Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Head to head

Should we consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? Yes

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:124

Get educated not indoctrinated

Quote from "Ignored by the Brits" by Amir Hanifes:

“As a holder of two degrees from the University of Haifa and a PhD student at the University of London, I traveled to Bournemouth for the meeting of the British University and College Union (UCU) as an Israeli delegate on behalf of the Israeli Council for Academic Freedom……… They were uninterested in the fact that Arab students, who view themselves as a national minority in the State of Israel…………enjoy the freedom to act politically and on the public relations front.……..the figures we presented were futile, because all they cared about was their one and only objective: De-legitimizing the State of Israel with no relation to its academia; presenting it as an apartheid state that deprives its minorities of elementary rights such as education and the freedom of expression…”

Dr Hanifes writes exactly of those issues I do not understand. Here we have a non Jewish minority Israeli citizen explaining to our academic elite the freedom he enjoys as an Israeli citizen and yet they ignore him and persist with their call to boycott Israeli academics. I really do not understand this kind of prejudice. What is it that makes educators and doctors not accept facts that are presented to them by the very people who enjoy those freedoms they deny exist? Why do they persist that Israel is an apartheid state when this very distinguished and accomplished Druze-Israeli tells them otherwise? Surely he is an expert in this field, the source material they ought to be researching instead of listening to the hatred in their souls and the indoctrination of those who would that Israel did not exists? How is it that we in the UK entrust the education of our children to such people? Is the kind of education they provide not suspect if they are simply unable to accept hard evidence placed before them?

We have now witnessed terrorists from the depths of the Islamic medical fraternity; yes doctors who are prepared to kill instead of saving lives. Has anybody wondered whether they might have been treated by one of them? Imagine if they had decided death by poisoned injection rather than car bombs! Yes they might have been more successful in administering a phial of toxic poison to each patient they treated rather than becoming amateur bomb makers! And yet the BMJ runs a discussion on the question of ostracizing not the institutions those terrorists emanate from, but Israeli institutions that the eminent Druze-Israeli Doctor tells them acts in total freedom and acceptance of all. Have we heard of Israeli doctors and professors carrying out acts of terror in London and Glasgow? No, but we did read of an Israeli doctor on holiday on 7/7 who immediately went down to the terrorist bomb site in Holborn to help the injured. How could he do this? Simply because he is a Jew with a Jewish code of ethics who had unfortunately amassed a great deal of expertise in helping Israeli victims of Arab terrorism.

What are the criteria for boycotting the righteous and not the terrorists? Is the hatred harbored for Jews so great that people will place the education of their own children in jeopardy rather than shout from the roof tops that such prejudices should not be tolerated in a democratic civilized society? Why do we not hear a chorus of objection to this call for academic boycott of Israel ringing out from the depths of our government, churches and civil society? Instead we have the official organ of our Medical Association becoming involved in politics. Will it ever be trusted again by real academics to have their articles reviewed and published without a preconceived prejudice? Maybe a reviewer has a prejudice against women, or black people or gays and is influenced by that. Is this call to Boycott Israel not in the same vein?

I doubt that any self respecting researcher would ever again submit an article to the BMJ for publication and I doubt that anybody of worth in the medical fraternity will trust what they read in such a journal.

Competing interests:
I am a Jewish mother who feels despair for western civilasation whose survival is in the hands of our ill educated academics.

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 July 2007
Sharon Klaff
Ex radiographer now teaching yoga
London, UK