Netanyahu to lead campaign against academic boycott

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

Moti Bassok | Haaretz | June 1, 2005

Universities fear additional attempts to declare boycott of Israel are expected in the near future. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to lead the campaign against the academic boycott targeting Israeli academic institutions. The international campaign being waged by Israeli universities will focus on the public and legal spheres, as well as on public relations. Netanyahu was asked to participate by Haifa University President Aharon Ben-Zeev. He will take part in the first conference of the task force against the boycott, which will be held at Haifa University. Other public figures and representatives of the Israeli institutions of higher learning will also participate. "The attempt to boycott Israeli academia isn't a boycott of academia at all," Netanyahu said Tuesday. "It is an attempt to boycott the entire State of Israel." Last week, the British Association of University Teachers decided to repeal the boycott of Haifa University, but institutions of higher learning in Israel fear that additional attempts to declare an academic boycott of Israel are to be expected in the near future on the part of large organizations overseas. "The repeal of the boycott last week is only a small victory in a battle that is not yet over. Everything must be done to foil any attempt to harm Israel and the Jewish people," Netanyahu said. "The campaign against the academic boycott is not only the concern of the academic community. This is an attempt to damage the State of Israel and its democratic character. Therefore, I have decided to stand by the institutions of higher learning and contribute whatever I can to the campaign," he added.