A small group of British academics in the University Academic Union have pushed through a vote that urges boycotting Israel academics and will lead to circulating material by Palestinian organizations condemning Israel as a pariah nation.
The Impudent Observer has continually taken a stand in support of the rights Palestinians as well as any citizen of Israel. It is shocking that a group of British academics will single out Israel as the only and main culprit in creating conditions of oppression. It is a bit ironic for Palestinians to circulate petitions urging boycott of Israel for being undemocratic given that these Palestinians live in nations which are completely undemocratic. How can any British academic vote for such a ban but see no reason for a ban on academics in the Sudan which is a nation that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, raped untold women, and driven millions into migrant camps?
We of The Impudent Observer oppose all bans on academics since anyone who studies world conditions is aware that in dozens of countries men and women engaged in the intellectual life of their societies live under oppressive conditions. They don’t need bans, they need assistance from outside forces. Will British academics urge a ban on relations with Iranian universities now that the Iranian government has imprisoned several academics and issued ridiculous charges against them? A ban does nothing. I was born in a segregated American society which contained universities which denied entry to people with black skins. Do British academics believe if professors in that era had issued a ban on having relations with segregated American universities it would have helped in the fight to end segregation?
The reality is that more academics in Israel are fighting against oppression than academics in any Arab society. The forces of peace and reconciliation in Israel need support, not angry bans. For those concerned about the need to assist Palestinians, it is imperative to assist Israel academics and peace activists who work every day to persuade their society to engage in meaningful dialogue with Arab counterparts in order to achieve the goal of establishing two democratic nations, one named Israel and one named Palestine.