American Groups Lobby Against Israel Boycott in Norway

by E Wayne Ross on November 9, 2009

Inside Higher Ed: American Groups Lobby Against Israel Boycott in Norway

With a decision expected this week at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology on a proposal to boycott Israeli universities and academics, American groups are stepping up opposition to the boycott. The American Association of University Professors released a statement Friday urging the university to reject the boycott idea. “AAUP’s policy against academic boycotts — detailed in our 2006 statement on the subject — is based on the still more fundamental principle that free discussion among all faculty members worldwide should be encouraged, not inhibited. Certainly those Norwegian faculty members already working on joint projects with Israeli colleagues should not have their academic freedom taken away from them. In the long run, more, not less, dialogue with Israeli faculty members is an important way to promote peace in the region,” the statement says. Also last week, the Anti-Defamation League called on the European Union to disqualify from its exchange programs any university that adopts a boycott policy. Organizers of the boycott movement at the university could not be reached, but they outlined their position online, saying that “Israeli universities and other institutions of higher education have played a key role in the policy of oppression. A substantial proportion of academics are directly involved in the country’s advanced weapon industry; social scientists play a central role in the construction of a nation of occupation; historians and archaeologists are important in the development of the Zionist ideology and renouncement of Palestinian history and identity.” A spokeswoman said that Rector Torbjørn Digernes has drafted a resolution for the board to reject the boycott call. The resolution is available (in Norwegian) here.