Academic boycott of Israel

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7391.713/c (Published 29 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:713

Academic boycott of Israel is the least we can do

  1. Nicholas S Hopkinson, clinical research fellow (n.hopkinson@ic.ac.uk)
  1. Royal Brompton Hospital, London SW3 6NP
  2. Durban Institute of Technology, PO Box 1334, Durban 4000, South Africa
  3. James Lind Library, Oxford OX2 7LG

    EDITOR—The BMJ “deplores” the call to boycott Israeli institutions.1 I believe that it is a mistake to reject a legitimate means of exerting influence on that state's racist and unlawful treatment of the Palestinian people. Sanctions—economic, sporting, and academic—were part of the pressure that finally ended the apartheid regime in South Africa. The fragmentation of the West Bank by Israeli settlements is reminiscent of that regime's Bantustan policy and has been condemned as such by veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle, including Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils.

    The BMJ has been diligent in reporting from Palestine; the denial of clean water supplies; the doubling of cases of child malnutrition in Gaza because of the Israeli blockade; the World Medical Association's condemnation of harassment of health workers in West Bank and Gaza.2 The UN has had to call for an end to Israeli “beating and killing” of its staff.3 Israel's policy of collective punishment and targeting of civilians contravenes the fourth protocol to the Geneva Convention.

    What price, then, “the universality of science” when the reality of academic life in the occupied territories is of students and professors being …

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