Education minister slams Haifa historian for supporting academic boycott

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

Tamara Traubman | Haaretz | 13 May 2005

Education Minister Limor Livnat slammed Dr. Ilan Pappe, a Haifa University historian, on Thursday for supporting the academic boycott on Israel imposed by Britain's Association of University Teachers (AUT). She said it is permissible to criticize, but not to undermine the Jewish state's right to exist. "No one may approach our enemies and ask them to boycott," she said at Israel Prize ceremony held at the Jerusalem Theater. Bar-Ilan University has created a new Web site to enlist academics to oppose the boycott that the AUT declared against it and the University of Haifa. The two universities have been attempting to increase pressure on the AUT ahead of its special meeting called to reconsider the boycott, to be held in two weeks. The AUT announced the meeting in response to an official request submitted by more than 25 of its members, which under AUT rules allows its decisions to be reopened for discussion. The site, launched Wednesday, carries an appeal from Bar-Ilan rector Prof. Yosef Yeshurun for academics in Israel and abroad to join a new association called the International Advisory Board (IAB) for Academic Freedom of Bar-Ilan University. According to its mission statement, the IAB "will undertake actions and steps to guarantee freedom of thought and expression at Bar-Ilan, as well as at other Israeli and non-Israeli institutions of higher education." The site contains information on the boycott along with articles, letters, and responses it has elicited from around the world. On Tuesday, the University of Haifa sent a letter to the AUT threatening to sue the British organization for libel. Jewish organizations and British university lecturers - mostly Jewish - who object to the boycott are trying to recruit as many AUT members as possible to ensure the boycott is canceled at the gathering later this month.