Reactions to a boycott


News item: “Britain’s largest faculty union has proposed a boycitt of Israeli academics and their institutions.”
There have been many emotional reactions to this from the supporters and opponents of this move, transforming the debate into one about Israel’s right to exist as a state.
When a topic as emotional as the Isralei-Palestinian issue comes up, academic objectivity and calmness melt away, and we see the ugly heads of the rage and acrimony pop us, stifling all hopes for peace and understanding.
Personally, I am not in favor of any academic group boycotting any other, because it smacks of collective punishment and contempt: an attitude that is utterly unjustified vis-a-vis scholars.
I am quite sure there are many Jewish academics who don’t support the policies of their government, and the same may be true of scholars on the opposite side also.
It is one thing to pass resolutions condemning the policies of a government, and a quite different matter to boycott fellow academics in another country.
I have all sympathies for the marginalized Palestinians, and also for a cornered Israel which is despised by millions in neighboring countries, facing constant threats of annnihilation.
I wish academics from every country in the world would join hands and strive to bring about a compassionate and realistically just solution to this complex and terrible problem that has victimized millions of innocent people over the past few decades, instead of stirring up more hatred and anger between otherwise balanced thinkers.

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