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Muted response by Sharon after suicide bombs

University drops Israeli boycott

Leader: Shortsighted Sharon

Britain and Israel in furious row as Blair peace talks are scuppered

Blair pleads with Israel to save summit

Theatre producer Michael Kustow on the theatre of war

Angry Sharon snubs Blair's peace summit

Israel tests new missile system

Suicide bombs kill 23 in Israel

No 10 may cancel Middle East summit

Analysis: Bombings reveal limits of Israel's militarism

A trade in deaths

Blair to host new Palestinian talks

No 10 bids to save peace process

The challenges facing Israel's peace candidate

British academic boycott of Israel gathers pace

Andy Beckett and Ewen MacAskill
Thursday December 12, 2002
The Guardian

Evidence is growing that a British boycott of Israeli academics is gathering pace.

British academics have delivered a series of snubs to their Israeli counterparts since the idea of a boycott first gained ground in the spring.

In interviews with the Guardian, British and Israeli academics listed various incidents in which visits, research projects and publication of articles have been blocked.

Colin Blakemore, an Oxford University professor of physiology, who supports a boycott, said: "I do not know of any British academic who has been to a conference in Israel in the last six months."

Dr Oren Yiftachel, a left-wing Israeli academic at Ben Gurion University, complained that an article he had co-authored with a Palestinian was initially rejected by the respected British journal Political Geography. He said it was returned to him unopened with a note stating that Political Geography could not accept a submission from Israel.

Mr Yiftachel said that, after months of negotiation, the article is to be published but only after he agreed to make substantial revisions, including making a comparison between his homeland and apartheid South Africa.

The issue of a boycott was highlighted in the spring when two British academics, Steven and Hilary Rose, had a letter published in the Guardian supporting the idea. It was signed by 123 other academics.

Professor Paul Zinger, outgoing head of the Israeli Science Foundation, said: "Every year we send most of our research papers abroad for reference. We send out about 7,000 papers a year. This year, for the first time, we had people writing back, about 25 of them, saying 'We refuse to look at these'."

The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and Clarifications column, Thursday December 19 2002

In this report we referred to the treatment of a paper written by Professor Oren Yiftachel of Ben Gurion University and Dr Asad Ghanem of Haifa University, which was submitted to the journal Political Geography. We reported that Professor Yiftachel had, after a protracted dispute, agreed to revise the paper according to suggestions made by Political Geography, including the insertion of a comparison of Israel and apartheid South Africa, and that on this basis the paper had been accepted for publication. We now understand that the paper's acceptance for publication has not been guaranteed, and that agreement has not been reached between Professor Yiftachel and Dr Ghanem and Political Geography over all the changes the journal suggested - in particular the comparison of Israel and South Africa. Professor Yiftachel and Dr Ghanem have received a list of comments and suggestions from three academic referees appointed by Political Geography, and they are considering what revisions are most appropriate for the paper, purely on scholarly grounds. Whatever revisions are finally made, the paper will then be refereed again. Professor Yiftachel, as we reported, has consistently opposed the academic boycott, and he remains committed to his position, as well as to the ending of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Professor Mona Baker
22.11.2002: Petition urges Umist to drop Israeli inquiry
01.10.2002: Umist to investigate Israeli sackings
11.07.2002: Morris condemns Israeli sacking
08.07.2002: Israeli boycott divides academics

Related articles
18.11.2002: Anti-Israel motion upsets Jewish group
25.10.2002: Academic accused of promoting anti-semitism
30.09.2002: Anti-Israel row recurs at college
09.07.2002: Students attack Israel boycott

Israeli and Palestinian universities
30.07.2002: Academics appeal for West Bank education rights
12.07.2002: Palestinian university building closed by Israelis

Tom Paulin and Harvard
21.11.2002: Harvard overturns bar on Oxford poet
14.11.2002: Harvard bars Oxford poet

01.10.2002: Web warfare
06.08.2002: Time for a rethink
22.07.2002: The gesture politics of an Israel boycott
17.07.2002: Watch who you call Nazis
09.07.2002: Leader: Contact with Israel is the better way
19.07.2002: No return
12.03.2002: Discarding the dogma
05.03.2002: And still we rise

Talk about it
Have your say on the academic boycott

23.07.2002: 'One-sided and unworthy of serious attention'
23.07.2002: 'We will not do business as usual with a racist state'
17.07.2002: More splits over the academic boycott of Israel
11.07.2002: Ethics and academic boycotts
09.07.2002: Divisions on the boycott

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