Spanish Government Boycott - European Solar DecathlonIn quotes...
Article on the Spanish Government's Boycott of Ariel College's participation in the European Solar Decathlon
Index of articles and documents on this boycott
Spanish Boycott of Israeli Students
By Dr Andre Oboler, Zionism On The Web Special Report, September 30, 2009
Giving in to a campaign run by the UK-based pro-Palestinian lobby group, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP), the Spanish government has disqualified a multi-disciplinary team from Ariel University from the European Solar Decathlon. The disqualification comes only after the team reached the final stage of the competition which was jointly set up by the Spanish Government and the US Dept. of Energy.
The ADL has written to the US Dept. of Energy to protest against their involvement in the discredited competition. The boycott gives in to political pressure from the pro-Palestinian lobby pursuing a Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign, but bring that campaign into the academic arena where it discriminates in a manner that is illegal under both US and international law. It also goes against international standards on academic freedom. These are considerations UK activists have long ignored, despite the findings of both UCU's lawyers (the academic union in the UK) and the All Party Parliamentary Committee into Antisemitism.
In this particular case the Spanish Government has placed the political agenda of British pro-Palestinian lobby group above serious academic efforts to combat global warming and climate change. The Palestinian lobby is heralding this as a success for their strategy of Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, itself an extension of a racist Arab League boycott campaign against Jews that goes back (formally) to 1945 - years before the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel. The cultural and academic facet of the boycott is part of the Durban Strategy, a formula for attacking Israel which was developed at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban South Africa which was hijacked and became a disaster for the UN.
The boycott also goes against the stated aims of the competition as "an international competition for universities from all over the world". It also directly challenges statements about the priority of EU support for Research and Development, particularly in the areas of sustainability and renewable energy. Anything that can be made into a political football under pressure from political lobbies in another country is clearly not a priority.
The disqualification also raises legal issues not only of discrimination, but also of procedural fairness. The team was only disqualified after they made it into the final stage of the competition. They had previously been both accepted and received support from the Spanish government.
Academics have deplored the Spanish government's action. The agenda of Ariel University agenda has been described as "clearly oriented toward academic excellence for peace" by Professor Pascal Rollet from the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture (Grenoble, France). The university has described the disqualification of it's student team as "an expression of the political, illegitimate war that is against international law and international charters on academic freedom".
The Ariel team had been announced as a finalist for their environmentally friendly "Stretch house". Israel is a leader in environmental technology and the move by Spain stifles innovation and academic discourse in an area vital to combating global warming and climate change.
Sources and Press Releases
Abe Selig, Spain bans Ariel U. from int'l contest, Jerusalem Post, Sep 22, 2009
Yaheli Moran Zelikovich, Spain boycotts Ariel college for being on 'occupied territory', YNet News, Sep 22, 2009
Giles Tremlett, Spain expels Israeli scientists from solar energy competition, The Guardian, 24 September 2009
ADL asks Spain to reverse competition decision, JTA, September 27, 2009
ADL slams Spain for banning West Bank scientists from contest, Haaretz, 29 September 2009
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