British academics protest Israel museum exhibit


LONDON (JTA ) — A group of anti-Israel academics chided London’s Science Museum for renting space for an exhibition celebrating Israel’s scientific achievements. 

In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, the academics called on the museum to cancel the Israel Day of Science on the grounds that Israel is using science in its attacks on Palestinians, especially during the recent military operation in Gaza.

The group is mostly supporters of the numerous failed attempts to impose an academic boycott on Israel. They blamed Israel for "war crimes in Gaza," and attempted to show the close links between Israeli universities and the military.

The Zionist Federation of Great Britain has invited students aged 16 to 18 to visit the exhibit next month. A similar exhibition will be held at the Manchester Museum of Science in Industry in North England.

More than 1,000 students from 25 schools around London have confirmed their interest in visiting the exhibition. 

The academics wrote in their letter that the event "is promoted by the Zionist Federation and is designed to showcase the scientific achievements of seven Israeli universities. But all of these are complicit in the Israeli occupation and in the policies and weaponry so recently deployed to such disastrous effect in Gaza."

The group also claims that the museum’s association with such an event might have a negative effect on young people.

"What reaction can be expected from the many young people, already disaffected from science, who will associate the science museum with this Israeli public relations exercise?" its letter said. "The event is being billed as a celebration of science. In fact, it is an attempted celebration of Israel."

In a statement, the Science Museum said, "The event is scientific, non-political and aimed at the educational sector." It added that "The Science Museum was chosen as a venue in order to make it more interesting for the students and to encourage schools to participate."

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