During Wednesday`s meeting of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee on the academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions, Technion President Peretz Lavie, who is also serves as chairman of Association of University Heads, said ”We have no complaints against the global academic leadership; our problem is the campuses. Initially it was insignificant campuses, but it quickly spread to leading campuses in the United States.”
”Students who are exposed to this activity will be the next generation`s senators, and therein lies the great danger in the long term. In its report, the American Anthropological Association referred to us as universities of apartheid and decided to conduct a survey on whether the Israeli academia should be boycotted. We have to reach all 12,000 members of the Association. It is a symptom, and if we do not act now, it will spread. There must be one entity that will concentrate all the efforts related to this issue,” he said.
Prof. Zvi Ziegler told the committee that there is a ”concealed boycott among members of the academia. It is still beneath the surface because they think it is not legitimate. We are unable to stop anyone with our meager resources. I am very concerned about the future.”
Former MK Yigal-Cohen Orgad, chancellor of Ariel University, said ”we have a real problem with governments, including western governments that encourage boycotts.” According to him, European countries are pressuring various elements not to allocate funds toward a joint Israeli-Palestinian project aimed at improving the quality of the water in Judea and Samaria.
Ze`ev Feldman of the Israel Medical Association said, ”The sword of the boycott is being raised on the Israeli scientific-medical community,” and informed the committee that 71 British doctors have asked the World Medical Association to expel the Israeli association, claiming that Israeli physicians torture Palestinian patients.
Committee Chairman Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said, ”There is no doubt that the academic boycott phenomenon is expanding and is connected to the financial and consumer boycotts on Israel. Economic and commercial boycotts are associated with politics, but an academic boycott by educated and moderate people has a very strong effect.”
MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp) said: ”I am concerned about the fact that the BDS movement has not been stopped yet and that we are constantly seeing new developments; and the Israeli government has yet to find a path towards a solution.”
MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) argued that ”the world considers the settlements to be illegitimate. You can think differently from the entire world, it is your right, but it is also the world`s right to take measures in order to force you to establish two states. (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu`s signature on the `Horizon 2020` agreement is the strongest boycott. The Israel government has determined that settlements are not part of the State of Israel. In practice, thousands of students are prevented from going to Gaza to study at the university. As academic intuitions, you have not taken any moral measures to prevent the occupation. There are Jewish professors who believe in calling for a boycott [on Israel] because it is the best price without paying in blood.”
MK Anat Berko (Likud) referred to the academic boycott as a ”sort of jihad in a suit.” She said that even when leftist Israeli professors speak abroad their lectures are interrupted by anti-Israel activists. ”It has to do with Jews, regardless of their political viewpoint,” she said, while suggesting that Israel form a special unit that will fight the phenomenon worldwide.
MK Maklev said the boycott ”hurts the resilience of the State of Israel” and urged the government to allocate resources that are needed in order to combat the phenomenon.