Uni Admissions Scandal

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

Jeremy Last | Totally Jewish | 3 July 2003

The Israeli student at the centre of the Oxford university admissions scandal has told TJ that his rejection has made him think twice about applying to other universities in Britain. Amit Duvshani, 26, was refused a work placement at an Oxford University laboratory by Professor Andrew Wilkie because he did not agree with Israel’s “appalling treatment” of the Palestinians. Duvshani told TJ: “I am not sure what I will do now. I am thinking that maybe I will go to the United States because they are more open to foreigners. I would not consider working at Oxford University now, even if the professor asked me to. I do not want to work for someone who thinks this way.” The Tel Aviv university student, who is currently completing a masters in molecular biology, wrote to Wilkie on 23 June to enquire about the possibility of working in his laboratory next year. In his reply the pathology professor said: “Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because they (the Palestinians) wish to live in their own country. “I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army.” Duvshani said: “Obviously I’m feeling insulted, I did not expect that anti-semitism is so popular in Britain. “I was shocked that the professor expressed his opinion in this way because it would have been easier for him to reject me on a scientific basis and then he would not have had to explain anything.” Oxford university has promised “an immediate and thorough investigation” and in an official apology Wilkie said: “"I recognise and apologise for any distress caused by my email of 23 June and the wholly inappropriate expression of my personal opinions in that document.” However Duvshani said he did not feel the explanation was genuine. He said: “I think the professor was forced to write the apology. He does not sound very sincere.” Wilkie’s comments of have drawn widespread condemnation from the Jewish and Anglo-Israeli communities. Neville Nagler, director general of the Board of Deputies, said: “It is totally unacceptable for any individual academic to operate a boycott on ground of nationality. It is contrary to race relation act. We are calling on Oxford to investigate in great depth and set up arrangements to ensure such an incident could not happen again.” And Ronnie Fraser, spokesman for the Anglo Academic Friends of Israel, said: “This form of discrimination needs to be challenged on a personal level and Oxford university must have disciplinary procedures in place for breaches of its equal opportunities and anti racist policies.”