כ"ט לחודש העשירי תשע"ד
MKs: Israel must take threats of academic boycott seriously – or it will get worse.
Maayana Miskin, December 24, 2013
The American Studies Association (ASA) decision to support an academic boycott of Israel was a subject of debate in Knesset on Tuesday. The Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee discussed the decision and its implications for Israel and the world.
Committee head MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) expressed the opinion that all such boycotts are a bad idea. “There is no place for an academic boycott or for any involvement of politics in academia,” he declared.
“It’s important for Israel, but no less so, this principle is important for the advancement of humanity,” he continued. “Political debate should take place elsewhere.”
MK Nachman Shai (Labor), who called for Tuesday’s discussion, expressed concern over the lack of a coordinated Israeli response to the boycott.
“The phenomenon of boycotts against Israel is not a new one, and in practice, has been around for more than a few years,” he said. “Israel must not brush aside or ignore this latest occurrence.
“This could take on new dimensions, because one act can lead to action from other organizations as well,” he warned.
The Chancellor of Ariel University, former MK Yigal Cohen-Orgad, argued, “Whoever encourages harm to, or a boycott of, Ariel University harms scientific research in general, but also the Palestinian scientists and researchers who are working with us to improve all of our lives.” Ariel University in particular has faced boycotts due to its location in Samaria, east of the 1949 armistice line.
The ASA's boycott decision has been controversial among its members. Several universities have withdrawn from the organization over the boycott. No universities have actually come out in support of the boycott, which remains purely symbolic.
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Let's take these MKs' statements one by one:
MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ): “There is no place for an academic boycott or for any involvement of politics in academia,”He may be correct in theory, but he is either naive, or being careful with his words. I believe that it is time to stop being too careful with our words. This causes confusion among our audiences, for the sake of the safety of our positions. (Was I careful enough?)
MK Nachman Shai (Labor): "Israel must not brush aside or ignore this latest occurrence."Why not? Well, I am afraid to tell you that the Will of The Almighty does not appear to be at the forefront of his thoughts, if we take his words at face value. Western values and sensibilities, and concern over what the goyim (non-Jews) will say, seem to be more up his alley.
Chancellor Yigal Cohen-Orgad: “Whoever encourages harm to, or a boycott of, Ariel University harms... the Palestinian scientists and researchers...."He plays the "Peace with Palestinians" card, which is just as co-dependently whiny as MK Shai.
The following may be beyond the grasp of these last two, but I will post it here anyway:
וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר; וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ, כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה.(בראשית יב,ג)
And I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)In other words, what are you worried about what "they" think?
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz): ...the main cause of the boycott phenomenon is Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria (Shomron), which he termed an “occupation” that leads others to question Israel’s legitimacy....for last.
Whereas the above three are not as in touch with their souls' connection to Eretz Yisra'el, through the Torah; "Meretz" MK Horowitz is just representing the sheretz* party line.
U. S. President Ronald Reagan threatened then Prime Minister Yitzhaq Shamir with the withholding of loan guarantees, if he did not stop "settlement activity" in Yehudah, Shomron, and Azza (Judea, Samaria, and Gaza). Shamir refused, and we are still here.
I only wish that we would truly occupy these Divinely promised lands.
*sheretz = insect, bug; vermin