A letter to Professor Sigmund Grønmo, Rector of Bergen University
January 31, 2010
Dear Professor Grønmo,
We are a group of Palestinians and Jews, citizens and residents of Israel, who are struggling to end the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians. We are writing to you in order to support your courageous decision to allow an open debate regarding the possibility of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Following PACBI’s Open Letter to your university community, urging you all to boycott the Israeli Academy, we too wish to encourage you to seriously consider responding positively to the Palestinian call for an Academic and Cultural boycott of Israel and implementing their request for a comprehensive academic and cultural boycott of Israeli academic institutions. We fully endorse PACBI’s request that you “declare that Israeli universities cannot be considered normal partners in the pursuit of academic endeavors, so long as they continue to collude in the perpetration of human rights violations and, in some cases, war crimes”.
That the Israeli academy is complicit in the occupation is obvious, given the consistent failure of its heads and senates to protest the occupation of Palestinian territory and the brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian academic colleagues. This longstanding complicity by omission is compounded by the active participation of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation machinery. As demonstrated in Uri Yacobi Keller’s (2009) recent report, Israeli universities are part and parcel of the occupation industry. The Technion, in Haifa, is one paradigmatic example. For instance, the Technion is developing a remote-controlled house-razing bulldozer and a combat drone; it is training engineers specifically for Rafael, the former affiliate of the Israeli military that develops and produces its new combat-related technologies; and it is collaborating with Elbit - one of two main providers of the electronic detection fence for the seam line and Wall project in the occupied West Bank - in opening a joint electro-optics R&D center to position Elbit to provide additional products to the military.
As documented in Yacobi Keller’s report, other Israeli universities are also implicated in cooperating with the armaments industry.
We urge you, for as long as Israel continues to flout international and humanitarian law, not to afford Israeli academic institutions the privileges of “business as usual”. Take a moral decision and boycott the Israeli academy.
Lilach Ben- David
Prof. Rachel Giora
Prof. Jeff Halper
Dr. Anat Matar
Dr. Dorothy Naor
Dr. David Nir
Atty. Emily Schaeffer
Dr. Kobi Snitz
Members and supporters of
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within!