Selected Emails and Letters Received
Return to News and Articles
The following are letters sent to the Guardian as responses to this article:
IF TOM SEGEV SAYS IT, IT MUST BE TRUE
Letters (second letter)
May 24, 2005
One fact omitted from the anti-boycott advert in the Guardian (May 20)
that the boycott by the Association of University Teachers (AUT) of
Bar-Ilan University is based on its support for Ariel College, an
exclusively Jewish settlement constructed on illegally seized land in
occupied West Bank. Bar-Ilan supervises degree programmes at Ariel.
AUT resolution, which we hope is upheld this week, states that a
of Bar-Ilan should persist "until it severs all academic links" with
Ariel. As the Israeli commentator Tom Segev pointed out in Ha'aretz,
boycott hurts only "those Israelis who support the perpetuation of the
Israeli presence in the occupied territories".
We call on the British government and the EU to fall in line with the
principled stance of the AUT. States must ensure that no Israeli
institution that contributes to the violations of international law
inherent in the land seizures and construction of illegal settlements
the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories should qualify for any
government or EU-sponsored assistance.
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
Ian Macdonald QC
Piers Mostyn (Tooks Chambers)
Hannah Rought-Brooks (Tooks Chambers)
Hugh Southey (Tooks Chambers)
Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Ben-GurionUniversity
Oded Goldreich, Professor of Computer Science, Weizmann Institute of
Yehudith Harel, Israeli citizen
Annelien Kisch Kroon
Ramona Kuster Prof (emeritus) Moshי Machover
Dr Martha Mundy
Jonathan Rosenhead, Emeritus Professor of Operational Research, London
School of Economics
Gaenor Bruce (Tooks Chambers)
Stephen Cragg, (Doughty StreetChambers)
Khaleel Desai, solicitor
Purvis Ghani, solicitor
Leon Hill, solicitor
Claire Holland, solicitor
Kate Maynard, solicitor
Pauline McMillan, solicitor
Sadat Sayeed, (Two Garden CourtChambers)
Nina Tavakoli, solicitor
Paul Troop, (Tooks Chambers)
Dr Nina Mayorek
Lynne Reid Banks
Prof Hilary Rose
Prof Steven Rose
Dr Esther Saraga
ISRAEL AND NAZI GERMANY
Letters (third letter)
May 24, 2005
It is not AUT members supporting the boycott that remind me of the foe
that the "people of Britain" triumphed over 60 years ago (to quote the
anti-boycott ad) but the Israeli state with its repeated armed
into occupied land, destruction of houses and construction of a wall
exclude those of the wrong race or religion. The AUT should stand
Birmingham NUT executive
SOUTH AFRICANS SPEAK OUT: ISRAEL IS NOT AN APARTHEID STATE
Letters (fourth letter)
May 24, 2005
Sue Blackwell, of Birmingham University, asserts that: "Israel is an
apartheid state. It has many parallels with South Africa and the
(academic) boycott campaign models itself on the campaign against
As expat South Africans, some of us intimately involved in the
anti-apartheid struggle, we reject this parallel. Israel may adopt
policies with which we disagree, but the institutions of social
Israel do not bear comparison with the authoritarian and racist
of apartheid South Africa. To equate this with Israel distorts the
We would wish to support those in Palestine and Israel who are seeking
forge dialogue, and we cannot see that an academic boycott would
Leonard and Frances Weinreich
Prof Lewis Wolpert
Prof Sir Bob Hepple
Rabbi Sholomo Levin
Prof Lewis Wolpert FRS
Prof Geoffrey Dusheiko
Prof Leon Fine
Prof Siamon Gordon
Prof David Katz
Dr Jeanne Samon Katz
Dr Colin Lawrence
Prof Anthony W Segal FRS
Prof David Simon
HAIFA UNIVERSITY A HOTBED OF PEACE AND DIALOGUE
An open letter from an Israeli Moslem Druze student in London (As not
published by The Guardian)
My name is Amir Kneifiss and I am an Israeli Druze currently studying
towards an MSc. in Governance at the LSE. I am writing as a former
at Haifa University, the institute you decided to boycott a few weeks
and the place where I spent the best years of my life studying history
Haifa is a university in which one of every five students is Arab; in
which loud but civilised political debates take place regularly; and
in which nobody was ever denied his/her freedom of expression. In my
opinion, it is a hotbed of peace and dialogue that should be studied
model for coexistence and not the opposite. Nevertheless, misled by a
frustrated lecturer, you decided to boycott this amazing and diverse
Israel is much more complicated than a newspaper headline. As with
ethnic or national minorities around the world, there are difficulties
integrating Israeli-Arabs and other minorities into the mainstream
society. Much more needs to be done in these aspects. Yet, I am a firm
believer that change can be made through engagement in the many facets
Israeli democracy and I reject the false allegations portraying Israel
an apartheid and racist state. Not only it is wrong and deceptive, but
will do little to help us in the Middle East confront the real
and promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The misleading arguments about Haifa University are only one example.
disturbing is the one-sided depiction of Israel, portrayed by some
extremists who have never really intended to understand the
Nobody, for instance, mentioned that in Ariel College there are
300 Arab students and that only last week, three Israeli-Arab Mayors
publicly supported the College for its contribution to reducing
inequalities. Yes, the occupied territories should be used to
viable Palestinian State. Nevertheless, instead of boycotting Israeli
institutions, it is much more helpful to explore the various
capable of satisfying the interests of both sides (e.g. land swap).
An end to the occupation will not come from a blunt boycott, but from
pragmatic solutions accommodating both sides' desires. Only political
negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians - and not the
sanctions from the outside - will help to create a better future for
all. Therefore, although I am only in my twenties, I believe spreading
hatred is the most ineffective way of promoting these goals. We need
bridge the gap, not extend it.
If you oppose discrimination and believe in peace, open dialogue and
constructive debate, you should see why this boycott must be
It helps none of us and shows one-sided hostility to Israel more than
love of peace.
Please do write to me if you are interested in hearing more about my
of view, and please defend dialogue, for the benefit of all of us.
London School of Economics
PALESTINIAN UNION WANTS ACADEMIC FIRED
Palestinian union wants academic fired
By Khalid Amayreh
May 23, 2005
A Palestinian teachers union has called for the dismissal of Al-Quds
University President Sari Nusseibah for "normalising ties with Israel"
"serving Israeli propaganda interests".
A statement by the Palestinian Union of University Teachers and
(PUUTE), published on the front page of the Ram Allah-based daily
Al-Ayyam, on Monday accused Nusseibah of "normalising relations with
Sharon government" despite the Israeli prime minister's policy of
"bullying the Palestinians and stealing their land".
"This constitutes a strong blow to the Palestinian national consensus
against normalisation with Israel," said the statement.
"We call on all concerned parties within the Palestinian Authority,
including President Mahmoud Abbas and the Higher Education Council, to
take the necessary measures to put an end to this behaviour, which
represent the position of the Palestinian university teachers and
employees, and dismiss the president of the Al-Quds University."
The statement also accused Nusseibah of acting against a recent
by Britain's Association of University Teachers to boycott Israel's
and Bar Ilan universities.
British union boycott
The British union last month voted by a large majority to boycott
University, for violating academic freedom by harassing Professor Ilan
Pappe for criticising the Israeli occupation, and Bar Ilan University,
embracing a Jewish settler college in the occupied West Bank.
Last week, Nusseibah, who signed a cooperation agreement with Hebrew
University, reportedly criticised the British boycott, describing it
"wrong and unjustified".
He was quoted as saying that "problems should be resolved through
not through sanctions".
His remarks have been used by the Israelis in an effort to get the
union to reverse its decision.
Nusseibah's remarks angered the Palestinian academic community, which
accused Nusseibah of "allowing himself to be used by the powerful
lobby for the purpose of perpetuating Israeli settlement expansion in
Speaking to Aljazeera.net, a number of Palestinian academics denounced
Nusseibah for what they said was "acting against Palestinian
Hebron University professor
Awni Khatib, professor of chemistry at Hebron University, said: "He
(Nusseibah) criticised the British union boycott of two Israeli
universities, but he didn't utter a word against the routine Israeli
policy of closing Palestinian colleges and universities and of
roadblocks that prevent professors, employees and students from
Khatib said Palestinian academics were not against scientific
with their Israeli colleagues.
"What we are against is the manipulation by Israel of this cooperation
perpetuate inherently racist and discriminatory policies against our
Nusseibah was not available for comment.
However, Al-Quds University official Imad Abu Kishk defended
"overtures toward the Israeli society".
"We must open bridges between us and the Israeli society. Sharon is
hermetically closing Jerusalem and cutting it off from the West Bank;
is stealing our land and building more colonies. Hence, we must
communicate with the Israeli society and tell Israeli Jews that what
Sharon is doing is wrong," Abu Kishk told Aljazeera.net.
He added that cooperation with Hebrew University was necessary for the
survival of Al-Quds University.
Abu Kishk declined to elaborate on Nusseibah's criticisms of the
union's boycott decision.
Teachers union leader
"I have not read his statements in this regard, but I can tell you
will never have any dealings with the settler college in Ariel," Abu
However, Muhammed Abu Zeid, head of the Beir Zeit University Union of
Teachers and Employees, dismissed Kishk's arguments as "spurious and
"The world must understand that there is no symmetry between the
and the occupier. When we achieve freedom and independence, we can
cooperate with the Israelis as free men and women, not as subjects and
slaves with no civil, political or even human rights.
"And, yes, we are willing to cooperate with any Israeli academic and
institution that denounces the occupation of our land and persecution
Abu Zeid appealed to the British union not to change its decision.
Nusseibah, son of the Jordanian minister of defence during the 1967
Arab-Israeli war, Anwar Nusseibah, has been a controversial figure.
Two years ago, he and a former head of the domestic Israeli
service, the Shin Bet, signed in Switzerland the so-called Geneva
initiative, which stipulated that Israel had the right to be an
Nusseibah was accused of giving attention to Israeli needs while
[ Return to List of Letters ]