SPME Petition 16

SPME Statement on Discrimination Against Israeli Academics and Institutions

[ The SPME Board of Directors respectfully asks that those who endorse this statement please indicate their full names, academic status/title (faculty, student...etc) and institutional affiliation or signature may be voided. Thank you for your cooperation]

We the undersigned members of the academic community, are no longer able to tolerate the lies being told by various academic groups to justify their proposals to boycott Israeli academics and academic institutions and to divest from Israel and/or companies doing business in Israel.

Israel has been falsely accused of deliberately targeting civilians, schools, hospitals, and administrative buildings. The reality is that Israel has always made heroic efforts to avoid harming civilians. In the recent Cast Lead campaign, Israel did target the Islamic University, which Fatah and the New York Times had previously identified as a Hamas bomb factory. However, Israel avoided targeting other schools and universities, even when Hamas fighters used them as hideouts and launching pads. Hamas fighters have repeatedly targeted Israeli civilians, schools, and children, and in the past 8 years have murdered more than 1000. In the past few years, Hamas had targeted Sapir College in Sderot and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, and had deliberately timed Qassam and Katyusha rocket attacks to occur at times of day when Israeli children would be on their way to and from school. Despite the use of the Islamic University for both rocket and mortar attacks as well as for the manufacture of weapons, we are not calling for a boycott of Palestinian academics.

Israel has no interest in undermining education or health care in Gaza. On the contrary, a healthy and well educated population in a prospering Palestinian state is Israel's best hope for peace in the years to come. The people of Gaza know perfectly well that Israel is not trying to massacre them. Whenever possible, they come to Israel for health care and education because they have confidence in Israeli facilities and in the people who work there. And Israeli institutions serve them both out of simple humanity and in order to build bridges to peace.

Most important, singling out Israeli academics and institutions for boycott is discriminatory. No other nation's academics or institutions are being subjected to such action, whether or not their governments are in a state of war. Excusing Israeli academics from the boycott only if they denounce the policies of their government does not mitigate the offense but combines it with an assault on freedom of speech. We urge rejection of all such discriminatory and oppressive initiatives.

Adopted by the SPME Board of Directors, January 28, 2009

For Further information contact:

Peter Haas, SPME VP for External Relations at [email protected] or
Judith Jacobson, SPME VP for Internal Relations at
[email protected] or
Edward S. Beck, SPME President Emeritus at
[email protected] ( phone: 717.576.5038)

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