The idea of an academic boycott of Israel first emerged in 2002 as part of the growing boycott and divestment campaign against Israel, itself a part of the struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the violation of Palestinian human and national rights. Compared to other types of boycott, the academic boycott has gathered a relative amount of widespread support amongst academic unions and organizations, primarily in Great Britain. Not surprisingly, this relative success has stirred a public debate and opposition to the boycott, mostly by pro-Israeli organizations and academics. The campaign for academic boycott has wavered under these pressures and various degrees and measures of boycott have since been approved and then often canceled by academic organizations. The arguments in favor of this kind of boycott have relied largely on the facts of the Israeli occupation and the idea of pressuring Israel through its academic world; often, they have not utilised details relating to the specific academic institutions that they call to boycott.
Through this report, however, the Alternative Information Center (AIC) aims to inform and empower the debate on an academic boycott by giving information not on Israeli violence and violations of international law and human rights, but on the part played in the Israeli occupation by the very academic institutions in question. The report demonstrates that Israeli academic institutions have not opted to take a neutral, apolitical position toward the Israeli occupation but to fully support the Israeli security forces and policies toward the Palestinians, despite the serious suspicions of crimes and atrocities hovering over them. Any who argue either for or against an academic boycott against Israeli institutions, we believe, should know and consider not only facts regarding the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), but also the ways in which the Israeli academic institutions make political choices and actively take sides in the ongoing conflict.
This report deals with relevant facts about the connections between Israeli academic institutions and the occupation. It is doubtful that in the process of researching this report all facts relevant to the subject were uncovered, especially since some of the economic connections between academic institutions and private companies are actively hidden by the parties involved. The involvement of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation takes many forms and scopes, and not all Israeli academic institutions can be said to be involved on the same scale. However, all main Israeli academic institutions are involved in the occupation. Indeed, all major Israeli academic institutions, certainly the ones with the strongest international connections, were found to provide unquestionable support to Israel’s occupation. Some of the details depicted in this report are evidence of blunt and direct support to the occupation while others are more minor details, which, nonetheless, provide a clear indication of the political stance taken by academic institutions.
It should be noted that the Israeli security forces are the prime proponents of the occupation and therefore any aid given to them is considered here as support for the occupation. It is probable that universities in other countries may also occasionally support the local security forces. However the situation of the Israeli army is unlike that of other armies around the world and no support given to the Israeli security agencies can be defined as “neutral.”
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