Jewish Political Studies Review

Jewish Political Studies Review 15:3-4 (Fall 2003)

The Academic Boycott Against Israel1

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Since early 2002, a variety of attempts to boycott or discriminate against Israeli academic institutions and scholars have been undertaken in several Western countries. These include proposals such as the divestment of Israeli securities, ostracizing Israeli academics, refusal to publish or review Israeli academic papers, hampering the career of pro-Israeli scholars abroad, etc. Several of the campaigns have anti-Semitic motifs. Many actions are initiated by university lecturers.

Israeli and Jewish defensive actions in response have been uncoordinated. The boycott has been internationally condemned by many institutions and politicians, while not one major academic institution or organization has supported it. Yet it is too early to consider that the worst has passed. Three case studies show several aspects of how the boycott can be efficiently countered. Suggestions for more effective future actions are made.

The academic boycott attempts and other discriminatory actions against Israel are likely to become indicators and precursors of a long-lasting general reassessment in the Western world of issues such as free speech, academic freedom, uncontrolled campus extremism that includes incitement to violence, university autonomy, the politicization of science, and the discrepancy in norms between parts of academia and society at large.

I. Boycotts: An Overview

The second Palestinian uprising and Israel's need to react to the violence led to many anti-Israeli actions in the Western world, including boycott campaigns. The most publicized were those by academics.

The idea of ostracizing individuals, groups, organizations, or businesses for views held or actions taken goes back millennia. The term "boycott," however, was coined more recently. The practice was named after Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott, an English land agent in Ireland. When Boycott refused to reduce rent, a president of the Land League in that area, Charles Stuart Parnell, suggested that people avoid business dealings with Boycott in an effort to force his hand.

The events surrounding this protest elicited a great deal of passion along with considerable media attention. In November 1880, The London Times popularized the use of the word boycott to refer to this type of activism. By 1897, following Captain Boycott's death, the word had been integrated into the English language.2

Boycott Sub-Categories

Boycott activities can be categorized as follows:

Ongoing Versus Episodic Boycotts

An ongoing boycott is characterized by efforts that continue until the counterpart is brought to its knees. The targets may be countries such as white-ruled South Africa, white-ruled Rhodesia, and recently Mugabe-ruled Zimbabwe.

Targets may also be companies, institutions, or individuals. In 1995, Shell was forced to abandon its plans to dispose of the Brent Spar Oil platform by sinking it in the Atlantic Ocean. This happened after Greenpeace led a consumer boycott against it that was particularly successful in Germany.

Examples of episodic boycotts are those where countries have refused to participate in one of the Olympic games.

Economic Versus Non-Economic Boycotts

Typical examples of economic boycotts are those applied against buying products from a certain country such as South Africa or Rhodesia in the past, or Israel today. A significant number of Americans will also choose not to purchase French products because of France's position in the recent Iraqi war.

A distinction can be made between primary, secondary, and tertiary economic boycotts. Until the Oslo agreements, Arab states applied all types against Israel. These can be defined as follows:3

Primary Boycott: Prohibiting Arab states, companies, and individuals from any commercial, financial, or trade relations with Israel.

Secondary Boycott: Companies worldwide that invest in Israel were blacklisted and boycotted by Arab governments and companies.

Tertiary Boycott: Extending the boycott to companies doing business with boycotted firms.

Due to the Secondary Arab boycott, some foreign companies divested their Israeli holdings or decided not to invest in the country so as not to endanger their commercial ties with Arab countries. The Arab boycott has been particularly effective with respect to investments in oil-related industries.

Global oil companies have avoided Israel. Shell Oil and British Petroleum - joint owners of the Haifa oil refinery when Israel became independent - announced on 24 July 1957 that they were ceasing operations in Israel. Subsequently, Standard Oil, Socony Mobil, and Texaco all stopped their dealings in Israel because of the boycott and their heavy reliance on Arab controlled oil.4

In 1953, the Arab Central Boycott Office decided that any aircraft landing in Israel would be prohibited from operating in Arab countries. This was not effective. (Such an approach was, however, effective for ships calling on Israeli ports.)

A year later, the Saudi Arabian government announced that harsh measures would be taken against foreign aircraft passing over its territory to or from Israel. While flights to Israel have not been allowed to pass over Arab countries, other boycotts against airlines have not been applied or have been ineffective.

The Arab states have also tried establishing a tertiary boycott, though its efficiency is doubtful. Beginning in the 1960s, the Central Boycott Office expanded its target base and threatened to blacklist not only firms which invested in Israel, but the suppliers and customers of those companies as well. Several authors consider the boycott attacks to have had some success and that Israel consequently lost some business partners.5

An example of a non-economic boycott is banning the participation of sportsmen from a certain country in international competitions. Such boycotts have been applied against countries such as South Africa and Taiwan. Israel has been excluded from various Asian competitions.

Government Versus Non-Government Boycotts

Several governments have applied boycotts against other governments. These can be divided into two general categories: unilateral and multilateral. Unilateral boycotts - like those initiated by the United States against Cuba in its early days and the British one against Rhodesia - are imposed by only one nation.

The international legal basis for boycott and economic sanctions can be found in Article 16 of the League Covenant of the League of Nations. The Covenant stresses the right of a League member in certain circumstances to cease all economic relations with a country deemed to be in some way "aggressive."

Most boycott studies have focused on economic rather than social consequences. They are thus usually defined as "economic sanctions," with "sanctions" being defined as "penalties inflicted upon one or more states by one or more others, generally to coerce the target nation(s) to comply with certain norms that the boycott initiators deem proper or necessary."6 The most prominent case of a government boycott action was taken by the United States against the South African apartheid government. A U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report detailed a list of steps to be taken against the South African government and economy including:

  • Discouraging business expansion in South Africa.
  • Refusing to protect any business that stays in South Africa against problems with the liberation movement.
  • Requiring that U.S. firms in South Africa establish fair employment practices.
  • Forbidding aircrafts from South Africa to land in the United States.
  • Prohibiting the sale of South African goods.

The British government declared an official governmental boycott against Rhodesia on 16 November 1965. It included the cessation of all British aid to Rhodesia, the removal of Rhodesia from the sterling area and Commonwealth preference system, and a complete ban on purchasing tobacco and sugar from Rhodesia. When these measures - accompanied by diplomacy - failed to resolve the crisis, the United Nations, on 16 December 1966, acted upon articles 39 and 41 of the UN Charter, giving it the right to impose mandatory economic sanctions against a member state.7

Non-government boycott attempts include those of organizations or bodies to induce academic institutions to sever relations with Israeli universities. Similarly, retailers may refuse to purchase Israeli goods.

Declared Versus Concealed Boycotts

A differentiation can also be made between declared and concealed - or hidden - boycotts. A concealed boycott might be considered a de facto boycott not declared by its perpetrators. At the time of the Arab boycott, few foreign companies stated that they were not investing in Israel because they considered their connections with Arab countries more valuable. When approached by Israeli companies, they would not say so directly but stated, for instance, that the proposed projects did not fit their strategy.

Nowadays, people may refuse to attend a conference in Israel or not conduct business with an Israeli supplier without truthfully revealing why. The distinction between these two categories is rarely made, yet it is an important one since concealed boycotts are among those most difficult to combat.

Boycotts Versus Counter-Boycotts

When boycotts are initiated they sometimes elicit calls for counter-boycotts. This is an element often mentioned in the discussion about what to do to mitigate the boycott, but it requires much more analysis than is usually undertaken by those proclaiming it.

Previous Boycotts Against the Jews

Jews have been at the receiving end of boycotts and similar actions throughout much of Jewish history. From Roman times until today, numerous actions of this type have negatively affected Jewish economic and social activity.8

Such discriminatory actions were very often effective in subverting the Jewish population, forcing it into fighting for its livelihood. In the Middle Ages, Jews in many areas throughout Europe were excluded from guilds and certain professions such as ironmongers, shoemakers, tailors, barbers, butchers, or rag dealers. Jews also became the victims of discriminatory taxes and prohibitions on land ownership, and later they were often forced into ghettos, which prevented them from commercial involvement with the outside world.

For a long time Jews in the Western world could not become citizens. There were often limits placed on the number of Jews allowed to enter universities or admitted into certain professions, even after they received that right in the nineteenth century.9 Jews encountered numerous boycotts during the twentieth century that took many forms. In pre-war Poland, a not very effective campaign asked Christians to buy only from Christian merchants.

The most notable example of an anti-Jewish boycott was that instituted by the Nazis in 1933. On 1 April, Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels announced that Germans should avoid commerce with any Jewish-owned businesses for one day to try and counteract an American Jewish initiative to oppose Nazi anti-Jewish practices. He warned that "the boycott will be resumed...until German Jewry has been annihilated" if worldwide attacks on the Nazi authorities continued after that day.10 On the allocated day, German police and SS troops stood guard over Jewish businesses, attacking many of them. While the actual boycott only lasted for that one day, it was the starting point for a campaign against Jews that swept across the country in the months and years to come. A week later, all Jewish employees were fired from jobs in the German civil service.11

The Arab Boycott of Israel

The Arab countries adopted the concept of the anti-Israel boycott even before the creation of the Jewish State. In December 1945, the newly formed League of Arab States initiated what they hoped would become an economic tool to destroy Zionist ambitions. The boycott was aimed at goods and services being offered by Jews living in Palestine. The movement's call to avoid purchasing such goods came as a formal resolution which stated that "Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries" and encouraged all Arabs "to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods."12

While this represented the organization of the boycott movement vis-à-vis the growth of Zionism, it was not the first time Arab organizations had called for such action. As early as 1922, a boycott of Jewish businesses was proposed at the meeting of the Fifth Arab Congress in Nablus. Similar calls were made by the First Palestine Arab Women's Congress in October 1929. More anti-Zionist boycotts were instituted throughout the 1930s.

At the Pan-Arab Conference of September 1937 in Bludan, Syria, participants approved a resolution stating that a boycott of the Jews was "a patriotic duty."13 The boycott was put on hold for the most part until after World War II.

Upon the establishment of the State of Israel, the Arab boycott was expanded to deal with the broader goal of undermining Israel's economic strength in any way possible. To that end, in 1949, the Central Boycott Office was established by the Arab League in Damascus, whose sole job was to coordinate Arab boycott activity. Since then, the Arab boycott has focused not only on targeting Israel but on governments, companies, organizations, and individuals with ties to Israel.14

Western countries have applied various weapons embargos against Israel for a long time. One of the best-remembered ones was that by France after the Six-Day War. It led to Israel secretly taking five ships out of Cherbourg harbor in 1969 after the French decided not to supply them to the Israeli navy.

Jewish Counter-Boycotts

At times the Jews have also applied boycotts against others, but the difference was that they were always a last resort effort. They included:

  • Pre-war boycotts against Germany: For example: when the Nazis came to power in January 1933 in Germany, Jewish leaders in Poland proclaimed a boycott of German goods. A special periodical was published focusing on anti-Nazi protests and the boycott. According to one source "Jewish merchants in Poland, especially those engaged in foreign trade, suffered serious losses (losing business to non-Jewish competitors) probably exceeding the losses suffered by Germany."15
  • The boycott against Kurt Waldheim when he became Austria's President.
  • The threats of boycott in 1996 by the controllers of American government agencies against Swiss banks.16 Though extremely effective, one must remember that these threats were expressed only after the Swiss banks had stalled Jewish efforts for greater clarity about dormant accounts for over fifty years.

Current Boycotts Against Israel

The current boycotts against Israel can be categorized as follows:

  • Embargos on weapons and strategic materials.
  • Various boycott attempts against Israeli academic institutions and scholars (discussed in Section III of this essay).
  • Commercial and investment boycotts such as:
  • Not buying Israeli products.
  • Not investing in Israel.
  • Boycotting or disturbing performances of Israeli artists.
  • Sports boycotts.
  • Other acts of aggression that are non-violent only in the classic sense of the word, such as blocking Israeli internet sites.

II. A Broader Anti-Israeli Framework

The analysis of the anti-Israel boycott and non-violent warfare against the Jewish people and Israel must be seen within the much larger framework of the inter-relationships between the Arab world, the West, the Jews, and Israel.

The Battle of Narratives

In recent decades, a battle of narratives has emerged. It was well-defined by former Israeli ambassador to the European Community, Harry Kney-Tal, who expressed his concern about a new generation of Western European leaders who were raised on the Palestinian-Arab narrative:

That narrative, which is reinforced by Israeli or former Israeli researchers, has nearly totally taken over the academic, political and media discussion of the issues....It is appropriate to the popular worldview in Europe nowadays, which is pacifist and post-modernist, full of guilt toward the former colonies and full of sympathy for oppressed nations demanding self-determination. It also serves electoral interests as well as the traditional interests of Realpolitik, which makes up a large part of E.U. policy.17

As long as Israel and its allies fail to grapple with the broader issue, the consequences of the anti-Israel boycott attempts can be mitigated at best. The classic defensive approaches - rather than pro-active ones - may be both time-consuming and only partly effective.

Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Its Recycling of Motifs

Another aspect through which boycott attempts have to be analyzed is anti-Semitism, which has been largely latent or subdued since the Holocaust and which now manifests itself openly in various segments of Western society - including intellectual elites.18 Many experts agree that anti-Semites today are much less inhibited or ashamed to expose their anti-Semitism than in past decades. This finds inter alia its expression in hate mail Jews receive from senders who give their names and addresses - phenomenon much less frequent in the past.

The anti-Semitic critique expresses itself largely, but not solely, in attacks on Israel. Some critics - of the left in particular - state explicitly that they are anti-Zionists and not anti-Semites. The analysis of their approaches and actions, however, often testifies to the contrary; for all practical purposes they are anti-Semites.19

Occasionally, their semantics elucidate this. One British daily noted a statement made by anti-Israel boycott campaign supporters: "that groups plan to picket Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Co-Op because they sell Jewish-made produce."20

It is increasingly clear to many observers that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism share the same major hate motifs. Martin Luther King mentioned this decades ago. Lawrence Summers, the Jewish president of Harvard University, referred to this similarity in his much-publicized "Address at Morning Prayers."21

France's Education Minister, Luc Ferry, said the same when he presented a number of measures against racism and anti-Semitism in French schools. The French left-wing daily Liberation, commented:

Not everybody enjoyed the ministerial declarations. The main trade union of high school teachers, the SNES-FSU, has hardly appreciated a statement by Luc Ferry where he affirmed "part of the left-wing teachers who are anti-Israel tolerate more and more anti-Semitic statements under the pretext that these statements are not made by the extreme right."22

Another important indirect support for the thesis that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism was given by the state court in Dusseldorf. Jamal Karsli, a member of the state parliament in Nordrhein-Westfalen, brought a complaint against the chairman of the Central Council of the German Jewish community, Paul Spiegel, and his then deputy, Michel Friedman, who had accused him of anti-Semitism. (Karsli had said that a Zionist lobby had influenced the majority of the media in the world, to which Friedman had declared in reaction: "He criticized the Jewish Zionist lobby and its worldwide influence and that brings us into the middle of the Third Reich.")

The court decided against Karsli because the German constitution recognizes the right of free opinion and because the remarks of Spiegel and Friedman are not really defamation because "they are not indefensible or pulled out of the air.23 Karsli had left the Green Party to become a member of the Liberal FDP, but he could only stay there for a short time. Leading politicians of the party - such as Honorary President Otto Graf Lambsdorff - condemned as anti-Semitic Karsli's remarks that the Israeli army behaved toward the Palestinians like Nazis did to the Jews.

The Demonization of the Jews

In its crudest verbal form, Jews are demonized by being attributed with characteristics of their bitterest enemies. It is now well understood that comparing actions of Nazism to those of Israel is not an isolated phenomenon. This motif has been around for decades and does not only originate from Arab sources.

Shortly before his death in 1982, Gershom Scholem, one of Israel's better-known academics, gave an interview to the German radio station Suddeutscher Rundfunk. The reporter asked him whether "the accusation of racism is meant to give Jews a guilty conscience." He replied:

It is meant to give others a clear conscience. They equate Zionism with Nazism. I am a Zionist, therefore I am a Nazi - I've heard that before....Many people in Germany who love Mr. Arafat have told it to me straight to my face. How do I react? I simply leave the room immediately. Anyone who knows what Zionism is cannot compare it to Nazism. 24

The radio station apparently did not consider these remarks convenient and thus decided not to air them. One of the strongest proponents of the current attempts at academic discrimination in Europe is Mona Baker of the Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). In a press interview, Baker used extremely anti-Semitic language:

Many people in Europe have signed a boycott against Israel. Israel has gone beyond just war crimes. It is horrific what is going on there. Many of us would like to talk about it as some kind of Holocaust which the world will eventually wake up to, much too late, of course, as they did with the last one.25
Another UMIST academic, Michael Sinnott, professor of Paper Science, claimed in an email that there was a worldwide Zionist conspiracy:

[Israel's] atrocities surpass those of Milosevic's Yugoslavia. Uniformed Israeli troops murder and mutilate Palestinian children, destroy homes and orchards, steal land and water, and do their best to root out Palestinian culture and the Palestinians themselves....With the recent crop of atrocities the Zionist state is now fully living down to Zionism's historical and cultural origins as the mirror image of Nazism.26
Sinnott apologized after The Daily Telegraph passed the email to the university authorities. He said, "I deeply regret sending it and regret any offense it has caused." This is a frequently occurring type of apology. The defamer does not retract his views, but for reasons of opportunism, apologizes that he made them public.

There are many other examples of extreme defamation: The Guardian wrote: "A young British lecturer working at the University of Tel Aviv decided he would like to take a post back home, in the United Kingdom. However, the head of the first university department to which he applied told him charmingly, No, we don't accept any applicants from a Nazi state."27

In September 2002, Ted Honderich, a Canadian-born philosophy professor at University College, London, delivered a lecture at the University of Toronto. He said the Palestinians have a moral right to blow up Jews. He even encouraged them to do so, saying, "To claim a moral right on behalf of the Palestinians to their terrorism is to say that they are right to engage in it, that it is permissible if not obligatory."28

At the end of last year, the English department of Harvard University invited Tom Paulin, an academic from Hertford College in Oxford, to give a lecture at the university under the pretense of guaranteeing free speech. In an interview with the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, Paulin had called the settlers "Nazis and racists" for whom he felt "nothing but hatred" and who should be "shot dead."29

Initially, the department canceled Paulin's invitation but then it overturned the cancellation. Faculty Chairman Lawrence Buell explained that this was "out of widespread concern and regret for the fact that the decision not to hold the event could easily be seen, and indeed has been seen - both within Harvard and beyond - as an unjustified breach of the principle of free speech within the academy."30 The director general of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Neville Nagler, protested in a letter to The Guardian that Paulin had compared the Jews to Nazis on three different occasions.31 Some of the above inciters occasionally express surprise at receiving hate mail.

Two Stereotypes of Jews

The narrative mentioned above is accompanied by another recent Western one in which two stereotypes of Jews come strongly to the fore.

The first one is the "humane" Jew, which is desired by some elites. This Jew reflects on the Holocaust and draws "politically correct" conclusions from it. Those who posit this stereotype consider that, whatever happens, the Jews' conclusion should be that Jews must always be humane, progressive, and peace loving. Without saying so explicitly, they convey that in conflicts, Jews are only acceptable as victims. The other stereotype is the "violent Jew," who becomes the aggressively portrayed Israeli, also depicted as a colonialist oppressor.

Few European politicians have, albeit implicitly, developed the dualistic stereotype of the Jew as systematically as French President Jacques Chirac. On the one hand, in 1995 he finally apologized for the crimes France had committed against Jews under the Vichy regime, which is something his predecessor, François Mitterrand, had always refused to do. On the other hand, he visited Israel with the clear intention of insulting the country, while he had shortly before embraced Syrian President Hafez Assad, murderer of an estimated 20,000 Syrian civilians.

The penetration of these narratives into European society's discourse has many interrelated aspects and consequences. It enables television and other media - in need of concise black and white explanations - to depict the Israeli as evil, without explicitly stating that Jews are bad. The personified paradigm of the evil Israeli is Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It also enables so-called anti-racist, Western intellectuals to declare themselves anti-Zionists while claiming that they are neither anti-Semites nor racists.

Yet another phenomenon that accompanies this is that organizations that claim to support human rights and oppose racism, ignore anti-Semitism. The Canadian B'nai B'rith reported on an unprecedented 60 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across Canada in 2002. Its chairperson, Rochelle Wilner, stressed on that occasion that Canada's multicultural and anti-racist organizations had failed to support the Jews in their battle against anti-Semitism.32

Jewish Self-Hate

This double image of the Jew thus leaves a loophole through which some Jews can escape identification with the evil "violent Jew." To do so they must explicitly denounce the acts of the Israeli government and dissociate themselves from it. They must identify with the suffering of the Palestinians and belittle their crimes. They then, as it were, say to the non-Jewish world: "We are among those examples of the Jew you should like. We are the good Jews." The most extreme among these say that for so-called "ethical" reasons they cut their ties with Israel, initiate actions against Israel, and support extremist peace claims against Israel such as taking back Palestinian refugees. A disproportionate number of initiators and supporters of the anti-Israel boycott and other anti-Israeli actions are found among them.

In the 1950s, Gordon Allport discussed various aspects of self-hate. Among these he mentioned "the subtle mechanism" where the victim agrees with the persecutors and "sees his own group through their eyes." He said that a Jew "may hate his historic religion...or he may blame some one class of Jews...or he may hate the Yiddish language. Since he cannot escape his own group, he does in a real sense hate himself - or at least the part of himself that is Jewish."33

New versions of this old motif have now emerged. Among these are Jews who hate Israel or see it through the eyes of "politically correct" members of some Western elites. They may even lead, not just join, these attacks.

Self-hating Jews have become an important tool in the anti-Israeli campaigns of Western media. On the British media, Robert Wistrich observes: "Only those Jews who smash Israel appear in the media, and Israel is routinely represented as an ethnic-cleansing rogue state - when not compared to Nazi Germany and South Africa - and at the same time is held to a higher standard than other countries."34

So far there have been many rewards with correspondingly limited penalties for some Jews who attack Israel. They have positioned themselves in society in a way that they are applauded by part of the non-Jewish environment. As Jews attacking Israel, they provide an alibi for Israel's Western enemies.

The Kreisky Precedent

Jewish self-hate has manifested itself in many ways in the post-war period. It has, however, been largely ignored by Jewish defense organizations. One major example of a Jewish initiator of anti-Israel actions was the Austrian prime minister, Bruno Kreisky. He played a crucial role in making Yasser Arafat acceptable to the Socialist International.

As one observer wrote:

Kreisky apparently never seriously examined whether in helping Arafat he was also helping to advance a new form of warfare that would eventually threaten many of the very values in which he and his fellow socialists believed. When confronted with the facts of Arafat's engagement in terrorism, he would downplay or deny it altogether, while concentrating his attention on what he saw as advancing the wronged people and on the need to bring peace to the Middle East.35
Kreisky's behavior had another effect against Jewish interests. Austria presented itself as a victim of the Nazis rather than a willing co-perpetrator of war crimes. While avoiding confronting its past, it could now claim that the best sign that post-war Austria was not anti-Semitic was its election of a Jewish prime minister.

Current Examples

The new manifestations of Jewish self-hatred have only been minimally researched. Doing so is beyond the scope of this study. Yet it is an important subject since this self-hatred plays an important role in the boycott actions against Israel. Finding ways to diminish the rewards of the publicity the anti-Israeli activists obtain should be an important strategic target in the battle against boycotts.

In Austria, Jewish political scientist John Bunzl is in the forefront of today's attacks on Israel. MIT Linguistics Professor Noam Chomsky has viciously attacked Israel from Boston for decades. Jewish author John Docker was one of the anti-Israel academic boycott initiators in Australia. Jean-Marc Levy Leblond of the University of Nice played an important role in the initial academic boycott campaign in France.

Another example of a Jewish promoter and initiator of attacks against Israel is the South African minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ronnie Kasrils - a former African National Congress guerilla (ANC). Kasrils initiated a discussion about a possible boycott against Israel in the South African cabinet.36

Israeli Aspects

Self-hate manifests itself in Israel as well. There, however, it is confined to people outside the mainstream of society. The World Jewish Congress drew attention to this phenomenon in one of its publications, stating:

Certainly, a most disturbing element in the present situation is the fact that certain extreme left-wing Israeli organizations are often operating in concert with the Arabs in such campaigns and even orchestrating them. For several years now, such organizations have been circulating a list of Israeli firms operating in the West Bank, the Gaza District and the Golan Heights, and even the boundaries of east Jerusalem, and have called on Israelis to boycott these firms. Moreover, the same people have sent their list to the offices of the European Union in order to have those firms disqualified as Israeli companies and thus receive certain benefits.37
Tanya Reinhart, an Israeli who teaches Linguistics at Tel Aviv University, has been actively promoting the academic boycott against Israel. In an open letter to another left-wing academic, Baruch Kimmerling of Hebrew University, who came out against the boycott, she wrote: "But no matter what you think of the Oslo years, what Israel is doing now exceeds the crimes of the South Africa's white regime. It has started to take the form of systematic ethnic cleansing, which South Africa never attempted."38

Though not as extreme as terrorists, Israel-boycotters are a highly negative category. Regarding policy, what Alan Dersho-witz said about terrorists is equally valid for boycotters: "The first and most important macro step is eliminating all possible incentives for terrorism by enforcing the principle that terrorists must never be permitted to benefit from it."39

Israel as a Paradigm of the West's Future

What happens to Israel is also a tool for analyzing internal tensions in Western society. Israel and the Jews have, to some extent, become paradigms for how these tensions may expand. This is not a new motif. Often the metaphor has been used that Jews are like "the canary in a mine." When the latter was not feeling well, there was something wrong with the air. Today many anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities are indicative of ills that will affect other parts of Western society at a later stage.

Josef Joffe, editor of the German weekly Die Zeit, commented on the link that certain circles in Europe and the Arab world see between hatred of America and hatred of the Jews:

Images that were in the past directed against the Jews are now aimed at the Americans: the desire to rule the world; the allegation that the Americans, like the Jews in the past, are interested only in money and have no real feeling for culture or social distress. There are also some people who connect the two and maintain that the Jewish desire to rule the world is being realized today, in the best possible way, by means of the "American conquest."40
In France one finds several such "indicators of the future." The many anti-Semitic acts committed over much of the last decade by Maghrebinian school children against Jewish pupils have two major aspects. They illustrate the frequent violence in French schools and are indicative of probable future outbursts of Maghrebinian loathing of French society.

Western self-abhorrence is another example of a motif similar to the hatred that manifested itself earlier regarding the democratic State of Israel.

A further aspect to be studied in more detail concerns the methods used by the most extreme adversaries of the Jewish people and Israel. They comprise disparate groups and individuals whose attacks are carried out in many different ways. The ultimate aim of their "drip, drip" approach is trying to tear Israel apart, limb-by-limb. It is particularly important to realize this because a series of enemies of Israel wait for new occasions after each failure of their attacks. Somewhat similar efforts are carried out by those trying to dismantle the United States or to change Western society's democratic system.

Lessons from Boycotts Against Other Countries

Some lessons from boycotts against other countries can be used as case studies to understand what Israel's enemies wish to achieve. The boycott against white-ruled South Africa is especially relevant as some organizations model their attacks against Israel on the actions against the South Africa apartheid regime.

At the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban 2001, SANGOCO (the South African NGO Committee) promoted the proposal to act against Israel in a similar fashion to what was done in the past against white-ruled South Africa. SANGOCO has a close relationship with the PLO.

The eight points proposed by SANGOCO have been summarized by Shimon T. Samuels, International Liaison Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center:41

The first point: to launch an educational program to create worldwide solidarity against Israel, the last bastion of Apartheid. This word strikes a redolent chord across Africa and is meant to unleash the arsenal of the 1970s and 1980s Anti-Apartheid Movement, including the sanctions, boycotts, and embargoes known as the Sullivan Program.

The second point: to use all legal mechanisms in countries of universal jurisprudence against Israel. This we have seen in attempts to create war crime accusation cases against Sharon in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and recently also in the United States. Eventually our enemies aim to use the International Criminal Court against Israel.

The third and fourth points of attack were to discredit the Law of Return, the foundation of Zionism and Israel, and to replace it with a Law of Return for all Palestinian refugees in order to create moral equivalence.

The fifth point: to re-institute the Arab boycott out of Damascus combined with a secondary boycott as in the 1970s and 1980s. We are already seeing the certificate of negative origin, once again, being demanded from European companies dealing with Arab countries.

The sixth point: to impose a sports, telecommunications, academic, scientific, and military embargo on Israel. Points seven and eight encapsulate their broad goals: the eventual rupture of all diplomatic relationships with Israel and the measures against any state that does not accept ostracism of Israel. All of these eight points were to be carried out in a five-year program.

III. The Academic Boycott

The United Kingdom

Two British Jewish professors, Steven and Hilary Rose, initiated the first major academic boycott campaign against Israel. They claimed that Israeli academics were the only non-European Union member scholars eligible for grants from the European Union, and that given Israel's attitude toward the Palestinians, these grants should be suspended.

On 6 April 2002, an open letter was published in The Guardian. It called for a moratorium on all cultural and research links with Israel at European or national levels until the Israeli government abides by UN resolutions and opens "serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians, along the lines proposed in many peace plans including most recently that sponsored by the Saudis and the Arab League."42

Initially, the Roses collected about 120 signatories, ninety of which were from the UK. By 11 April, the number had grown to several hundred, including ten Israeli academics, two from Hebrew University, three from Haifa University, and five from Tel Aviv University.

The Roses obtained international publicity for their attacks on Israel; something they have been unsuccessful in getting for their academic work. Neither is a well-known academic. Hilary Rose is a professor of social policy at Bradford University; Steven is a professor of biology at the Open University.

In July 2002, The Observer published a sizable article by the Roses, which starts with:

The carnage in the Middle East continues; today a suicide bomber, tomorrow an Israeli strike on Palestinians with helicopters, missiles, and tanks. The Israelis continue to invade Palestinian towns and expand illegal settlements in the occupied territories. Ariel Sharon refuses to negotiate while "violence" (i.e. Palestinian resistance) continues. Our own government sheds crocodile tears at the loss of life while inviting a prime minister accused of war crimes to lunch and providing his military with F16 spare parts.43
When mentioning the suicide bomber, the Roses carefully avoid describing the bomber as a Palestinian. They do not refer to any negative Palestinian action in the entire paragraph. This well-known technique has been exposed by Andrea Levine, for instance, citing similar cases from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.44

In their article the Roses compared Israel to South Africa: "The international academic, cultural, and sporting communities had played a major part in isolating South Africa and we have increasingly learned of individuals who thought that cooperating with Israeli institutions was like collaborating with the apartheid regime."

In December 2002, The Guardian devoted a major article to the boycott. It described the Roses as "together and separately they have been involved in left-wing political causes for decades." The Roses reported receiving substantial hate mail as well as support inter alia from people they called "pathologically anti-Jewish." They went to great lengths to dissociate themselves from being Jewish anti-Semites.45

Even The Jerusalem Post gave them a substantial write-up without any criticism, where they could make their points, such as they were expressing moral outrage. Again they compared Israel to South Africa.46

The petition brought about the globalization of the boycott. In a few days, academics from a number of countries had signed it. Condemnations from official sources were much slower. On 23 April 2002, the European Union commissioner for research, Philippe Busquin, replied to one of the academics who had signed the open letter asking for the boycott:

As recently said on several occasions by the president of the European Commission, Mr. Romano Prodi, the European Commission is not in favor of a policy of sanctions against the parties to the conflict but rather advocates a continuous dialogue with them which is the best way to bring them back to negotiations. Moreover, the Council of Ministers took the same position on April 18th.47
The committee on Human Rights of Scientists of the New York Academy of Sciences also condemned the proposed moratorium on grants and contracts with research institutions in Israel on 3 May 2002:
The statement, co-sponsored by the Committee of Concerned Scientists, Inc., states that the "proposed moratorium/boycott on funding violates the basic principles of scientific freedom and scholarship" and that science "will be undermined for the sake of some political goals."48

The Baker Case

Following the open letter in The Guardian, a second case soon emerged in the UK, which attracted more attention. Mona Baker - an Egyptian-born professor of Translation Studies at UMIST - sacked two Israeli academics from the editorial boards of the journals The Translator and Translation Study Abstract that she and her husband own and edit. The journals are published by their own press, St. Jerome Publishing.

She added that the two Israelis, Dr. Miriam Shlesinger of Bar-Ilan University and Prof. Gideon Toury of Tel Aviv University, could remain on the board if they would leave Israel, severing all ties with it.49 With regards to anti-Semitism, this motif resembles more the classic religious one - where a Jew could become a university professor if he converted - then the racial one. One ironic aspect was that Shlesinger had in the past served as chair of Amnesty International, Israel.

The dismissal of the two Israeli scholars gradually led to many protests. Stephen Howe of Oxford University, who had signed the original Rose petition, asked for his name to be removed from it and expressed the hope that others would follow suit.50 Two leading Oxford University scientists, Colin Blakemore and Richard Dawkins, also withdrew their names from the petition.51 Sidney Greenblatt, a world-renowned Shakespeare scholar at Harvard University, condemned Baker. He called Baker's attitude "repellent, dangerous, and morally bankrupt."

Greenblatt added: "Excluding scholars because of the passports that they carry or because of their skin color, religion, or political party, corrupts the integrity of intellectual work."52

Andrew Marks of Columbia University, editor of the prestigious Journal of Clinical Investigation, sent Baker an email telling her of his Iraqi deputy editor whom he would not think of dismissing because of his nationality, even if they have diametrically opposing political views.53

Geoffrey Alderman, academic dean of American InterContinental University, London, wrote in a personal capacity in The Guardian:

Those academics who have led the boycott movement have indeed opened a Pandora's box. But if they were now to make amends, by calling for a boycott of Mona Baker (the UMIST professor in question) I should certainly join them, and if I did so I would be acting only to uphold the academic values by which I live. The pursuit of these values depends crucially on personal contact and interaction. I shall continue to maintain contact with academics around the world, irrespective of the societies in which they live and work, and of the political or military environments in which they may find themselves.54
Rod Liddle in The Guardian was less polite, writing:
Mona Baker "unappointed" two Israeli academics from the journal for which she worked. She hopes that, none the less, she can still be friends with them. I hope they punch her on the nose. Her husband, Ken, whined that they had received 15,000 emails in 24 hours, many "abusive and obscene." Just 15,000 huh? Better keep them coming.55
British Education Secretary Estelle Morris criticized Prof. Baker and said: "I understand that UMIST has very clearly disassociated itself from this action; and [higher education minister] Margaret Hodge and I have made it clear that any discrimination on grounds of nationality, race, or religion is utterly unacceptable."56

As a result of the multiple criticism, UMIST was forced to hold an inquiry into the matter which found Prof. Baker innocent because her journals were not under the university's auspices. UMIST Vice Chancellor John Garside, welcomed the outcome of the inquiry. However, he added that if the journals had been under the university's jurisdiction, it would have reinstated the Israeli professors. Not surprisingly, the UMIST ruling was seen as a victory for the anti-Israel forces.57

Finally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair also came out against the boycott at UMIST. In a private meeting on 28 October 2002, he told UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks that he would do anything necessary to stop the academic boycott at that university. One of his aides said: "The Prime Minister is appalled by discrimination against academics on the grounds of their race or nationality. He believes that universities must send a clear signal that this will not be tolerated."58

In spring 2002, NAFTHE, one of the two UK university lecturers unions, passed a motion at its annual conference asking institutions to sever their links with Israel.59The other teachers union, the Association of University Teachers (AUT), also passed a motion critical of Israel. It is unclear whether these motions had more than rhetorical meaning.60


A few weeks after the open letter in The Guardian, a similar initiative began in Australia that secured ninety signatories. The initiators were John Docker, a Jewish Australian author from the Australian National University humanities research center, and Christian Lebanese anthropology lecturer Ghassan Hage of Sydney University.61

In response, a group of Australian academics wrote an open letter to The Guardian:

Whereas we hold diverse political views with respect to the past and current policies of the Israeli government, and whereas we recognize the right of concerned citizens in Israel and elsewhere to express their opinions freely, we are united in our opposition to the proposed boycott....The spectacle of a university or scientific body applying a boycott is inconsistent with the pursuit of intellectual freedom through research, debate and discussion. Such a boycott would have an effect opposite to that intended and would constitute an assault on intellectual freedom.62
The Australian Newspaper commented on the Docker-Hage initiative in an editorial:
We expect higher standards and greater objectivity from self-declared members of the intelligentsia who have put their signatures to what is little more than a piece of propaganda....Academics and intellectuals have a right to express their opinions. But such a boycott transgresses the principles of academic freedom and university autonomy.63

United States

In the United States, several campuses have become hotbeds for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism. Even before the Iraq issue came to the fore, the pro-Palestinian student groups were grabbing attention with protest tactics made famous in the 1960s (e.g., protesting with body bags and gagged mouths). The Palestinian effort has become - according to Jeffrey Ross, director of Campus and Higher Education Affairs at the ADL - the cause now being championed by all extremist left-wing groups.

Ross said, "The left has come into an alliance with the Palestinians, but to a certain degree the Palestinians have taken over the left agenda."64 ADL National Director Abraham Foxman cautioned in an opinion piece that: "Many declared progressive groups, especially those against globalization, are joining with the pro-Palestinian groups. This alliance is active, vocal and frequently given to anti-Semitic actions and rhetoric."65 Israel Charny, editor of the Encyclopedia of Genocide, called Berkeley the capital of Western world's anti-Semitism, 2002.66

Professor Laurie Zoloth at San Francisco State University - another breeding ground of anti-Semitism - wrote an email about the violent threats there. It was widely circulated on the Internet. It mentioned that a meeting was organized by Hillel, after which about fifty remained for afternoon prayers. Thereafter:

Counter demonstrators poured into the plaza, screaming at the Jews to "Get out or we will kill you" and "Hitler did not finish the job." I turned to the police and to every administrator I could find and asked them to remove the counter demonstrators from the plaza, to maintain the separation of 100 feet that we had been promised. The police told me that they had been told not to arrest anyone....The police could do nothing more than surround the Jewish students and community members who were now trapped in a corner of the plaza, grouped under the flags of Israel, while an angry, out of control mob, literally chanting for our deaths, surrounded us....There was no safe way out of the Plaza. We had to be marched back to the Hillel House under armed S.F. police guard, and we had to have a police guard remain outside Hillel.67
Simultaneously, a thrust developed to convince universities to divest their holdings in Israeli securities and in those U.S. companies that supply arms to Israel. While it has been largely unsuccessful, it has been perturbing in terms of the following it attracted. As of October 2002, petitions for divestment had been circulated at more than fifty campuses. Within the University of California system, more than 7,000 students and faculty members signed their support for the movement.68 Divestment has been defined as involving, "institutional groups removing financial support to companies in order to encourage a change in corporate behavior and/or policy."69 It has become popular among radical college students as a way of attacking Israel. Calls for divestment were similarly popular in American universities during the 1980s when their target was South Africa.

The divestment movement was the key focus of the Second National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement held at the University of Michigan in October 2002. The conference website suggested that Israel, as opposed to "other oppressive states," is worthy of being the target of such a campaign because it "dictates the lives of over three million Palestinians, taxing them, yet denying them citizenship and the right to vote." Furthermore, the conference organizers claimed Israel is currently violating "more United Nations resolutions about human rights and international law than any other state in the world."70

The divestment campaign has inspired much opposition among Jews and non-Jews alike on college campuses across the country. Judith Rodin - president of the University of Pennsylvania - stated in a letter to the Penn community that:

Because Penn defends freedom of expression as a core academic and societal value, we will not use the power of the University either to stifle political debates or to endorse hostile measures against any country or its citizens. Divestiture is an extreme measure to be adopted rarely, and only under the most unusual circumstances. Certainly, many countries involved in the current Middle East dispute have been aggressors, and calls for divestment against them have been notably absent.71
Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, wrote that he opposed the campaign that demanded Columbia University divest from all companies that produce or sell arms or other military hardware to Israel. "As President of Columbia, however, I want to state clearly that I will not lend any support to this proposal. The petition alleges human rights abuses and compares Israel to South Africa at the time of apartheid, an analogy I believe is both grotesque and offensive."72 At Yale University, the divestment issue accelerated earlier this year with pro-Israel students arguing in the Yale Daily News that the national divestment movement "has officially condoned terrorism."73 Defenders of the divestiture campaign claim that there is nothing anti-Jewish about the movement.

Abe Foxman replied that this is not the case. In an article entitled "Divestment Equals Anti-Semitism" he stated: "The focus on Israel is ludicrous and clearly the result of a double standard being applied, which raises the possibility that anti-Semitism is the real motive of divestment campaigns."74


Canada is becoming an increasingly problematic country as far as attitudes toward Israel are concerned. Concordia University in Montreal is considered one of the universities in the Western world with the most hostile attitudes toward Israel. A speech scheduled there for former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 9 September 2002 had to be canceled after protestors broke into the building, smashing furniture and windows prior to the lecture.

In a report, Concordia Rector Frederick Lowy said: "The level of violence that we saw was unprecedented on this issue in Montreal and contrary to all the advance intelligence."75

At the same university, the campus Hillel was banned by the Concordia Student Union because of claims that the union had displayed brochures for a program for foreign volunteers in the Israeli Defense Forces at one of its functions. These had been placed there by an activist and not the organizers. The university criticized the student union, stating that the vote took place on the last day of class at midnight with little notice.

The situation at Concordia was so tense that at the end of 2002 the university administration had to impose a three-month moratorium on all Middle East related events.76 Consequently, a Montreal judge issued an injunction against a lecture of a left-wing parliamentarian of the New Democratic Party, Svend Robinson, who holds strong pro-Palestinian views.77

Ariela Cotler, president of Hillel Montreal, said about Concordia University: "Their only concept of freedom of expression here is when the Society for Palestinian Human Rights is involved, with the support of the Concordia Student Union."78 A newspaper advertisement in the Toronto Globe and Mail on 17 December 2002, signed by 100 people, mentioned that Canadian Jewish students are so traumatized by campus anti-Semitism that they do not dare to support Israel or even Judaism. This advertisement led to a heated debate about whether this was true. In it, Susan Bloch-Nevitte, communications director of Toronto University, admitted that there had been incidents there which could be viewed as anti-Semitic.79


Toward the end of 2002, a number of proposals were made at French universities for various types of anti-Israel boycotts. Particular publicity was given to the Pierre and Marie Curie campus of Paris 6 University (also known as Jussieu). On 16 December 2002, the school's board adopted a petition expressing its opposition to the renewal of the association agreement between the European Union and Israel. Twenty-two members voted in favor of the motion, four against, six abstained, and one refused to participate in the vote. The vote was held toward the end of the meeting, which took place shortly before the Christmas vacation.80

The Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) heard about this only two days later. In reaction, it set itself two targets. The first was to vociferously oppose the boycott and ensure its elimination. The second was to prevent a similar boycott at Paris 7 University where the board was supposed to vote on the same issue on 7 January 2003.81

The UEJF rallied the support of the General Students Union, the Union Nationale des Etudiants de France (UNEF). An effort was made to mobilize personalities as well as teachers' unions. One supporter was Jacques-Yves Bobot, member of the municipal council of Paris and board member of Paris 7 University. 19,000 signatures against the boycott were obtained, of which 5,200 were from French and foreign university teachers.82

The UEJF organized a demonstration against the boycott motion of Paris 6 on 6 January 2003. Philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy said: "The French university is the only major institution which has not repented its mistakes under the Vichy regime. In this context the boycott [of Israeli universities] by Paris 6 seems even more shameful."83 He added that the Israeli universities are "the heart of the peace."

The attitude of Paris 6 University was condemned by French Education Minister Luc Ferry and Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe. UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura, criticized Paris 6 attempts to isolate Israel academics in a statement: "We must do everything possible to preserve the conditions for dialogue between the various scientific and academic communities throughout the world, as this dialogue is sometimes the last link between people divided by war and the first step toward reconciliation."84 After the public protests the university canceled its motion and Paris 7 thereupon ruled a similar motion out of order. It claimed that the university was not entitled to debate political or religious issues.85

After the change in attitude of Paris 6, the pro-Israel forces had the feeling that they had won a victory as the boycott had few supporters. Patrick Klugman, president of UEJF, said "With our action we have proven through the university how abject the boycott is. Today it has become politically incorrect to penalize Israeli universities. This damnable process has been condemned. That's our victory."86

The problems remained, though. Writing in Le Figaro, Klugman, mentioned:

On some university campuses like Nanterre, Villetaneuse and Jussieu, the climate has become very difficult for Jews. In the name of the Palestinian cause, they are castigated as if they were Israeli soldiers! We hear "death to the Jews" during demonstrations which are supposed to defend the Palestinian cause. Last April, our office was the target of a Molotov cocktail. As a condition for condemning this attack, the lecturers demanded that the UEJF declare a principled position against Israel!87


In Belgium, academic attacks on Israel and Jews were mainly concentrated in the French-speaking Free University of Brussels. In December 2002, several Jewish students put up pro-Israeli posters around the campus with texts such as: "Which was the first state in the Middle East which gave Arab women the right to vote?" and "Terror attacks against civilians are an abomination."

The next morning the students received an anonymous phone-call threatening that their families would be harmed if the posters were not removed. The Jewish students removed the posters, which they later regretted. A few days later the Belgian Union of Jewish Students (UEJB) staged a public demonstration supporting the right of free speech that was backed by the university's administration and faculty, as well as Jewish and non-Jewish student groups and Belgian Jewish organizations. It attracted more than 1,000 participants.88

In February 2003, the Federation of Belgian Students attempted to have a motion against Israel passed in the Board of the Free University of Brussels. Two Jewish faculty members circulated a counter petition in which was said inter alia:

While firmly condemning violence, wherever it comes from, in the Middle East conflict, ULB, in line with its philosophical tradition, must affirm that cooperation with all teaching and research institutions is the best means of promoting respect of the fundamental values of the international scientific community: humanism and tolerance. Scientia vincere tenebras. [science will triumph over darkness].
The ULB senate refused to hear the anti-Israel motion - which was then withdrawn - and adopted a declaration along the lines of the Jewish professors' proposal.89


According to a regional Italian daily, Corriere Del Veneto, seven Italian professors of Ca' Foscari University in Venice signed a European petition with 400 signatories which included the statement "my conscience doesn't permit me to collaborate with official Israeli institutions, including universities."90

Prof. Francesco Gatti, who occupies the chair of History of International Relations in the Faculty of Language and Oriental Literature at Ca' Foscari, said, "I have signed it because I am an anti-Zionist; certainly not an anti-Semite." Gatti added that while he hoped his and his Italian colleagues' actions would serve as a stimulus, he had not received even one email reaction. He concluded that the appeals had much less visibility than those during the 1968 student revolution.

The newspaper pointed out that if one were to follow the recommendation of the seven professors, a diplomatic problem would ensue. Venice is also home to Venice International University (VIU), an international consortium with several member faculties including Ca' Foscari, Instituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV), a major architectural university, and Tel Aviv University (TAU).

The rector of Ca' Foscari, Maurizio Rispoli, declared that the boycott appeals by the university's professors were personal and did not reflect the university's positions. He added:

The agreements of teaching and scientific collaboration with academic institutions are continuously expanded independent of the political orientation of governments of each state in the conviction the scientific communities must contribute to distributing knowledge and discoveries but also maintain the values of liberty, tolerance and respect between people.
The IUAV rector said that the appeal seemed to be a sign of absolute silliness even if he totally disagreed with Sharon's policies. He added that this approach would lead to exactly the opposite of what one would want to achieve: "It is not that all Israeli universities are with Sharon, to the contrary. Our role is to keep a distinction between cultural and political activities."91 A few days after the article appeared in the Venice daily, the leading Italian weekly Panorama published the same story, entitled "Winds of anti-Semitism at Ca' Foscari."92 It mentioned eleven Italian professors who had signed the boycott appeal. Besides Gatti, the paper also interviewed Rodolfo Delmonte, linguistics professor at Ca' Foscari.

As far as one can judge from the names, none of the boycott signatories are Jewish. This is very different from the UK, where the academic boycott was initiated by Jews and France, where Jews played a major role. It is also surprising because Jewish communists and other leftists in Italy have often spearheaded actions against Israel.93

IV. Reactions to the Academic Boycott

Jewish communities worldwide were ill-prepared for the wave of anti-Semitism of the last few years and the sudden calls to boycott Israel. After the Oslo agreements in 1993, many Jewish leaders had become lax as far as threats of anti-Semitism and attacks on Israel were concerned. As some observers put it, an entire generation of Jewish students on campus was unfamiliar with the narrative of Zionism and Israel.

Thus, few knew how to respond effectively to the wave of aggression - even in big Jewish communities such as the United States and France. It took a long time before Jewish defense organized itself. In France - here the community hesitated for many months to draw public attention to the many violent anti-Semitic incidents throughout the country - the government preferred to close its eyes to those incidents.94

Similarly, diaspora Jewry, the Israeli government, and Israel's academic world were taken by surprise by the academic boycott and other discriminatory initiatives. They did not develop a strategic plan to counteract them. Individuals and institutions improvised in various ways without coordinating actions.

One important initiative came from Hebrew University. It developed a website calling for support of academics opposed to the boycott and attracted many signatories from all over the world.95 By June 2003, 15,000 academics had signed the anti-boycott petition. Similar initiatives were also taken elsewhere, including in Australia96 and the U.S.97

In France, two such petitions were launched. One group, close to Peace Now, obtained mainly Jewish signatures that were also from outside the academic world. Another was initiated by Jewish academics who, together with non-Jewish ones - many from leading institutions - published a condemnation of the boycott in the daily Le Monde. The initiators were Shmuel Trigano, Gregory Benichou, Raphael Drai, Georges Elia Sarfati, and Yves Charles Zarka.98

Support for Israel

Some prominent scholars declared their personal support for Israel, such as Baroness Susan Greenfield, a British brain researcher and head of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. She announced her intention to lead a delegation of top British scientists to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt in mid-March 2003 in what she called "a positive response to ongoing boycott efforts."99

In November 2002, seventy prominent U.S. professors of medicine, of which twelve were from Harvard Medical School, held an international medical conference in Jerusalem to protest the divestment campaign and other anti-Israel activities on American campuses. Conference Chairman Ben Sachs mentioned that they had specifically come to show support for Israel.100

Another initiative against the boycott was the establishment of the International Academic Friends of Israel (IAFI). This organization is headed by Andrew R. Marks, chairman of the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biology of Columbia University. Besides American scholars, its board members include academics from France, Israel, Italy, and Switzerland. It seeks:

To host and support international scientific meetings in Israel; bring Israeli and global academic and scientific leaders together in other forums; promote worldwide understanding and appreciation of Israeli scientific and academic achievements, and create research fellowships in the U.S. for Israeli and Palestinian students.101102

Has the Boycott Initiative Failed?

At the end of June 2003, this author did an Internet search on for the word "boycott." More than 850,000 references appeared. Among the first fifty, two concerned Israel, and were not specifically aimed at the academic community. Some referred to boycotts against France because of its anti-American position in the war against Iraq. Others targeted companies such as Nestle, Esso, and Delta Airlines. The sites are listed according to the frequency of visitors. Can one therefore say that the worst part of the academic boycott of Israel has passed?

Several Israeli academics and American Jewish leaders have told this author that in their opinion, the academic boycott against Israel has failed. They point out that not one major academic institution or organization has supported it; no American university has decided to divest Israeli shares and the Paris 6 University had to retract its anti-Israel motion. Furthermore, many more academics in the world signed petitions against the boycott of Israel than signed petitions for it.

This conclusion seems superficial. There are sufficient indications to the contrary that Israel's campus enemies - to call them "opponents" or "adversaries" would be too mild - continue with their plans. In May 2003, a motion supporting an academic boycott against Israel got as much as a third of the votes at the conference of the Association of University Teachers (AUT), which has 46,000 members. Its initiator was Sue Blackwell, a very active anti-Israel lecturer in Birmingham University's English department. She said: "AUT support for the boycott, launched last year by the British academics Steven and Hilary Rose would 'add to the pressure on the country's economy and dent its international prestige.'"103

A pro-Palestinian conference was planned by an organization called New Jersey Solidarity at Rutgers University's New Brunswick campus in October 2003.104 The organizer, Charlotte Kates, called Israel an apartheid colonial state that does not have the right to exist. She supported Palestinian resistance in all forms, including, it could be understood, homicide bombers.105 Furthermore, it is a mistake to compare the boycott actions against Israel with others such as, for instance, the American boycotts against France. The American politicians who attacked France did so on the spur of the moment, and had no previous record of animosity against France. The widespread American boycott against France emerged rapidly and may disappear just as quickly. On the other hand, some of those who advocate the boycott against Israel are longtime enemies. For them, the boycott of Israel is one of many actions undertaken against the country. If one effort fails, they will try another, especially given that they do not incur any risks. Israel and the Jews concentrate on defense and hardly ever attack.

Lack of Research

In view of the multitude of academic boycott actions against Israel, it is surprising that neither the Israeli academic world nor the Jewish defense organizations have undertaken any significant research on the major aspects of this campaign. Such research is particularly important as new attacks emerge fast. If one lacks strategic understanding of what motivates one's enemies and how they operate, one remains unnecessarily vulnerable to future onslaughts.

Major elements which require a much more detailed analysis are:

  • What are the main manifestations of the academic boycott and related discrimination issues?
  • How does the academic boycott relate to the wider issue of anti-Semitism?
  • What actions have been undertaken to counter the boycott?
  • Who are the major actors who have reacted against the boycott and what did they do?
  • How could the Jews and Israel have reacted better and how should one organize for the future?

Our research permits initial answers to some of these questions. Much more study, however, remains to be done.

The Main Aspects of the Academic Boycott

The main elements of the academic boycott and related issues are:

  • Trying to prevent Israeli academics obtaining grants: This was a major aim of the scholars who published the April 2002 open letter in The Guardian.
  • Inciting academic institutions to sever relations with Israeli academic institutions and academics: These attempts were strongest in France and Great Britain.
  • Convincing academics not to visit Israel.
  • Not inviting Israelis to international conferences.
  • Trying to prevent the publication of articles from Israeli scholars. The Guardian wrote about Oren Yiftachel, a left-wing Israeli academic from Ben Gurion University of Beer Sheva, who had made extreme anti-Israeli remarks such as "Israel is almost the most segregated society in the world." He had presented a paper to the left-leaning journal Political Geography which was co-written with an Arab scholar, Dr. Asad Ghanem of Haifa University. Yiftachel had claimed to The Guardian that his paper was returned unopened, an explanatory note attached, stating that the paper could not accept a submission from Israel.106 In a clarification afterwards, The Guardian reported that Political Geography's editor had asked for corrections and thereafter would have referred it without guarantee that it would be published.107
  • Refusing to review work of Israeli scholars: Israeli universities often ask scholars abroad to review the work of Israeli academics with a view to promotion. Prof. Paul Zinger, former head of the Israeli Science Foundation, told The Sunday Telegraph that about 7,000 research papers are sent out each year for reference. In 2002, about twenty-five came back from scholars who refused to look at them.108 Hebrew University experts told this author that they have faced three cases of refusal to do so. One concerned a Jewish scholar abroad who wrote an anti-Semitic refusal letter.
  • Refusing to give students who want to study in Israel a recommendation.
  • Promoting divestment of Israeli securities or those of American suppliers of weapons to Israel by university foundations. This is a particularly American phenomenon.
  • Expelling Jewish organizations from the campus: The one well-known case concerns the Hillel organization at Concordia University, Montreal.109
  • Unofficial (or concealed) boycott: Not all boycott activities are official. Several Israeli academics told this author that some colleagues with whom they have had long-term contacts have severed them without explanation. Hebrew University lecturer Aaron Benavot was quoted saying that there was anecdotal evidence of such a boycott:

Two colleagues in the geography department, for example, received a letter from the section editor of an international journal who said he was unable to consider their papers because he was a signatory to the boycott. Another Israeli scholar in London was told by his coordinator that he could "foresee problems" with colleagues in Europe if he joined an EU-funded research team.110

One of the most extreme cases of making life miserable for Jewish and Israeli students at university concerns the Free University of Brussels. The San Francisco State University hosts many anti-Israel activities, including violent ones. In Canada, Concordia University, Montreal is outstanding for anti-Israel violence.

There are many other examples of university environments that are hostile to Jews. A French Jewish physician told a newspaper that she puts her anti-Zionist positions on the door of her laboratory where there are Arab doctoral students, in order to protect herself against "unpleasant events."111

Alexis Light, a Jewish student at Hampshire College who heads the campus's only pro-Israel group, the Student Alliance for Israel, said: "We're called Nazis." She said campus officials told her they could not guarantee her safety after she hung an Israeli flag and Hillel posters in her dorm room window.112

Hostile environments for Jews are not limited to universities. A French book, The Lost Territories of the Republic113, is devoted to the multiple violence against Jewish schoolchildren in France - mainly by Maghrebinian children - over a period dating back many years. This phenomenon bears much resemblance to an iceberg: most of the problems are not seen and not reported, so they are underestimated.

Yet another anti-Israel activity is hampering the career of pro-Israeli academics. Only few victims are willing to speak publicly about this.

David Hansel, a tenured neuroscientist who also works five months a year at Hebrew University, besides his position in France, told The Boston Globe: "In France, I feel people are trying to build momentum for this boycott, criticizing Israel and also identifying colleagues who are Jewish or Israeli." Hansel, a French citizen, said he has been up for promotion in France for several months but colleagues have told him it has been blocked because of his affiliation with Hebrew University."114

In December 2002, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, agreed to pay nearly $365,000, admitting that department administrators had tried to persuade students not to take courses taught by Jewish professors. The settlement proposal came after a lawsuit had claimed that Jewish faculty members were paid less than others, denied promotions, and not given full credit for their teaching experience. The president of the University, Ray Saigo, said the university "deeply regretted" any anti-Semitic acts that transpired on campus or in the university community.115

There are other related types of bias, such as political science faculty members deciding to purchase mainly anti-Israeli books for university libraries.

Some authors have tried to define the origins of the academic boycott attempts. One of them, Ruth R. Wisse, wrote:

Like many such initiatives since the 1960s, the petition campaign against Israel is promoted by relatively small numbers of faculty with interlocking interests. Its driving force are Arabs, Arabists, and their sympathizers who help prosecute the war against Israel as a way of diverting attention away from Arab regimes. They are joined by Leftists - including Jews - who see in Jewish particularism the chief hindrance to their internationalist faith; by radicals who consider Israel and America to be colonial powers and who promote their reactionary or revolutionary alternatives; and by antiwar enthusiasts who blame Israel for inviting Arab aggression against it.116

The Relationship to Anti-Semitism

A second important question concerns the anti-Semitic aspects of the academic boycott against Israel. The latter must be seen in the context of several earlier-mentioned phenomena in Western society. The first one is the major immigration of Arabs and other Moslems to Western countries and the radicalization of significant elements of this community, which is often accompanied by anti-Semitic hate propaganda. In the academic world one finds many radicals in Mid-Eastern and Islamic studies, one of the main disciplines promoting anti-Semitism at universities. Arab student unions are other major propagators of Jew and Israel-hatred.

A second relevant factor is the permeation of the Palestinian narrative into Western society, especially its left-wing elements. The third is the widespread latent anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe, which has been largely ignored for years. Another, related problem is the extreme left-wing Jews who have frequently been at the forefront of the attacks against Israel. The academic boycott cannot be fought effectively in isolation. It must also be part of the general fight against anti-Zionism and other manifestations of anti-Semitism.

Another important factor is that the academic boycott does not relate only to general phenomena in society. It is also an expression of the specific problems of various Western universities where major anti-societal forces have developed over the decades. The boycott actions against Israel have brought further proof that "tenured radicals" have permeated a number of faculties and campuses, where they try to undermine society rather than pursue objectively the search for knowledge

What Has Been Done Against the Boycott?

Within the framework of researching the academic boycott issue, a more systematic analysis of the actions undertaken against the boycott is also required. These come under a number of categories:

  • Efforts to assemble a list of signatories against the anti-Israel measures.
  • Trying to use personal contacts to influence the universities where the enemies of Israel teach.
  • Convincing well-known personalities to condemn them: One example is the aforementioned speech by Laurence Summers, the President of Harvard, who said that:
Where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists, profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.117
Another is an article in the French daily Le Monde attacking the boycott action at Paris 6, by Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, a French Jewish Nobel prizewinner and former professor at that university. It was entitled, "I'm ashamed," and said inter alia:
I'm ashamed about those colleagues who dare to express abhorrence about other colleagues because of their nationality. I'm ashamed about those colleagues who in the case of a painful conflict, where two people suffer cruelly and daily, choose to demonize one of the two parties rather than trying to bring them closer to each other.118
Twenty-four members of the European council of Ben-Gurion University came out with a statement that the boycott "infringes the fundamental concept of academic freedom and restricts the flow of knowledge, which benefits all mankind."119 Among them were two Nobel Prize winners David Trimble and Aron Klug. This statement mixed principled and utilitarian arguments: "The signatories from Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands note that Ben-Gurion University is at the cutting edge of research in desert studies, drylands agriculture, and water research - areas of critical importance to the Middle East and to much of the developing world."120

Another action undertaken against the boycott involves encouraging editors of scientific journals to condemn the boycott. The editors of the world's leading general science magazines Science121 and Nature122 are examples of those who came out against the boycott. A leading medical periodical, the British Medical Journal, strongly opposed the academic boycott.

Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of Science, went even beyond this. He told The New York Times on the occasion of the conference "Frontiers in Cardiovascular Science" held in Eilat in June 2002 that he was heartened to hear about this conference in Israel. He said: "the principle is very important. I don't think academic boycotts do anyone any good."123

Other actions include organizing protest demonstrations and trying to get academics to come to Israel to show their support for the country.

In private conversations, some Israeli scholars suggest that more cooperation should be initiated with Palestinian academics. This is hardly an effective approach. There are already a significant number of collaborations that could be mentioned in addition to those already known.

Who Has Been Fighting the Boycott?

A fourth important issue for analysis is who are the major actors fighting the boycott. Jewish student organizations are usually leaders of this battle. In France, UEJF has been particularly active; Hillel has been in the forefront in the U.S. and Canada.

Jewish defense organizations have also played a role. They have fought the boycott on a one-by-one basis, but have not analyzed it in detail as a complex worldwide problem.

University lecturers are a third category of defenders. We should laud their work. Sometimes, however, mistakes have been made. Many of their reactions are apologetic rather than principled. They point out that one should not blame Israeli universities as many academics collaborate with Palestinians and are anti-Sharon. That may be true but it is irrelevant to the issue at stake, which is that the boycotters attempt to make academia discriminate on the basis of nationality.

Others, instead of mentioning principles, stress utilitarian aspects against boycotting Israel, saying that it would be damaging to science. A further example of this can be found on the website of the Hebrew University, which posts a letter from a European oncologist, Jack Ph. Janssens, to an Israeli colleague, Dr. Rennert, saying:

The scientific support that we, as Europeans, get from the research experience from you and your Israeli colleagues is of outermost importance for cancer research in general and the European research in particular. It would be a great loss that our mutual scientific debate would suffer from political issues, far away from humanity and medical progress. I sincerely hope, in the name of so many cancer patients and for future realizations in preventive cancer research, that no harm penetrates our long lasting fruitful collaboration.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, stated that it would become concerned if the shunning of work by Israeli academics continued.124

In some cases, ad-hoc groups have been formed to fight academic discrimination against Israel. One such example is the Mideast Academia project in the United Kingdom. It organized a meeting with speakers from abroad on 10 November 2002.

Actions by Israeli Academics

Israeli academics have tried to counteract the boycott in various ways. They also have often mixed principled and apologetic arguments. In an open protest letter, Israeli scholars Hillel Shuval, Eva Illouz, and Aaron Benavot of Hebrew University, Jerusalem, criticized the boycott idea on several grounds:

  • Much internal criticism of current Israeli policy comes from within Israeli academic circles;
  • A boycott against Israel ignores ongoing attacks against Israeli citizens;
  • A boycott might damage continuing academic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians;
  • A unilateral boycott of Israeli academics unfairly identifies Israel as the only party responsible for the violent shift in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Such a one-sided perspective is contrary to academic standards of truth-seeking.125

As has already been pointed out, when fighting the academic boycott such a mix-up between principled and apologetic arguments is a frequently occurring phenomenon.

A fourth group of reactions came from universities. One example has already been mentioned: Hebrew University created a central address to deal with the academic boycott under the auspices of the dean of the faculty of Social Sciences, Nachman Ben-Yehuda.

There are other institutions that have also been involved in the defense battle. For instance, the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities collected support letters from other national academies and international academic organizations.

An Indication of the Future

In the boycott debate, the issue of academic freedom has been discussed in various ways. This is only one of the fundamental aspects concerning the academic world that the boycott issue touches upon.

The concept of academic objectivity has always been a Utopian one. The Western academic world is supposedly operating according to certain rules. It officially creates the utopian image that the best academics get promoted the fastest and the most worthy articles are published in the best journals. Allan Bloom, for instance, has exposed the political character of many academic decisions in his book, The Closing of the American Mind.126

The Guardian, in a lengthy article on the academic boycott of Israel, mentioned a discussion on the subject which we consider indicative of how the boycotters of Israel could have started a much wider destructive process in the academic world.

The article quoted correspondence in June 2002 between Prof. Patrick Bateson and Harry Gee. The former is a professor of animal behavior and provost of King's College, Cambridge. He signed the boycott letter initiated by Steven and Hilary Rose. Gee is a senior editor at the leading science magazine, Nature. In a correspondence between the two, Gee wrote that he objected "as a Jew" to the academic boycott.

He said that while he would not boycott scientific articles submitted to the journal by Bateson and his colleagues, "I would get much less pleasure in reading them...knowing what I do of your attitudes..." Gee also stated that in view of this he would not be inclined to visit Cambridge.127 (Thereafter it turned out that The Guardianhad been quoting the correspondence without Gee's permission.)128

This correspondence indicates that the fragile construct of academic objectivity could have been damaged much further if the anti-Israel boycotters had made more of an impact. This is not just because they transgressed the rules of academic communications, but also because of inevitable reactions against them by others who, unlike Gee, would have concealed them.

Boycott actions against Israel blatantly break many academic rules. Their supporters explicitly promote the politicization of universities. Several academics have indicated in private to this author that if they can damage the career of a boycotter of Israel they will not hesitate to do so, as people who have introduced racism into academia do not merit equal treatment.

In a debate on CNN, Silvain Capell of New York University, asked: "So what are we going to have? Are we going to have that you're going to boycott Israeli universities, and the next fellow is going to boycott Arab ones...and Hindus will be boycotting Muslims and Muslims Hindus, because of their conflicts?"129

If the boycott actions against Israel were to succeed, counteractions would ensue and once these multiplied the present academic system would collapse. The signatories of the various boycott petitions thus not only initiated a discriminatory action against Israel, they also did so to fellow academics. By doing this they have become the enemies of the academic community at large.

V. Case Studies

A few case studies illustrate that the academic boycott can be fought successfully. In the 7 June 2002 issue of Science - the leading magazine of general interest in the scientific field - an editorial appeared against a scholar who published her research results in two medical journals and afterwards refused for political reasons to supply cell lines and other genetic materials from her laboratory to other scholars who wished to pursue this line of research.

The editor, Donald Kennedy, wrote that the consensus is that authors are: "obliged to share material...with readers who request them unless such transfers are prohibited by laws or regulations, such as those designed to deter bio-terrorism." The editorial also said the paper would follow an active policy against authors who refuse to comply. It would first try to persuade them and then, if necessary, impose penalties on future publications.

Kennedy wrote that the scientist who had refused to supply a clone to an Israeli colleague had a double rationale. The first one was that "the government of Israel had committed a morally repugnant act." The second was "that this justifies the cancellation of an obligation to the entire scientific community." He considered the first issue to be irrelevant because the second "was so unimpressive." He strongly rejected the opinion that "one's personal political convictions trump all other commitments and values."

Kennedy also condemned the behavior of the two journals in which appeared the original papers of the scientist who had refused to give the material to the Israeli scientist. He mentioned that the Israeli scientist had contacted the editors of both journals. Kennedy concluded: "One didn't reply; the other contacted the publisher, Ken Plaxton at Elsevier." Plaxton replied: "We do not have, nor wish to have, any influence on personal decisions made by contributors to our journals and cannot, I am afraid, in this instance help you further." Kennedy wrote: "That, it seems to us, is an inadequate response."

Science mentioned in passing that the case was particularly ironic because the research group in Israel collaborated with Palestinian scientists in a project beneficial to the Palestinians. This, though, was not a consideration at all in Kennedy's judgment.

The strong position of Kennedy was important for several reasons:

  • He blamed the behavior of boycotters of Israeli academics, without giving them any ethical credit.
  • He warned potential authors of Science who would behave similarly that if they persisted, their future publications would be discriminated against by Science.
  • Science defended a matter of principle and considered the apologetic element of the Israeli scientist's collaboration with Palestinian scientists as irrelevant.
  • Science disapproved of the behavior of the two journals in which the original article appeared.

For the uninitiated reader of the journal the story ended herewith. Yet it is worth investigating its background. The original request for the material was made by Evelyne Zeira, a scientist at the Goldyne Savad Institute of Gene Therapy at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. She needed it to develop treatments for Palestinian victims of the blood disorder thalessemia.130 The scientist who refused the request for the clone was Dr. Ingrid Harbitz of Oslo University. In an email on 22 April 2002, she wrote:

I have received your email requesting the porcine EPO cDNA clone. My department has given away clones several times, however, due to the present situation in the Middle East I will not deliver any material to an Israelitic university. My institution, as well as most universities in Norway, have recently sent protests against the Israelitic military action on the West bank to the Embassy of Israel in Norway and to the Department of Foreign Affairs. In addition, our main university, the University of Oslo, has protested against the closing of all Palestinean universities that they collaborate with. On this background I find it impossible for me to deliver any material to an Israelitic university.131
When he heard about this, an Israeli scientist at the Hebrew University School of Medicine in Jerusalem wrote to a colleague at the medical faculty of the University of Oslo. The latter asked his permission to write on the matter to the rector of the University of Oslo, Professor Arild Underdal.

In his letter to the rector, the Norwegian scientist wrote inter alia:

Ingrid Harbitz has in this matter made a personal political judgment in a very complicated and sensitive political situation. According to my opinion Norwegian scientists presently and in the future might play an important role in mediating contacts on different levels between the two parties in the conflict. It is therefore unfortunate indeed that a scientist qua a scientist employed by the University of Oslo not only takes a clear stand against one of the parties but also breaks international rules for scientific cooperation. Ingrid Harbitz' letter might also contribute to damage the reputation in Israel of the University of Oslo. Please remember that many of our Israeli colleagues actively have been involved in the peace process at many levels during the past year. I know for instance that Dr. ... who brought this issue to my attention as well as many of his Israeli colleagues during the years actively have worked to promote the health of Palestinian children. For instance Palestinian children have many times been transported to hospitals in Israel for optimal care. I myself have together with Israeli and Palestinian colleagues take part in the planning of joint Palestinian-Israeli projects with the aim of improving the general health condition for Palestinian children.132
The scientist also mentioned that the Israeli scientist deserves an apology from Dr. Harbitz for her letter refusing the clone. Dr. Harbitz changed her mind and made the clone available to the Israeli scientist. The rector of the Oslo University replied to the letter, saying that there is no reason to boycott Israeli scientists. Apparently parts of the story were reported in a Norwegian newspaper as well as on a Norwegian website (

Eithan Galun, head of the Goldyne Savad Institute of Gene Therapy at Hadassah Medical Center said, "there is something racist and prejudicial in the fact that the Norwegian institute simply applied a blanket standard."133 He expressed particular annoyance as the project involved Palestinian children and a colleague in Ramallah.

The editorial of Science pointed out that one journal had not replied to a complaint by the Israeli scientist about Dr. Harbitz's refusal. Its editor was Professor Peter W. Hochachka, of the University of British Columbia, editor-in-chief of CBP. In a letter, the Israeli scientist told him that a few years ago "I thought what would be the best way to me, as researcher and a physician in Jerusalem Israel, could contribute to the benefit of the Palestinian children in the West Bank." He mentioned that he had contacted a hematologist from Ramallah and they decided to establish contacts for a gene therapy research project. The author of the letter wrote that this was only background and added:

In 2001 Ingrid Harbitz published in your journal. To our surprise this investigator decided, based on political opinion, not to send us the plasmid; please see below the letter written by him. This is an unprecedented act and unacceptable by all means. Science should be out of any political discussion. In particular that this investigator has no right to judge me. As the editor of this journal I expect the journal and the publisher Elsevier to act in the most direct way to resolve this issue. If this investigator will not pull his letter to us back I think that his paper should be withdrawn from the net and journal.
As mentioned in Science, CBP did not reply.

Analysis of the Harbitz Case

A number of conclusions can be drawn from this case:

  • Due to the many international contacts of Israeli and pro-Israeli Jewish academics, interventions at specific universities or journals can be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Non-Jewish scholars can also be found to intervene in the matter. The editor of Science is one example; the Norwegian academic who wrote to the rector of Oslo University is another.
  • The editorial of Science could have been distributed widely by Jewish organizations in the academic community and made much better use of in the battle against anti-Israel boycotters.
  • Most important, though, is that this battle must be fought on matters of principle as the editor of Science did, and not by using apologetic arguments. For the issue at stake here, the collaboration of an Israeli scientist with a Palestinian one is irrelevant. As the editor of Science pointed out, this makes it an ironic refusal. The basic issue is that the refusal in itself is unethical.

The issue of where the borderline is between science and politics merits substantial further discussion. Kennedy clearly pointed out that material should be withheld from terrorist scientists.

The Fonagy Case

The open letter initiated by the Roses and published in The Guardian, stated:

Despite widespread international condemnation for its policy of violent repression against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders. The major potential source of effective criticism, the United States, seems reluctant to act. However there are ways of exerting pressure from within Europe. Odd though it may appear, many national and European cultural and research institutions, including especially those funded from the EU and the European Science Foundation, regard Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts. (No other Middle Eastern state is so regarded.) Would it not therefore be timely if at both national and European level a moratorium was called upon any further such support unless and until Israel abide by UN resolutions and open serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians, along the lines proposed in many peace plans including most recently that sponsored by the Saudis and the Arab League.
Among the Jewish signatories was Professor Peter Fonagy of University College, London (UCL). One Israeli scientist from Haifa University, who knew Fonagy, wrote and asked him to convey the content of his reaction to all the other signatories as he did not have their email addresses.

This Israeli reaction was that the petition calling for a moratorium on culture and research links with Israel was one-sided; that in times of war one needed to hear all sides. Silencing academic discourse is a violation of what academics and universities stand for.

The letter went on as follows:

I trust that those who signed the petition have made a serious mistake because the real reason for the proposed boycott rests on an objection to our government's policy and actions rather than on any academic reality. Making such a linkage between these two entirely unrelated issues suggests that the motivation and spirit of this petition is not at all academic. Will you also protest and take concerted action against Palestinian terror deliberately aimed at innocent Israeli civilians? Since we are objecting to Israel's imperviousness to moral appeals from world leaders will you also be objecting, with equal vehemence, to Palestinian imperviousness to a number of appeals for a cease fire and for a halt to a terrorist policy which surely we cannot condone? Since we are insisting that Israel abide by U.N. resolutions, admittedly passed by a General Assembly openly hostile to Israel's interests, will you also insist that Palestinians abide by their written agreement under the signed Oslo accords, never again to resort to violence, surely not to terror, as a tool in its dispute with Israel? When two adversaries behave immorally, surely it is equally immoral for a third party (the signatories) to condemn only one of the parties, even on the pretext that it is the stronger of the two. Violations are violations; imperviousness is imperviousness; and I hope you will agree that the deliberate murder of Israelis is surely no more acceptable than the violent repression of Palestinians. A certain minimal degree of fairness in the apportioning of responsibility and blame should be observed.
The letter's main shortcoming was the moral equivalence it created between Israel and the Palestinians. It is written out of an apologetic mindset. This reflects one of the problems many Israeli academics cause Israeli society in the boycott battle. Shmuel Erlich, president of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society, also wrote to Fonagy. He referred to earlier letters by other academics, which had criticized Fonagy and continued:
In addition to writing to you because of our personal ties, I am writing now in my role as president of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society. The fact that you, a prominent psychoanalyst who has close ties with so many of us, chose to sign this petition, was met with a sense of outrage and injury by many of our members, who wish to convey to you their deep hurt and protest. It was already pointed out that the petition is totally unbalanced, one sided, and unfair in its allocation of guilt and responsibility. No such petition was addressed to the Palestinian academia, while innocent Israeli children, men, and women were indiscriminately butchered, and people are afraid to walk the streets or gather. The petition was written and circulated only once Israel took severe and far-reaching action in self-defense. Even if one does not support these actions, the Israeli public, both the political Right and Left, are united in our unwillingness to die and to allow the carnage, cold bloodedly chosen by the Palestinians as a political course, to go on without response. Even while this military response was mounted, humanitarian considerations have curtailed the action, leading to the death of many soldiers, our sons, daughters, fathers, and husbands. Granted that in the complex circumstances that prevail here, it is nearly impossible to separate cause and effect, belligerence and response, perpetrated violence and its aftermaths. But this Gordian knot will not yield to a sword that cuts only one way. To the contrary, this sort of action pulls the rug from under those in Israel, within academia and outside it, who are doing their best to achieve a more balanced and even-handed approach. It immediately supports those who opt for a more radical solution, who feel and preach that no matter what we do, the world is and will be against us. An outrageously one-sided approach, such as this petition signifies, is interpreted to mean that even people in academia, who are expected to seek objective views and regard matters impartially, are unwilling or unable to do so when it comes to Israel.
Erlich's letter contains a mix of principled and apologetic elements. The principled ones emphasize the one-sidedness of Fonagy's approach. The apologetic ones mention a statement - which remains to be proven - that the boycott attacks a segment of the community that is for the most part opposed to the government's policy and has many contacts and co-operations with Palestinians.

One wonders whether the author is implying that the boycott would be justified if most Israeli academics were supporting the government's policy, or if they did not wish to collaborate with Palestinians since, according to opinion polls, most Palestinians support suicide attacks.

In his response Fonagy responded that he had been under personal stress and had not been thinking clearly when he signed the call for the boycott. He added:

As you probably know I withdrew my name from the list when it became clear that it was a very distorted exercise. I am no longer on current lists. However, to explain why my name was on the list in the first place I should say that my understanding had been that the original appeal was not against academics but against the Israeli government who I felt (rightly or wrongly) were risking the future of Israel by traumatizing young Palestinians. As Jews we know just how long this kind of trauma (when you feel attacked as a race) takes to wash out of the system. I felt (and still feel) that suicide bombing does not justify persecution and even if it did it would be a self-destructive way of pursuing a highly illusory sense of security. I appreciate your comments about the complexity of the historical situation but this is about something that is happening now and will have major consequences for the future (if our ideas about trauma are valid). However, what I agreed to support with my signature was a very limited signal to be sent to the Israeli government that there should be a moratorium on Israeli applications for EU funded projects. At the time I did not think that this failed to consider the position of the many academics who were as concerned about the West Bank events as I was. This was a mistake. At the time there were many things on my mind and I was reckless in offering my support....I "recanted" as I saw that this was not an effective way to pursue the issue of preventing the kind of massive transgenerational trauma to Palestinian children (which I still feel strongly about). I was further majorly disturbed that the publicity surrounding the petition appeared to call for "a boycott of cultural and research links with Israel." This was a gross distortion and never part of the original intent (as far as I was concerned). So I withdrew and apologized to Israeli (and American) colleagues but obviously some damage has been done....I hope you and your colleagues will eventually forgive me. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.
Erlich then replied:
I thank you for your candid response and for offering the apology you did. I will share your message, as well as my note to you, with our members, who are keenly involved. I did not know that you withdrew your name from the list - I appreciate and applaud you for doing so. This petition was (is) really a very misguided effort and does not deserve support. There is a Hebrew verse that says, "The one who recants is to be forgiven." It is a wise saying that embodies great wisdom. It is important for you to know that this petition was truly enraging to many, if not all, of our Society members and candidates, myself included. Furthermore, this sense of outrage comes from people who are just as aware and concerned as you are about the issues you raise: the suffering of Palestinian children and the proliferation and inevitable intensification of hate and vengefulness by the current actions of the Israeli army. At the same time, and responding as you say to the "now" circumstances, most of us feel there was no choice but to engage in this kind of action. This realization, as one journalist put it, is maddening for the average Israeli "dove" and not at all easy to live with. One of our well-known writers, Amos Oz, a political dove himself, recently said that if the choice boils down to us dying or them dying, the choice is clear.

This exchange of brief notes is not suitable for a political debate or an argument about social realities. I must, however, mention a couple of points that you especially should have been aware of and taken into account before signing such a petition. The concern for Palestinian children and youths is well taken, but one needs to ask why Palestinian schooling and educational material is constantly and consistently replete with anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli materials, even when teaching math. This is certainly not our doing; but it equally certainly must affect their children. Concern for children should also imply sharp rebuke for the adults who send these children and youths (sometimes their own close relatives) deliberately to their deaths since the beginning of the present Intifada. This has become a method and an ethos that smacks of child sacrifice. Yet there was never one word of criticism or concern leveled at the Palestinian Authority for this. Lastly, the concern for children should, I hope, also be extended to the Israeli children who are killed and maimed or lose their parents. They too are being traumatized and might well grow up full of hate and wishes for revenge. Yet for some reason this is not mentioned. As psychoanalysts we know very well how complex the roots of a "now" situation can be and how unwise it is to take definite and judgmental sides. This knowledge is usually silenced by political pressures and expediency. The writers of this petition might have benefited from such psychoanalytic input more than support for their action. I do not have suggestions as to what you could do. I think you have done a good deal by withdrawing your name. Perhaps you can also use your considerable connections and input to try to influence the people you know, if they care to be involved, to understand the need for balanced, and above all sensitive, intervention and involvement, instead of one-sided punitive measures.

This exchange of letters had a number of follow-ups. The correspondence of Shmuel Erlich and Peter Fonagy was, with the agreement of both,134 put up on the open line of the American Psychoanalytic Association and thus came into the public domain. Fonagy also added his name to the list of signatories on the Hebrew University website opposing a European blocking of academic grants to Israel.135

What is not publicly known is that before the previous correspondence took place an Israeli academic was invited to lecture in the memory of a deceased colleague at a major American university. He refused to participate if Fonagy was also going to be invited. This refusal also played a role in Fonagy's retraction. Fonagy's participation in this memorial service thus also became problematic for the host university. It was only resolved after Fonagy's retraction of the support for the boycott.

However critical one may be of the apologetic elements of the Israeli academics' letters, the clear loser in this case is Peter Fonagy, who has admitted his poor judgment in signing the open letter against Israel. From an accuser he became the accused.

The Wilkie Case

The third and most publicized case concerns Andrew Wilkie, Nuffield Professor of Pathology, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford University. An Israeli student, Amit Duvshani, contacted him to request a research position in his lab. In an email dated 23 June 2003, Wilkie replied:

Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because the Palestinians wish to live in their own country.

I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find another suitable lab if you look around.

Duvshani sent Wilkie's email inter alia to Nathan Dascal, a professor of medicine at Tel Aviv University who is active in fighting the boycott. After reading it, he sent the information to Prof. Andy Marks at Columbia University, head of International Academic Friends of Israel (IAFI), whereupon Marks circulated an email to his contacts worldwide, to find another position for Duvshani.136

The story was picked up in the UK through two different channels. A Jewish organization mobilized a number of prominent Jewish academics at Oxford, who started pressuring the university to act against Wilkie. Unrelated to this, on his own initiative, a British Jewish academic, Ronnie Fraser, who is also active in fighting the anti-Israel boycott, contacted The Sunday Telegraph on 26 June.137

The paper approached Oxford University the next day. The university reacted swiftly. That same evening (Friday) - not a time when university administrations are usually very diligent - it published a press release condemning Wilkie's conduct and announcing an investigation into the matter. It said:

Our staff may hold strongly felt personal opinions. Freedom of expression is a fundamental tenet of University life, but under no circumstances are we prepared to accept or condone conduct that appears to, or does, discriminate against anyone on grounds of ethnicity or nationality, whether directly or indirectly. This candidate is entitled to submit an application and to have it dealt with fairly according to our normal criteria.

Professor Wilkie has issued a personal apology regarding remarks he made by email to an applicant for a research degree at Oxford. An immediate and thorough investigation of this matter is now being carried out in accordance with the University's procedures and a report will be presented to the Vice-Chancellor next week.138

This press communication was accompanied by a personal apology from Wilkie which said:
I recognise and apologise for any distress caused by my email of 23 June and the wholly inappropriate expression of my personal opinions in that document. I was not speaking on behalf of Oxford University or any of its constituent parts. I entirely accept the University of Oxford's Equal Opportunities and Race Equality policies.139
Careful reading of the apology indicates that Wilkie only apologized for what he wrote, rather than retracting his racist views. He may well have acted against the statutory obligations of the Oxford University Equal Opportunities Policy and Code of Practice with his discriminatory remarks toward Duvshani.140

After Wilkie's "apology" and distancing from his public racist position, Michael Cohen of Swansea University - one of the most extreme anti-Israel academics in the UK - said he supported the positions Wilkie had taken and then given an apology. Cohen said:

I'm perfectly happy to support someone who feels that they want to boycott Israeli members of academic institutions - it's a way of bringing home to the Israeli government how appalling their behavior is. It's appalling that disciplinary measures might follow. He has a perfectly legitimate point of view and I would support him if that's the argument he wants to make. It's a question of balance of the rights of the individuals involved.141
On 27 June, IAFI published a press release. Its chair, Andrew Marks, said: "Professor Wilkie's blatant discrimination against a scientist based on his nationality is a dangerous threat to academic and scientific freedom. We cannot use political litmus tests to decide who can and cannot conduct scientific research."142

Wilkie Referred to a Disciplinary Panel

On 4 July, Oxford University stated in another press release that it had referred the Wilkie case to the university's disciplinary panel for academic staff. In the interim, he will not be allowed to participate in the selection of any staff members or students.143

The press release said inter alia:

The University of Oxford is appalled that any member of its staff should have responded to an inquiry from a potential graduate student in the terms in which Professor Wilkie emailed Amit Duvshani on 23 June. A thorough investigation began as soon as the University became aware of this correspondence. Based on the information that was collected during this process, and in the light of all the circumstances, particularly the importance attached by the University to fair processes of selection, the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Colin Lucas, has taken the view that this matter should be referred for consideration by the University's disciplinary panel for academic staff, known as the Visitatorial Board. While the matter is under consideration by the Board, Professor Wilkie will not be taking part in the selection of any members of staff or students. The Visitatorial Board has power to recommend warnings or dismissal or removal from office.144
On 7 July 2003, the Oxford University Students Union (OUSO) came out in favor of Duvshani and against Wilkie with a statement saying:
The University has now set a timetable for the investigation into Prof. Wilkie's conduct in relation to Amit Duvshani, and has banned him in the meantime from participating in the selection of any members of staff or students. The Student Union welcomes this move, and will push for the investigation to be concluded swiftly and justly.
Chris Griffin, VP (Graduates) of OUSO said: "It is right and proper that admission to Oxford University be based solely on academic potential, and never on nationality, ethnicity, or religion. It is unacceptable for a member of academic staff to deter a student from applying by expressing such prejudiced views."145

From Accuser to Accused

Within four days, by the end of June, Wilkie had been turned from a preacher of ethics accusing Israel into an individual condemned by his university, who was under investigation and accused of racial discrimination. The story was subsequently told in The New York Times, English dailies, The Sidney Morning Herald, Israeli papers, and other media throughout the world.

At the end of October Oxford University suspended Wilkie for two months without pay, the most serious penalty, short of dismissal, that the university could impose. The university said that its ruling expressed that the only discrimination it would accept was that based on merit. It announced also that Wilkie would take equal opportunities training.146 The Oxford student union stated that the penalty did not go far enough and that the university should exclude Wilkie also from taking part in future admissions at the university.147

More by chance than policy, a number of things came together in the Wilkie case: An informal ad hoc network of Jewish activists mobilized non-Jewish allies. Though in other cases official Israeli representatives and universities as well as Jewish organizations have intervened, in this one the action was entirely privatized.

Several major conclusions can be drawn from the Wilkie case. Israel and its allies have stumbled on a paradigm to attack the boycotters. Its major lesson is: "take the boycotters on one by one and expose them as racists who discriminate against people because of their country of origin." This effort should be shared by as many organizations as possible. Only time will tell whether the Wilkie case is indeed a turning point in the academic boycott against Israel. What is certain, however, is that the approach which turned Prof. Wilkie within a few days from the accuser into the accused can be copied and refined in similar future cases.

VI. Conclusion

There were few early warning signs of the academic boycott attempts against Israel and other campus discrimination acts, as well as of their rapid development in various Western countries. One can conclude from this that Israel and diaspora Jewry need first of all an increased capability to foresee problems or at least develop better ways of dealing quickly with emerging unforeseen problems.

Almost one and a half years have passed since the open letter was initiated by the Roses in The Guardian. One can only wonder why sophisticated academic institutions, the Israeli government, or Jewish defense organizations have not systematically studied the academic boycott issue, other discriminatory campus issues, and how to prepare against their future development.

The problem confronted is a complex one. Much more research is required. This includes an analysis and improved understanding of the methodology of Israel's adversaries. It has to be accompanied by the development of case studies of both successful and failed ways to deal with the boycott. Otherwise, as in the past, those involved in the battle against various attacks on campuses will continue to reinvent slowly what is already known elsewhere.

Research for this essay discovered several cases of academic anti-Israel discrimination that were unknown to the authorities of the university to which these academics belong. Those attacked must thus pool resources and start monitoring events on an ongoing basis in a better way.

It will be difficult to confront the boycott efficiently without a central address which follows development worldwide. A division of roles between the Israeli government, Jewish diaspora organizations, academic institutions, and private activists may yield the best results. Access to a network of experts in various fields including law, psychology, and public relations can make this approach even more efficient.

From the Harbitz and Fonagy cases it can be learned that argumentation can convince and apply pressure on scientists who are not hard-core anti-Israel extremists. This can be done either publicly or privately, or in both ways. Furthermore, the importance of using principled arguments against the boycott - rather than apologetic or utilitarian ones - should be stressed.

The public distribution of positive case stories of the fight against the boycott will help defeat supporters of anti-Israel boycotts and other discriminatory actions. It is worthwhile to involve the Jewish defense organizations in this distribution process.

One has to investigate how to involve Israel's friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, into taking affirmative action. This has several aspects. The IAFI initiative of inter alia organizing international conferences in Israel is one example of this.148 The potential exists to turn the boycott into more of an opportunity for Israel than a threat, but that requires much more thought and work than has been invested so far.

Israel and the Jews should also become more pro-active rather than only being on the defensive. The more extreme boycotters should systematically be exposed as racists as they discriminate against scholars on the basis of their nationality or ethnicity.

Future Developments

One can only speculate about future developments concerning campus-related discriminatory actions against Israel. A variety of campuses have hardcore Israel enemies. The latter will continue to explore new opportunities to discriminate against Israel and pro-Israelis.

If the battle against Israel heats up, actions against boycotters will also have to become more aggressive. One step could be the establishment of a network of academics who are willing to counteract academic boycotts by, for instance, severing relations with the universities and scholars who have called for a boycott. Another step might be the establishment of a list of self-declared enemies of the Jewish people so that one can take action against them at a future date. The names of some of the most notorious have by now been widely publicized.

One may speculate that if discrimination attempts against Israel are confronted more effectively, more boycotters will start to act in a concealed way. For instance, had he been aware of the consequences of his email reply to Duvshani, Wilkie could have ignored the application or lied about the reasons for his refusal. If concealed boycotting increases, more sophisticated methods of reaction will have to be developed.

Yet another possible development is a dramatic increase of violence against Jews and Israelis on certain campuses. The details of this scenario cannot be foreseen. One possible consequence might be the withdrawal of many from certain campuses where the only remaining Jews will be those with a substantial measure of Jewish self-hate.

Whatever will happen in the Middle East, many of the phenomena described above are here to stay for a long time to come. Furthermore, the academic boycott attempts and other discriminatory actions against Israel are likely to be indicators and precursors of a long-lasting general reassessment of issues such as free speech, academic freedom, uncontrolled campus extremism including incitement to violence, university autonomy, the politicization of science, and the discrepancy in norms between academia and society at large.


1. This article is based on joint research undertaken by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), and the World Jewish Congress (WJC). The main findings of this research were presented by the author in a lecture in the JCPA's Herbert Berman Memorial series on 3 April 2003. The author expresses his thanks to Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, Michelle Baruch, Sophie Miller, and Jeremy Wimpf-heimer for their comments.


3. Anti-Defamation League:

4. Aaron Sarna, Boycott and Blacklist: A History of Arab Economic Warfare Against Israel (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986), p. 16.

5. Sarna, Boycott and Blacklist, p. 21.

6. Donald L. Losman, International Economic Sanctions: The Cases of Cuba, Israel and Rhodesia (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1979), p. 1.

7. Losman, International Economic Sanctions, p. 94.

8. Aaron J. Sarna, Boycott and Blacklist, p. xiii.

9. Ibid.

10. American Jewish Historical Society:

11. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

12. Dan S. Chill, The Arab Boycott of Israel: Economic Aggression and World Reaction (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1976), p 1.

13. Ibid.

14. Anti-Defamation League:

15. Joseph Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919-1939 (Berlin: Mouton Publishers, 1981), p. 425.

16. Avi Beker, The Plunder of Jewish Property During the Holocaust: Confronting European History (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2001).

17. Sharon Sadeh, "Dialogue Needed, Before We Turn Into a Leper State," Ha'aretz, 21 August 2002.

18. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Europe's Crumbling Myths: Today's Anti-Semitism's Post-Holocaust Origins (Jerusalem: JCPA, Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress, 2003).

19. Manfred Gerstenfeld, "Anti-Semitic Motifs in Anti-Israelism," Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, no. 2, 1 November 2002.

20. Institute of the World Jewish Congress, "The Architecture of Bigotry," Policy Dispatch, no. 80, June 2002.

21. Lawrence H. Summers, "Address at Morning Prayers," http://, 17 September 2002. 22. "Ferry part à la chasse aux 'sales feujs' et aux 'bougnoules' à l'ecole," Liberation, 27 February 2003 [French]. See also: Marc Perelman, "French Minister Unveils Plan to Fight Antisemitism," Forward, 7 March 2003.

23. "Karsli verliert Antisemitismus-Streit," Die Welt, 13 March 2003 [German].

24. Gershom Scholem, "The Final Interview," Nativ, Vol. I, No.1, 1990.

25. Charlotte Edwardes, "Fury as Academics are Sacked for Being Israeli," The Daily Telegraph, 7 July 2002.

26. David Harrison, "Professor's Anti-Israeli Tirade Revives Sacked Academics Row," The Daily Telegraph, 29 September 2002.

27. Rod Liddle, "Watch Who You Call Nazis," The Guardian, 17 July 2002.

28. Jonathan Kay, "Hating Israel is Part of Campus Culture," National Post, 25 September 2002.

29. Oliver Burkeman, "Harvard Overturns Ban on Oxford Poet," The Guardian, 21 November 2002.

30. Ibid.

31. Neville Nagler, "Paulin's Hateful Rhetoric," The Guardian, 9 January 2003.

32. Leslie Scrivener, "Sharp Increase Seen in Anti-Semitic Hate," Toronto Star, 7 March 2003.

33. Gordon W. Allport, The Nature of Prejudice (New York: Doubleday, 1958), p. 147.

34. Abigail Radoszkowicz, "An Ancient Evil Stirs," The Jerusalem Post Magazine, 17 January 2003.

35. Harry Delfiner, "The Socialist International and the Rise of Yasir Arafat," Midstream, November/December 2002.

36. Brendan Boyle, "Boycott Israel, says Jewish Minister," Dawn International, 25 April 2002.

37. Institute of the World Jewish Congress, "The Revival of the Arab Boycott - Round Two," Policy Dispatch, no. 59.

38. Tanya Reinhart (17 May 2002):

39. Alan M. Dershowitz, Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), p. 166.

40. Yair Sheleg, "Enemies, a Post-national Story," Ha'aretz, 7 March 2003.

41. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Shimon T. Samuels, "Anti-Semitism and Jewish Defense at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa," in Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, no. 6, 2 March 2003.

42., "Protest against Call for European Boycott of Academic and Cultural Ties with Israel," The Guardian, Original Press Release, 6 April 2002.

43. Hilary and Steven Rose, "The Choice Is to Do Nothing or Try to Bring About Change," Guardian Weekly, 18 July 2002.

44. Andrea Levin, "Headlines Cover for Palestinian Violence," The Jerusalem Post, 17 March 2003.

45. Andrew Beckett, "It's Water on Stone - In the End Stone Wears Out," The Guardian, 12 December 2002.

46. Ori Golan, "A Conscientious Objector," The Jerusalem Post Magazine, 17 January 2003.

47. Press Release, "EU Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin replies to call for boycott on scientific and cultural relations with Israel," No. D/0050/02 PR4/02, 25 April 2002.

48. Press Release, New York Academy of Sciences, "NY Academy of Sciences Committee on Human Rights Opposes Proposed 'Moratorium' on Research Grants to Israel," 3 May 2002. 49. John D. A. Levy, "The Academic Boycott and Antisemitism," Paul Iganski and Barry Kosmin, eds., A New Antisemitism? Debating Judeophobia in 21st Century Britain (London: Profile Books, 2002), p. 254.

50. "More Splits over the Academic Boycott of Israel," The Guardian, 17 July 2002.

51. Levy, "The Academic Boycott and Antisemitism," pp. 254-255.

52. Edwardes, "Fury as Academics are Sacked for Being Israeli."

53. Eric J. Greenberg, "A Friend for Israeli Academics," The Jewish Week, 25 April 2002.

54. Geoffrey Alderman, "The Gesture Politics of an Israel Boycott," The Guardian, 22 July 2002.

55. Liddle, "Watch Who You Call Nazis."

56. Staff and agencies, "Morris Condemns Israeli Sacking," The Guardian, 11 July 2002.

57. Polly Curtis, "UMIST Professor Escapes Disciplinary Action," The Guardian, 30 January 2003.

58. Francis Elliott and Catherine Milner, "Blair Vows to End Dons' Boycott of Israeli Scholars," The Daily Telegraph, 17 November 2002.

59. Ronnie Fraser, "Understanding Trade Union Hostility toward Israel and the Consequences for Anglo Jewry," Iganski and Kosmin, eds., A New Antisemitism?, p. 259.

60. Donald MacLeod, "Israelis under Fire," The Guardian, 25 June 2002.

61. Patrick Lawnham, "Academics Split on Israel Sanctions," The Australian Newspaper, 22 May 2002.

62. http.// 63. Editorial, "Academic Boycott Like Book Burning," The Australian Newspaper, 23 May 2002.

64. Andrew Wallenstein, "Big Matter on Campus," Hadassah Magazine, August /September 2002, p. 29.

66. Abraham H. Foxman, "Jews Target of Hate," The National Law Journal,

66. Second Herbert Berman symposium, JCPA, Jerusalem, November 2002.

67. John Podhoretz, "Hatefest by the Bay," New York Post, 14 May 2002.

68. "A Campus War over Israel," Time, 7 October 2002.

69. Earth Rights International:

70. Student Conference on Palestine:

71. University of Pennsylvania Almanac:

72. Lee C. Bollinger, Current Communications President's Office: (7 November 2002).

73. Yale Daily News:

74. Anti-Defamation League:

75. Associated Press, "Concordia University Admits It was Unprepared for Violent Anti-Netanyahu Protest," The Jerusalem Post, 16 January 2003.

76. Melissa Radler, "Concordia University Hillel Banned by Student Union," The Jerusalem Post, 8 December 2002.

77. The Associated Press, "Judge Grants Injunction Against Mideast Talk at Canadian University," The Jerusalem Post, 16 November 2002.

78. Bram Eisenthal, "Pro-Arab Body at Montreal School Shuts Campus Hillel over Israel Flier," JTA, 5 December 2002.

79. Bram Eisenthal, "Canadian Jewish Students Scared? Ad in Newspaper Fuels a New Debate," JTA, 23 December 2002.

80. Press Release from Pierre and Marie-Curie University.

81. Benjamin Cohen, "UEJF/Paris VI: les coulisses de la mobilization," Tohu Bohu, no. 2, 2003 [French].

82. Ibid.

83. X. T. "Claude Lanzmann appelle au 'boycott des boycotteurs," Le Monde, 6 January 2003 [French].

84. The Associated Press, "UNESCO Criticizes French Isolation of Israeli Academics," The Jerusalem Post, 9 January, 2003.

85. Philip Carmel, "Critics, Rally Force Paris School to Back Off Israel Boycott Threat," JTA, 9 January 2003.

86. Cohen, "UEJF/Paris VI: les coulisses de la mobilization."

87. Ori Golan, "Same Word, Same Meaning," The Jerusalem Post Magazine, 17 January 2003.

88. Sharon Sadeh, "Death Threats against Pro-Israel Activists on Brussels Campus," Ha'aretz, 21 December 2002.

89. From a presentation by Laurence Weinbaum at a lecture on 3 April 2002, in the Herbert Berman series, at JCPA.

90. Sara D'Ascenzo, "Boicottiamo I prof israeliani: sostengono Sharon," Corriere Del Veneto, 8 February 2003 [Italian].

91. Ibid.

92. Silvia Grilli, "Venti di antisemitismo a Ca' Foscari," Panorama, 13 February 2003 [Italian].

93. See Maurizio Molinari, La Sinistra e Gli Ebrei in Italia: 1967-1993, (Milan: Corbaccio, 1995), pp. 93-94 [Italian].

94. The Conseil Representatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF) prepared a file on the product boycotts against Israel and how to counteract them. Mark Knobel, publication of CRIF on website: "Dossier: Le boycott des produits israeliens," 13 November 2002 [French].




98. "L'Universite Française sous Influence," Le Monde, 14 January 2003 [French].

99. Sue Fishkoff, "UK Scientist to Lead 'Anti-boycott' Mission," The Jerusalem Post, 5 March 2003.

100. Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, "70 Medical Professors Coming to Protest Divestment," The Jerusalem Post, 18 November 2002.

101. "What is IAFI?" International Academic Friends of Israel, www.

102. Will Woodward, "Lecturers Reject Call to Boycott Israel," The Guardian, 10 May 2003.

103. Ibid.

104. It has since been moved to Ohio State University partly as a result of public pressure in New Jersey.

105. Andrea Peyser, "Rutgers Gets 'F' for Putting Anti-Semitism 101 on the Schedule," New York Post, 9 July 2003.

106. Beckett, "It's Water on Stone."

107. "Corrections and Clarifications Column," The Guardian, 19 December 2002.

108. Douglas Davis, "Fears Voiced that Academic Boycott of Israel Could Endanger Lives," The Jerusalem Post, 15 December 2002.

109. Eisenthal, "Pro-Arab Body at Montreal School Shuts Campus Hillel over Israel Flier."

110. Peter Foster, "Academia Split over Boycott of Israel," The Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2002.

111. Anne Fohr, "Onde de choc à Jussieu," Nouvel Observateur, 16 January 2003 [French].

112. Melissa Radler, "GA Tackles Campus Attitudes to Israel," The Jerusalem Post, 21 November 2002.

113. Emmanuel Brenner, Les Territoires perdus de la Republique (Paris: Mille et Une Nuits, 2002) [French].

114. Patrick Healy, "Israeli Academics Hit Back Against Boycott," Boston Globe, 20 February 2003.

115. The Associated Press, "Minnesota University Agrees to Pay nearly $365,000 to Settle Allegations of Anti-Semitism," The Jerusalem Post, 4 December 2002.

116. Ruth R. Wisse, "Israel on Campus," Wall Street Journal, 16 December 2002.

117. Summers, "Address at Morning Prayers."

118. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, "J'ai honte!" Le Monde, 4 January 2003 [French].

119. Douglas Davis, "2 Nobel Winners Fight Anti-Israel Boycott," The Jerusalem Post, 21 July 2002.

120. Ibid.

121. Donald Kennedy, "When Science and Politics Don't Mix," Science, vol. 296, 7 June 2002.

122. Editorial, "Don't Boycott Israel's Scientists," Nature, vol. 417, May 2002.

123. Diana Jean Schemo, "Rejecting Boycott, Researchers Gather in Israel," The New York Times, 6 October 2002.

124. Daniel Foggo and Josie Clarke, "Boycott of Work by Israeli Scientists 'Could Cost Lives,'" The Daily Telegraph, 15 December 2002.

125. Toby Axelrod, "Academics Lining Up For and Against," JTA, 9 January 2003.

126. Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988).

127. Beckett, "It's Water on Stone."

128. Correction printed in The Guardian's 'Corrections and Clarifications' column.

129. Q&A with Zain Verjee, transcripts of television broadcast with CNN, aired on 12 July 2002.

130. Andrea Peyser, "Israeli Researchers Hit by Misguided Backlash," New York Post, 25 April 2003.

131. Original typos have been maintained.

132. Ibid.

133. Tovah Lazaroff, "Far from Academic," Jerusalem Post, 2 May 2002. 134. Personal communication from Shmuel Erlich.


136. Amnon Lord, "Lashon Laakedemia Haivrit," Makor Rishon, 22 August 2003 [Hebrew].

137. Ibid.

138. Press Communication of Oxford University, 27 June 2003.

139. Ibid.


141. Polly Curtis, "Academic Campaigner Backs Oxford's Israeli Rejection," The Guardian, 30 June 2003,

142., Press Release, 27 June 2003.

143. Luke Layfield, "Oxford 'Appalled' as Professor Inflames Boycott Row," The Guardian, 4 July 2003.

144. Press Communication of Oxford University, 4 July 2003.

145. Oxford University Students Union (OUSO), 7 July 2003.

146. Lucy Ward, "Oxford Suspends Don Who Rejected Student for Being Israeli," The Guardian, October 28, 2003.

147. Polly Curtis, "Suspension Not Enough for Oxford Don, Say Students," The Guardian, October 28, 2003.