Friday, June 1, 2007

Oppose the Boycott

Today, Tanner Tananbaum '10 blitzed the campus about an open letter that will be sent to Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the British University and College Union, which represents British professors. The UCU recently voted to boycott Israeli academia. Students can show their opposition to the boycott by signing the letter via blitz or in Thayer or Novack.

As an Israeli-American, I find this boycott to be outrageous and completely unacceptable. Regardless of your views about the Middle East conflict, it is blatently wrong for British academic institutions to discreminate against Israeli professors and Israeli research. Please show your support by signing the letter!

Here is the letter:
June 1st, 2007

Sally Hunt
General Secretary
Association of University Teachers
Egmont House
25-31 Tavistock Place

Dear Madam,

On May 30th, 2007, an organization that you represent, The British University and College Union (UCU), voted 158 to 99 to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

We, students at Dartmouth College, USA, recognize that this motion does not represent the sentiments of all members of the UCU. However, as a leader and spokesperson for the UCU, we feel that it is vital that you and your colleagues do all in your power to make sure this boycott does not come to fruition.

This boycott, if approved, would violate the sanctity of the educational process and create a precedent whereby any national organization, held captive by a vocal minority of its constituents, might enter the political fray and become a lightning rod for bias, bigotry and divisiveness. This is especially abhorrent when it involves academia, the one area of human endeavor, and until now human success, that is above the bickering and prejudice that has emplasticized so much of mankind today.

Do you really want the UCU to be remembered as an organization that led clear thinking people towards the abyss of conflict and conflagration? Are British educational leaders now going to punish and ostracize their compatriots in another country because they do not agree with the way that country is run?

To boycott Israeli academic institutions, to boycott the academic institutions of any country, will not benefit, change, move forward, or in any way alter the Middle East Peace Process. But your actions do have the potential to ostracize academics who live in a country that values individual expression and maintains the highest level of academic integrity and scholarship. Indeed, the schools of higher education in Israel, like those of Great Britain and The United States, have become a refuge for liberal thinkers and proponents of peaceful worldwide coexistence.

Academics and research, the two components at the receiving end of this boycott, are the core tenets of our liberal arts education here at Dartmouth. Dartmouth College and its liberal arts program rely on its internationally diverse student body and faculty to bring new ideas and solutions to the universal problems that are plaguing our planet.

We would be betraying the stated goals of this college, and all colleges and universities in the free world, if we did not register our protest at the ignoble proposal that the UCU has brought to the table. We are free men and women only as long as we allow others to be free. We can reach the highest plateaus of knowledge only as long as we allow the free flow of that knowledge. And we can bring forth new ideas and solutions to the problems of the world only as long as we do not automatically reject new ideas and solutions from others.

For all those reasons we at Dartmouth College request that you rescind your call for a boycott of Israeli institutions of higher learning at once:

A. Charles Tananbaum, Class of 2010, Alexander P. Lee, Class of 2010, Melisa Garber, Class of 2008, Nathaniel F. Obler, Class of 2010, Jay B. Markson, Class of 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing to UCU. May I please ask your readers to sign the on-line petition to oppose the UCU boycott, at:

Thank you!