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Israel universities’ head criticises government’s anti-boycott strategy

February 27, 2019 at 1:07 pm

The University of Haifa [Zvi Roger/Wikipedia]

The chair of Israel’s association of university heads has criticised the government for what he has described as its mishandling of the battle against the Palestinian-led boycott movement.

As reported by the Associated Press, Ron Robin, president of the University of Haifa, acknowledged in remarks yesterday that Israeli universities have felt pressure from the boycott movement.

This pressure “usually” comes “through what he called a ‘grey’ boycott in which overseas colleagues refuse to collaborate on projects without offering explanations”, the report stated.

Robin added that the Israeli government “has confronted the boycott movement largely by promoting anti-boycott legislation overseas”.

The university head, however, said “he thinks Israeli universities are better off making a ‘moral’ case by stressing their diversity and inclusiveness”, including by pointing to the number of Palestinian citizens who attend institutions like Haifa.

The Palestinian boycott call – or the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – urges an institutional boycott of Israeli universities on the basis of the latter’s complicity in military occupation, war crimes and other human rights abuses.

READ: Israel intelligence company pursued BDS activists