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Israel mobilises against campaign to exclude state from EU research programme

July 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Israel’s Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis has ‎instructed his office “to devise ways to ‎counter efforts” by Palestine solidarity activists in Europe to exclude the state from a forthcoming European Union ‎research and development ‎initiative, reported Israel Hayom.

According to the paper, “hundreds of European Parliament members recently ‎received a ‎letter, signed by ‎‎154 groups, ‎organisations and ‎unions from 16 ‎countries, urging them to ban Israeli companies, especially defence ‎contractors, from EU framework programmes”.‎

Israel is currently part of the EU’s R&D initiative, ‎‎Horizon 2020‎, with the next programme, so-called FP9, “will run from 2021 to ‎‎‎2027 and lays the foundation for Horizon Europe, an ‎‎ambitious €100 ‎billion ($116 billion) research and ‎‎innovation program meant to ‎succeed Horizon 2020”.

According to Israel Hayom, “Israeli officials are concerned that if the pro-‎‎Palestinian ‎activists ‎have their way, Israel will ‎‎lose billions of dollars in ‎technological and ‎‎‎scientific R&D grants.”

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“This is an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic initiative ‎and we must fight it using every resource at our disposal,” Akunis said Sunday, stressing the importance of “public diplomacy efforts directed at the ‎European capitals” to fight the Palestine solidarity campaigning.

Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen added: “As Israeli technology moves forward with global ‎inventions in the fields of medicine, water, cyber ‎and agriculture, the Palestinians are stuck in the ‎Stone Age, digging tunnels and flying kites.”