Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Head to head

Should we consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? Yes

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39266.495567.AD (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:124

Silencing dissent

Whether or not you are a critic of Israel it must be obvious from the

responses
received so far that there clearly are rational arguments in defense of
Israel,
critical of the Palestinians and Arab states, and against boycotts. And if
you
have followed the debate elsewhere you cannot help but know that what
Hickey
dismisses as "the great and the good" who mobilised
themselves (not "were mobilised") against the boycott includes many
members of the UCU itself(1), Nobel laureates, leaders of major
universities,
students unions, teachers unions, academies of
science, newspaper editorial writers, government ministers and opposition
leaders—in the UK, the USA, Canada and elsewhere(2). With all due respect
to
a
certain responder on the 24th, a Zionism capable of that quality of
bullying
and
lobbying would not still be having to fight boycotts and delegitimisation
six
decades after its
state
was created. Evidently there are two sides to this story.

Yet if the boycott were to take effect, one of the main effects—an
absolutely
intentional effect—would be to muzzle the Israeli side so that only the
Palestinian voice would have free rein within
the
academic community. You can be a critic of Israeli policy but if you have
a
scrap
of a sense of justice in you, you cannot support the intentional stifling
of one
side, and one side only, in this bitter conflict.

(1) Populus Ltd., Poll of UCU Members, July 3rd 2007

(2) Engage: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1207

Competing interests:
Jewish, Zionist and not fond of
being discriminated against

Competing interests: No competing interests

25 July 2007
Paul J Malin
Veterinary Surgeon
New Mexico, US