Israelis react with fury to British boycott call
Wednesday 04 March 2009
Israeli scientists and officials reacted angrily yesterday to calls by more than 400 British academics for the Science Museum to cancel educational workshops planned to promote Israeli science tomorrow.
The cancellation call and claims that Israeli universities are "complicit" in the occupation of Palestinian territories and this year's "disastrous" offensive in Gaza, reported in The Independent yesterday, were condemned as "absurd" by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Its spokesman, Yigal Palmor, said: "These calls cannot but be motivated by extreme blindness and silly ideology. This of course does not promote the good causes which the boycotters are presumed to promote – not peace, understanding, nor compromise."
The British academics, among them 40 professors, include many of those behind the eventually unsuccessful campaign to impose a full-scale boycott of Israeli academics. The "educational seminars" – in Manchester yesterday and at the Science Museum in London tomorrow – are being run by the UK Zionist Federation.
Yivsam Azgad, a spokesman for Israel's Weizmann Institute, said: "We don't believe that science and politics should be combined. Period." Dan Zaslavsky, professor of hydrology at the Technion-Israel Institute in Haifa and one of Israel's leading energy experts, said: "It's ugly and it is 100 per cent certain that this will hurt British science in the long run if the largest group don't stand up and reject this repulsive stance." Professor Zaslavsky said academics who thought good would come out of boycotts and protests of this kind were "distorted in their minds".
Professor Amnon Yogev, a former professor of laser chemistry at the Weizmann Institute, said that "freedom of speech is one of the basic principles of democracy". He said that singling out Israel on human rights issues when so much of the Arab world, Iran and Afghanistan had "no human rights" was "an illness". He added: "If you look back at history you will see that when they want to stop people communicating their ideas, it starts with the Jews, then goes on to other minorities and then you can't stop it."
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial first week: Never mind a media scrum – murder case becomes bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Malaysia Airlines plane: Oil slick is first sign that missing flight crashed into sea killing up to 239 on board
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...