News / Middle East

Israeli University Heads Oppose Boycott of University in Occupied Territory

Students are seen at the Ariel University Center in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel, 09 Jan 2011
Students are seen at the Ariel University Center in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel, 09 Jan 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • Rivka Carmi, chairperson of the Israeli Committee of University Heads

Cecily Hilleary

A committee of Israeli university leaders has spoken out strongly against the recent boycott by a group of academics of an Israeli university in the occupied West Bank. Educators signed a petition refusing to participate in activities at the Ariel University Center of Samaria, which is located in Ariel, the fourth largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

Professor Rivka Carmi, president of Ben Gurion University of the Negev and chairperson of the Committee of University Heads in Israel, speaks with VOA's Cecily Hilleary.

Full interview with Professor Rivka Carmi:

Hilleary: The letter’s co-signers say they oppose the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the settlements themselves. I spoke with one of the signatories who said he was surprised by the reaction of the Committee of University Heads, of which you are president.  What was that reaction?

Rivka Carmi, president, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Rivka Carmi, president, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Carmi: Well, the reaction was very precise. We were saying actually what we were saying all along, that we are totally against academic boycotts. We have voiced this very decisive opinion for a long time now, and we have presented it and expressed it in every situation.  So this is nothing new.

We condemn boycotts, wherever and whenever - by out of Israel institutions, by Israeli institutions, against Israeli or non-Israeli institutions, by organizations, by individuals. We don’t think that there are different kinds of boycott.  A boycott is a boycott, and we are against it.

Interview with Dr. Nir Gov, professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rhehvet, who initiated the petition:

Hilleary: Ariel is a settlement and it does lie well into the West Bank.  Do you have an opinion and what would its fate be if a two-state solution were reached?

Carmi: My personal opinion is not relevant at all. And the presidents of the universities in Israel, this committee, is comprised of various people with various political opinions, which go all the way over the political map. And it’s not relevant, because what we are actually relating to is to the academic aspect of this issue and about boycott.

Hilleary: Let me ask you about those people who did sign the letter. Who are they, and how many of them - if any of them - are faculty members at Ariel [University]?

Carmi: I think all of them are [on] faculties at various academic institutions in Israel, mostly universities, about 150 or 160 of them, while the overall number of Israeli faculty is over 5,000. So it is a minority. Even if there are other supporters that didn’t sign the petition, it is still a minority of the academic body in Israel.

Hilleary: You are president of Ben Gurion University in the Negev. Were any of the professors at your own institution signatories?

Carmi: Yes.

Hilleary: Will this impact their standing within the University?

Carmi: Well, you know, this is a democratic country, and everybody is entitled to her or his own political views.  The only thing that we are against is for using the name of the institution that you are related to academically for such a petition, which is actually is presenting your own personal political view.  It has nothing to do with your status as a faculty member.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More