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Why BDS makes such simple, and peaceful, sense

The critics, and usual suspects, can howl as much as they want - and make the now customary allegations of anti-Zionism, anti-Israel and anti-semitism - about BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions ) in relation to Israel, but as this piece in The Electronic Intifada so clearly shows, academia in Israel is closely aligned with anti-Palestinian activities.

"Dozens of academics from Israel and abroad, worried about the threat of academic boycott, have sent a petition to Tel Aviv University (TAU) requesting the cancelation of the university’s participation in the settler-run archaeological dig in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

The partnership between TAU and Elad’s project was revealed in October, and TAU’s Institute of Archaeology began digging in the “City of David” national park last week. Elad “is responsible for settling over 500 Israeli Jews throughout Silwan,” and the organization’s director “has himself been caught on tape admitting the digs he oversees endanger Palestinian homes situated above.”

The university’s response to what TAU archaeologist Prof. Rafael Greenberg has called “a clear politicization of research” has been to defend the dig on the grounds that it “will be carried out using modern scientific methods, at the highest professional standards, with particular attention paid to professional ethics.”

TAU is not alone in its relationship with the settler group’s project in Silwan; Hebrew University now offers an “Archaeological Field Summer School” at the City of David, where students can gain credit for the studies.

The organizers of the petition to TAU, worried about damage to their efforts to fight support for the Palestinian call for academic boycott, claimed that a boycott has already begun to bite. In the words of Prof. Sidra Ezrahi:

Tel Aviv University would be causing immeasurable damage to academia in general and to our desperate efforts to steer clear of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel in particular. We’re already getting cancellations of conference participation and this is playing straight into the hands of the BDS movement.

This follows a familiar pattern whereby so-called liberal critics of Israeli government policies are motivated by concern for the country’s international image and a desire to combat the BDS campaign. For example, opposition in 2008 to freedom of movement restrictions on Palestinian students from the West Bank was partly due to the assumption that the policy helps “those who are trying to impose an academic boycott on Israel.”

Tel Aviv University’s role in occupation

In fact, TAU’s relationship with the Elad dig in occupied Silwan is not even the half of it, in terms of the university’s complicity with grave violations of international law and human rights abuses.

TAU is proud of its intimate relationship with the state and the military. As the Winter 2008-2009 edition of TAU’s Review put it, the university “is at the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge.” In the same issue, President Zvi Galil boasted of “how much TAU contributes to Israel’s security,” adding that he is “awed by the magnitude and scientific creativity of the work being done behind the scenes at TAU that enhances the country’s civilian defense capabilities and military edge.”

Continue reading here.

 

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