This letter will appear in the next issue of The Times Higher Education Supplement.
Consider the following facts in the light of renewed calls for an academic boycott of Israel, (“Alarm at bid to revive boycott“, December 3). The winners of The Wall Street Journal’s 2004 Technology Innovation Awards have just been announced. The gold award went to Sun Microsystems of California for a wireless approach to chip design. The silver went to Given Imaging of Israel for PillCam, a tiny camera that patients swallow so that doctors can see their digestive tract. The bronze went to InSightec Image Guided Treatment of Israel for ExAblate 2000, a non-surgical method of destroying tumours. Israel is contributing to the future well-being of mankind through advanced technology. It would be irresponsible and self-defeating for Britain to cut itself off from these and other Israeli high-tech developments.
And what of the supposed “moral” issues involved? Why isn’t a boycott of the Palestinian university system being considered, when most Palestinian campuses are dominated by terrorist groups? Last Tuesday, the head of the student union of al-Quds University was assassinated by masked men in a taxi with Palestinian licence plates.
No Israeli academic dares to visit Palestinian campuses, while Israeli universities have a large component of Arab students and teachers who go about freely and undisturbed. This Israel academic boycott scheme is conducted by hate groups opposed to peace, and should be resisted by all fair-minded people interested in the true pursuit of knowledge and open interactions between peoples.
The Hebrew University