Top scientist moving to oppose boycott

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

Jenni Frazer | The Jewish Chronicle | 14 March 2003

Leading British neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield is putting together a high-level delegation of academics to visit Israel later this year, calling the trip her “positive response” to supporters of an academic boycott of Israel. Baroness Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, confirmed to the JC that she had planned to take a group of mainly British scientists to Israel in March. “However, because of academic diaries and a changing political situation, we are now going to wait until the autumn,” she said. She added that she had had some acceptances from the UK, and a “supportive” answer from a leading Egyptian scientist, Nobel prize-winner Ahmad Zuwail, a chemist who now teaches at America’s Cal Tech. Baroness Greenfield said she would like the group to visit Egypt and Jordan as well as Israel, if possible. She said: “Marcus Sieff [the late chairman of Marks & Spencer] once said that art and business have no boundaries. I would add science to that. I think that if we can show that it is business as usual, it is the best way to tackle the situation.” Baroness Greenfield is making a solo visit to Israel this weekend, where she will give scientific lectures at the Hebrew University; the Weizmann Institute, in Rehovot — where she is a member of the council; Haifa’s Technion; and Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba. She also plans to hold meetings with Israeli academics to discuss a potential collaboration project involving Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and British scientists. She told the JC that she had had “a very positive response from the Jordanian court,” which was keen to encourage such a project. Meanwhile, in Oxford, a British academic is trying to set up a fellowship for an Israeli medical student at the university’s John Radcliffe teaching hospital. The plan is to provide a research opportunity in Britain for a student of the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Stephen Kennedy, a reader in clinical medicine and honorary consultant at the hospital, told the JC that the scheme was one way of responding to the academic boycott. The idea is to select an Israeli student and then offer him or her the opportunity to work within the field of women’s health in Oxford. The post will comprise three years in Britain and one in Israel. It is hoped that the project will encourage more Israeli students to pursue their academic doctoral studies in the UK rather than the United States.