University heads protest boycott

Nearly 300 university presidents signed on to a full-page advertisement in Wednesday’s New York Times protesting the academic boycott of Israel.

“Boycott Israeli Universities? Boycott Ours, Too!” read the ad, organized by the American Jewish Committee in response to a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the British University and College Union. The ad featured a statement by Lee Bollinger, president of New York’s Columbia University, endorsed by the other presidents.

“At Columbia I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate – as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their government’s policies,” Bollinger wrote. “Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.”

Among the signatories were the presidents of Brandeis, the University of California-Berkeley, Northwestern, Penn State, Tufts and Princeton.

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