April 5, 2013 – New York – AJC is outraged by the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) call for an academic boycott of Israel.
The TUI, calling Israel an “apartheid state,” adopted a resolution yesterday at its Annual Congress that “requests all members to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as cooperation in research programs.”
AJC Executive Director David Harris said the Irish teachers’ action “undermines the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace by singling out, unfairly and without reference to the facts, one side in the conflict for targeting and isolation.”
“Four consecutive Israeli prime ministers have called for a two-state accord with the Palestinians, only to be rebuffed time and again. It does take two to make peace,” Harris continued. “Meanwhile, we trust that the leaders of the Irish campaign, to be consistent, will seek to ensure that they do not benefit from any life-saving Israeli medical advance, technology in their computers, innovations in their cellphones, or other Israeli contributions to the world’s well-being.”
Harris called on academic leaders in the United States and elsewhere to speak out against the TUI’s shameful action. “Teachers should be dedicated to cooperating with colleagues in other countries, including Israel, and not shunning other teachers for narrow political agendas.”
Six years ago, when a British academic union considered a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, over 400 American University presidents endorsed a statement by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger blasting the idea of boycott as irreconcilable with the bedrock notion of academic freedom. The presidents asserted that if the boycotters were determined to divide the academic world into two camps –Israelis who should be marginalized, and everyone else – the boycotters should also view these American campuses as Israeli.