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AAAS Declares Opposition to Boycott

By The American Association for the Advancement of Science, 6 June 2007
Source: AAAS Declares Its Opposition to the UK University and College Union Motion Urging Support for "an International Boycott of all Israeli Academic Institutions"

AAAS Declares Its Opposition to the UK University and College Union Motion Urging Support for "an International Boycott of all Israeli Academic Institutions"

Throughout its nearly 160-year history, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has stressed the importance of safeguarding free and open communication among scientists. The fundamental value of the international exchange of scholars and freedom of expression is embodied in international human rights treaties and conventions as well as in declarations adopted by scientific and other professional organizations throughout the world. In an era when science is an increasingly global enterprise despite rising international tensions, the lessons of history should be heeded, namely that free and open communication and exchanges among scientists can bring important economic and diplomatic benefits to their fellow citizens.

On two previous occasions, the AAAS Board of Directors declared its opposition to proposals under consideration by British higher education associations that called on their members to boycott academic contacts and exchanges with universities in Israel. The 2005 proposal was adopted and subsequently repealed, and the 2006 proposal was never approved.

This year, a new association, the University and College Union (UCU), which represents 120,000 college teachers, is considering another motion that would result in a boycott "of all Israeli academic institutions." The motion, which was approved by delegates to the UCU’s annual meeting, was a response to a call from Palestinian trade unions to engage in a boycott of Israeli academics. We urge the membership of UCU, which will be discussing the motion over the next twelve months, to reject it. We join with others in condemning the motion as antithetical to the positive role of free scientific inquiry in improving the lives of all citizens of the world, and in promoting cooperation among nations, despite political differences. In the context of the highly charged atmosphere of the Middle East, it is crucial to keep channels of communication open in order to foster a dialogue that is inclusive of all affected people. There is no doubt that the motion is politically motivated by a vocal minority within the UCU with a particular political agenda. That is unfortunate. Free scientific inquiry and associated international collaborations should not be compromised in order to advance a political agenda unrelated to scientific and scholarly matters.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the international journal, Science. AAAS was founded in 1848. It has nearly 130,000 individual members and 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals worldwide.


Reproduced at Zionism On The Web for educational purposes only, please site the initial source as listed above


Related items:

Press Releases

2008
AFI Digest of March 28th

2007
National Postgraduate Committee (NPC)
National Union of Students (NUS)
Jewish Agency (JAFI)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Statement from The Russell Group on UCU motion on Israeli boycott
Statement from the LSE on UCU's motion in support of an Israel boycott
Columbia University response to boycotts of Israeli universites
Board of Deputies Response to UCU academic Boycotts
American Jewish Congress response to UCU boycott
American Physiological Society Response to the British academic boycott of Israel (includes feedback on this)
National Postgraduate Committee and the Academic Boycotts (14/8/07)
University and College Union (UCU) Press Release, Boycott illegal, 28th Sept 2007
Academic Friends of Israel Press Release, 29 September 2007

News Reports

2008
Union committee to reconsider Israeli academics boycott, The Education Guardian, March 27, 2008
UK group proposes boycott of Israeli academia, Jerusalem Post, March 30, 2008

2007
A slippery slope to totalitarianism, Education Guardian, May 24, 2007
Physicist who refused to lecture in U.K.: I'm not calling for boycott, Haaretz, May 25, 2007
Livni [Israeli FM] meets with British ambassador over U.K. boycotts, Haaretz, May 29, 2007
Memo From London: Should British Academics, or Rock Bands, Boycott Israel? New York Times, May 30, 2007
Lecturers back boycott of Israel, Education Guardian, May 30, 2007
Academics express outrage at Israeli boycott, Education Guardian, May 31, 2007
Divide and Rule, Education Guardian, June 5, 2007
Boycott should outrage academics, Inside Higher Ed, June 5 2007
Ignored by the Brits, Ynet, June 6, 2006
Boycott will destroy British academia, The Guardian, Saturday June 9, 2007
We Will Isolate Them, The Guardian, June 9, 2007 + ZOTW Commentry June 10, 2007
Government to form joint task force to counter U.K. boycotts, Haaretz, June 8, 2007
UK proposes joint academic seminar, Ynet News, June 10, 2007
US Unions condemn boycotts, The Jewish Chronicle, August 17 2007
Boycott a blessing in disguise, YNet News, Opinion, June 1 2007
FM praises British academics for nixing planned boycott of Israel, Haaretz, 30/09/2007
British academics forgo boycott call, Haaretz, 29/09/2007
Lecturers drop Israeli universities boycott call after legal advice, The Guardian, 29/09/2007

Responces, Blogs, Newsletters

2008
UCU Reconsidering Boycott, Little Bulldogs, March 27 2008

2007
UJS Chair's letter to UCU General Secretary
Lancaster University Students' Union Policy in repsonse
Academic Friends of Israel Digest vol 6 no 10 One week on
Academic Friends of Israel Digest vol 6 no 12
Goldhirsh Foundation Response
Responding to the Boycott by Shalom Lappin, at normblog, June 3 2007
Dark Days for the British Academy a letter by Prof Daniel Statman
A letter to UCU from Guy Handelman
SPME Petition against the boycott
Response from prominent British figures and law-makers, in Guardian Letters page, June 12, 2007

Other relevent documents and sources

The 2007 UCU motions
The 2007 document to be sent to branches
An explanation about the Durban Stratagy
Key quotes and summary of responses to the UCU policy
Why a cultural boycott of Israel would be banal, gestural and morally compromised
Relevent section of the Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism
More background on anti-Israel boycotts in general

Other sites related to the boycott

UJS's UCU Academic Boycott
www.stoptheboycott.org
BICOM on the UCU Boycotts
Academic Friends of Israel
Engage
Jewish Agency page on Addressing the Academic Boycott of Israel at UCU