Oppose the Blacklist of Israeli Academics

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On April 22, 2005 the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in Britain voted to boycott two Israeli universities, Haifa and Bar-Ilan, and to blacklist their faculty. (Exemptions are offered for individuals who actively express satisfactory political views.) Delegates also approved resolutions mandating further inquiry into a proposed boycott of a third Israeli university, Hebrew University, and consideration of a proposal for a comprehensive blacklist of Israeli academics.* These decisions have caused widespread dismay both within the AUT membership and among many others around the world, including people with a wide range of views on political issues in the Middle East and the best ways to address them.

On May 3, 2005 the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a statement (reproduced below) that properly characterizes these AUT actions, and other proposals of this sort, as a threat to fundamental principles of academic and intellectual freedom everywhere. Therefore, the AAUP statement "joins in condemning these resolutions and in calling for their repeal."

The signers of the present petition strongly endorse this AAUP statement and call for it to be adopted without delay by other scholarly and academic associations in Britain and elsewhere, including the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association.

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* Reported and spelled out on the AUT website:
http://www.aut.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1201
http://www.aut.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1202
http://www.aut.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1203
http://www.aut.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=122
"{T}he boycott should take the form described in the Palestinian call for academic boycott of Israeli institutions." (http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/news/article178)

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AAUP website (http://www.aaup.org/)

Academic Boycott
The AAUP issued a statement on the British Association of University Teachers' academic boycott. Read the statement.(5/3/05)
Release date: 5/03/05
Contact: Jonathan Knight

Washington, D.C. - The American Association of University Professors issued the following statement:

ACADEMIC BOYCOTT

Delegates to a recent meeting of the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) approved resolutions that damage academic freedom. The resolutions call on all members of AUT to "refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration, or joint projects" with two universities in Israel, Haifa University and Bar Ilan University. Excluded from the ban are "conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state's colonial and racist policies," an exclusion which, because it requires compliance with a political or ideological test in order for an academic relationship to continue, deepens the injury to academic freedom rather than mitigates it.

These resolutions have been met with strong condemnation and calls for repeal within the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The American Association of University Professors joins in condemning these resolutions and in calling for their repeal. Since its founding in 1915, the AAUP has been committed to preserving and advancing the free exchange of ideas among academics irrespective of governmental policies and however unpalatable those policies may be viewed. We reject proposals that curtail the freedom of teachers and researchers to engage in work with academic colleagues, and we reaffirm the paramount importance of the freest possible international movement of scholars and ideas. The AAUP urges the AUT to support the right of all in the academic community to communicate freely with other academics on matters of professional interest.

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The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that promotes academic freedom by supporting tenure, academic due process, and standards of quality in higher education. The AAUP has 45,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

American Association of University Professors, 1012 Fourteenth Street, NW, Suite #500; Washington, DC 20005
202-737-5900 Fax: 202-737-5526

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