a time when it is still possible to take action to prevent serious damage to research, industry economics and the future strength of the State of Israel. This is an issue of national importance. We are currently facing a significant danger ahead of us. It's a snowball effect at its beginning and we believe that if we do not act now it could pose a threat to research in Israel.

In recent years, we witness attempts, on the part of the world's anti-Israel elements, calling for academic boycotts to be imposed on academic institutions in Israel and on Israeli and Jewish scholars working in academic institutions around the world. The public calls in the world for an academic boycott, are an extreme manifestation of severe symptoms, based on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel, and mostly occurs behind closed doors. Behind the scenes of the academic world. The warning signs that are occasionally exposed are a tip of the iceberg of discovery of boycotts, most of which are undeclared.

...Academic research and the scientific development in the world use and depend on the exchange of information and cooperation among international institutions, its success is dependent on it. Boycotting researchers or academic institutions is a phenomena with serious consequences that could block scientific developments that are essential to the advancement of research. But the problem does not stop here, the research that faces attack today is the basis for high-tech companies and Israeli medicine, it is the basis for technological developments of scientific industry and exports, is driving the Israeli economy forward and put us at the forefront of international development.

Equally serious threat comes from student organizations on campuses in Europe and the United States. A number of anti-Israel resolutions that were promoted by student organizations at leading universities in the US, are evidence of distress of Israel-supporters students are facing, that population forms the next generation of political leadership in the US in the coming years. We urge the Israeli government to acknowledge the problem and harness the resources at its disposal to help those who are fighting this dangerous phenomenon, often in a hostile environment with considerable personal risk.

We must not stand idle while this snowball effect continues to grow. We must raise this important issue to the public agenda, recognize the issue as a matter of national importance and act together to prevent the spread of the phenomenon.
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