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(回答先: 英国研究者グループがイスラエル人研究者のボイコットを呼びかける（Science） 投稿者 凡人 日時 2007 年 6 月 04 日 16:58:07)
'Boycotts are like burning books'
Conor Urquhart reports from Tel Aviv on the impact an academic boycott from the UK might have on Israeli universities
Friday June 1, 2007
Israeli academics believe the boycott proposed by the University and College Union would harm the people it aims to help and would damage the work their universities are doing to foster links with Palestinian universities and improve conditions for Palestinian students.
The president of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Prof Menachem Magidor, said Wednesday's vote by union members to back calls from Palestinian trade unions for a boycott was morally wrong, and wondered what effect it would have on the "active co-operation" his university fosters with Palestinian universities.
Earlier this year, the university, which opened in 1925 and whose governors included Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Martin Buber, protested the army's decision to deny a Palestinian student a permit to go the university. Sawsan Salameh was studying a for doctorate in chemistry when the army refused her request to travel a few miles from her home in Anata, east Jerusalem to the university campus.
Palestinian students can attend Palestinian universities in the West Bank, but often they have to travel for hours to cover a short distance to get past checkpoints and walls.
Hours before the UCU vote, four Israeli university presidents wrote to Amir Peretz, Israel's defence minister, asking that he remove a ban on students from Gaza studying in the West Bank.
"In recent years, the security authorities have instituted a policy which prevents residents of Gaza from traveling to the West Bank for the purpose of studies in Palestinian institutions of higher education located there", even though "essential professions such as medicine, occupational therapy [and] speech therapy may only be studied in the West Bank and are not available in Gaza," the letter stated.
"Blocking access to higher education for Palestinian students from Gaza who choose to study in the West Bank casts a dark shadow over Israel's image as a state which respects and supports the principle of academic freedom and the right to education," it concluded.
Israel has eight universities and several smaller colleges. Most Israeli academic staff have had some connection with UK institutions at some point in their careers.
Although it is a small country with a population of 7 million, Israel's universities perform well in international academic league tables.
The Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the Hebrew University of Jerusalem 29th in world, Tel Aviv University 35th and the Israel Institute of Technology joint 39th in its international league table, excluding American and European institutions.
In arts and humanities, including American and European colleges, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was ranked 43rd and Tel Aviv University 87th. In science the Israel Institute of Technology was ranked 50th and the Hebrew University 52nd.
One of Israel's most controversial colleges is the College of Judea and Samaria, which is located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Critics say that the existence of the settlement and the college on land taken during the Six Day War in 1967 is illegal under international law and perpetrates the divisions between Palestinians and Israelis.
The college has around 10,000 students, of whom over 300 are Arab. The Arab students come from either Israel or East Jerusalem but none come from the West Bank where the college is situated.
Dan Meyerstein, the president of the college, said that he felt it was important to listen to people's opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he added: "I feel that many of the people involved in this boycott have little knowledge of the system here and those that do have knowledge also have the desire to abolish the state of Israel."
"I have always felt boycotts were a bit like burning books. This happened in Europe 70 years ago and it is part of the reason I live in Israel."
He said there was a great potential for a boycott to affect Israeli academic life. "Science is an international discipline. If you do not publish you are not there. If you do not attend conferences, you are not there," he said.
However, he added: "My experience of boycotts is that they rarely amount to anything.
"The last time this issue erupted two years ago, I don't think it led to any scientist of real standing in the UK doing anything bad to an Israeli scientist. The same week they voted for a boycott two years ago, one of my colleagues was invited for a sabbatical at Cambridge University."
Prof Magidor said he did not think a boycott would have a major practical effect. "We have a very lively exchange with UK universities which benefits both sides. There are no formal connections but there is a lot of joint research and visits on both sides."
"The institutions we deal with such as Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College are not in favour of a boycott so it would make little difference."
At the University of Haifa, around 20% of the students are Arabs, mostly from the city and its surrounding villages and towns.
Aharon Ben-Ze'ev, the university's president, said that its model of co-existence was more likely to bring about political change than boycotts, which could cause the situation to deteriorate.
"This is the only place in the world where 3,000 Arabs study with 13,000 Jews. In spite of the second intifada and the second Lebanon war, studying and co-existence have continued," he said.
"We have achieved such a huge success in building a model for relations between a majority and a minority.
"This is the way to combat the problems in the Middle East, solving the day-to-day problems, co-operating, living together. This is the way to force politicians on both sides to get together."
Prof Ben-Ze'ev said that a boycott would damage the university but make no contribution to peace. "If a boycott is wholly imposed, of course it will hurt the university. It will especially hurt the young people as they have yet to establish connections around the world and prove themselves. More established people have less to prove and they have already made their connection," he said.
The union's proposal also seemed to reflect double standards, he added. "It's an immoral decision in the extreme. I expect academics to take a perspective when they make a decision especially if it has a moral side to it. I don't see this at all. If people want to bring happiness and morality all over the world then please make a list of countries and an order of priorities but this is only directed at Israel," he said.
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