May 17, 2006
President John Wilkin
27 Britannia Street
London WC1X 9JP
Dear President Wilkin:
It has come to our attention that the NATFHE intends to vote on the issue of boycotting academic personnel (professors and teachers) and institutions in Israel.
We write to urge your organization not support such an academic boycott. It is clearly against the principles of Free Circulation of Science, which has been repeatedly supported by many organizations including the Royal Society in the United Kingdom. Not only would a vote in favor of boycott be against these principles, but it would also be counterproductive to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Many of the strongest critics of aspects of the present Israeli government’s policies have come from that same academic sector that would be the target.
In April 2005, the British Association of University Teachers moved to impose such a boycott, which was later withdrawn. At that time this committee, the Committee on Human Rights of Scientists of the New York Academy of Sciences, issued a statement opposing such a boycott. We attach that statement to this letter and strongly reaffirm it now.
We would urge you to circulate this letter and the attachment to your members.
Chairman, Committee on Human Rights of Scientists