Bir Zeit perspective on boycott of Israeli academics

June 20, 2007

clipped from education.guardian.co.uk

“There has been a great hue and cry about the academic freedom of Israelis as if the academic freedom of Palestinians is of no consequence. The Israelis are not interested in academic freedom, they are interested in the protection of their own privileges,” she said.

Lisa Taraki, dean of graduate studies at Bir Zeit University, is puzzled by the uproar caused by the University and College Union’s decision to discuss a boycott of Israeli academics.

Bir Zeit was founded as a girls’ school in 1924, but started offering degrees 50 years later. The university’s students became regular protesters against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the small peaceful countryside campus was often showered with stones and sprayed with tear gas as the army tried to crack down on peaceful dissent.

Students from Gaza are banned from going to the West Bank although there are many subjects that are not taught at Gazan universities.
We do not want it be a local institution,” said Ms Taraki.
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