Israeli groups proud of University for opposing boycott

Israeli groups on campus have joined University administrators in opposing the American Studies Association’s resolution for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions–a decision these students believe is appropriate for an “international” university.

Fay Goldstein, president of pro-Israel student organization Shalom FIU, thinks it only makes sense for the University to oppose the boycott.

“As a University that is proud to be a top ‘research university,’ this boycott would not only harm the Israeli institutions involved, but also FIU’s academic advancement and research,” said Goldstein, a senior international relations major.

The boycott was called for by the Palestinian civil society in response to alleged violations of human rights. This will eliminate the association’s participation in Israeli conferences and public lectures, as well as prevent representatives of Israeli academic institutions from participating in ASA meetings.

President Mark B. Rosenberg and Provost and Executive Vice President Douglas Wartzok denounced the boycott in a University-wide email, joining schools including Harvard, Yale, Boston University, University of Florida and University of Miami in opposition.

Roseberg and Wartzok cited academic freedom for all.

“Throughout my years here as a student, I have come to realize the necessity of a free academic environment,” Goldstein said. “I am relieved and I am proud to be a student at a University that disapproves of the attempt to restrict academic inquiry and instead upholds the pillars of education and academia in all realms.”

The Hillel Young Adult Division holds the same pride.

“We are very honored that the University agreed to act against the boycott for freedom for academics,” said Or Kaidar, an Israeli fellow and member of the Hillel Young Adult Division.

Kaidar believes the boycott is a double standard.

“It’s okay to criticize, but it’s not okay to single out a group or a country,” Kaidar said. “There’s no boycott of Iran or Iraq for their wrongdoings.”

Kaidar said Israel is “working on it” and could use support rather than a boycott.

“The boycott doesn’t help the peace process at all,” Kaidar said. “I think continuing with peace documents and internal talks is important.”

Both Goldstein and Kaidar pointed to Israeli’s contributions to both the academia and Palestine. Goldstein cited “countless advances in every academic field” like scientific research and non-political issues.

Kaidar said Israelis have provided Palestinians with water and electricity.

Goldstein believes that instead of a boycott restricting academia, academia should be used to engage Israelis and Palestinians in academic discourse and discussions to solve issues.

“By boycotting academic research and knowledge, you leave no room for  balanced conclusions or research,” Goldstein said. “Advancing education and promoting knowledge is the first step to peaceful communication and resolutions.”

Students for Justice in Palestine was unavailable for comment.


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