Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

German Academy Speaks out Against Proposed Israel Boycott

May 16, 2002
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A German scientific society is condemning calls for an academic boycott of Israel.

The board of the Berlin-Brandenburg Scientific Academy was slated to announce at a news conference Thursday its strong opposition to the boycott, which was published in The Guardian of London on April 6.

The boycott said it would be “timely” to call a moratorium on European-Israeli academic cooperation “until Israel abide[s] by U.N. resolutions and open serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians, along the lines proposed in many peace plans including most recently that sponsored by the Saudis and the Arab League.”

In a statement before the news conference, the board rejected the boycott “not only because of” the academy’s “friendship and cooperation with the Israeli Academy of Sciences in Jerusalem,” but “above all because it considers the abuse of science and culture as hostages for a worthwhile political cause as unacceptable methods, deserving of severe criticism.”

“These kinds of methods do not affect those who are responsible, and discourage those who are promoting reason, dialogue and cooperation,” the statement said.

In a statement before the press conference, visiting Israeli scholar Yael Tamir expressed her concern that some Israelis support the sanctions.

“It reinforces distrust toward the Israeli peace camp and substantially reduces the prospect of broadening the popular base of that camp,” said Tamir, a philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University.

In a related issue, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe reportedly has been threatened with losing his position at the University of Haifa, in part because of his support for the anti-Israel boycott.

Pappe is among the most radical of a group of scholars known as the “New Historians,” who in recent years have propounded revisionist views of Israel and the Zionist movement.

In an e-mail letter circulated to supporters, Pappe suggested that the university’s attempts to censure him were “a McCarthyist charade.”

Recommended from JTA