Copy of my letter sent to the AUT
I am writing to request that I officially be placed on the AUT’s boycott blacklist. I make this stand in solidarity with my Jewish, Palestinian, Druze, and Christian colleagues at Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities, as well as with the above-named institutions.
To say that I am shocked and outraged at the actions taken by the AUT in this matter is an understatement. I firmly denounce both the AUT’s resolution and the means through which it was achieved. I base my decision on the following:
1. It goes against every basic principle of academic freedom
2. It springs from a movement that promotes the destruction of a sovereign, independent country
3. It is based on statements of fact which are provably wrong, misleading, strongly contestable, or irrelevant
4. It violates the AUT’s own charter which forbids discrimination against academics and academic institutions based on race and national character, among other bases (e.g., gender)
5. It was adopted by an entirely undemocratic procedure. Indeed, a procedure that allowed only one side to present its statement of (incorrect) facts and no rebuttal allowed, nor was the floor opened for discussion prior to a vote being taken, is wholly antithetical to democratic procedure.
6. The motivations behind this resolution are transparently anti-Semitic
7. It singles out two of the most liberal, democratic, and academically free universities in the Middle East. Why these two and not the myriad of universities in African and Arab countries where infringements of human rights are state sponsored and racism is routine? Even were all of the charges against these two universities to be true, there are far more egregious offenders in other countries of the world that go unsanctioned and unmentioned by the AUT. Indeed, there are universities at which the penalty for speaking out against State policy would be death –a far more severe penalty than any exacted against Ilan Pappe of Haifa University (against whom no sanctions have been brought and who is still employed, with all benefits, at Haifa University).
I firmly believe that, rather than erecting barriers and effecting a silencing of voices, the building of bridges and the promotion of the free exchange of ideas and views is in order. I find the timing of this resolution to be exceedingly odd given that currently there is greater openness, dialogue and cooperation between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority than at any time in recent memory.
I reiterate again my displeasure and disgust at the steps taken by the AUT in this matter. Forthwith please consider me to be among the ranks of the faculties at Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities.
I've posted this on my university homepage too. My hackles are up and I'm spitting mad. The more I think about it, the madder I get.