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Spanish Government Boycott - European Solar Decathlon

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Spanish Government Boycott - European Solar Decathlon

In 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



In quotes...

"The SOLAR DECATHLON EUROPE... will be an international competition for universities from all over the world; the aim is to advance knowledge on industrialized and sustainable homes, with a particular emphasis on high efficiency and energy self-sufficiency." - Competition website Source.

"The decision has been taken by the Government of Spain based upon the fact that the University is located in the West Bank. The Government of Spain is obliged to respect the international agreements under the framework of the European Union and the United Nations regarding this geographical area." - Sergio Vega, General Director of Solar Decathlon Europe in an address to participants (16 September, 2009)

"[The] decision by the Spanish government to disqualify the Israeli researchers is unwarranted, biased and clearly discriminatory... This unacceptable action introduces politics into an important scientific competition where politics has no place." Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. Source.

The decision "contravenes international law and international charters on academic freedom" - Ariel University Source.

"Among the major European countries, only in Spain have we seen viciously anti-Semitic cartoons in the mainstream media, and street protests where Israel is accused of genocide and Jews are vilified and compared to Nazis." - Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. Source.




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.


Empty promises...

"The SOLAR DECATHLON EUROPE... will be an international competition for universities from all over the world; the aim is to advance knowledge on industrialized and sustainable homes, with a particular emphasis on high efficiency and energy self-sufficiency." - Competition website Source.

"the Department of Energy looks forward to lending our expertise to encourage the same innovation and entrepreneurial spirit across the Atlantic and around the world." - Alexander Karsner, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (October 18, 2007), on announcing the departments Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in the development of a Solar Decathlon Europe competition in 2010. Source.

"Both the European Union and Spanish Government are committed to research and innovation into sustainable development and renewable energy... This initiative is completely aligned with some of the priority objectives of the European Union with regard to promotion and development of sustainability, renewable energy, and their active support in Research and Development on such a global strategic subject." - Beatriz Corredor Sierra, Minister of Housing, Government of Spain Source.


Sources and Press Releases

Memorandum of Understanding, U.S. and Spain to Develop Solar Decathlon Europe, October 18, 2007
Competition website, European Solar Decathol
The Ariel Team's website

News Reports

News articles:
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


Article (c) 2009,Zionism On The Web, you may reproduce it if you include a link back to the original at Zionism On The Web. Other documents and excepts reproduced for educational purposes only, please cite the initial source as provided.