AAAS Calls for "Immediate Repeal" of British Boycott Targeting Israeli Universities
AAAS, the world's largest general science society, today urged an "immediate repeal" of a British Association of University Teachers' resolution, which calls on its members to "refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, or joint projects," with two universities in Israel.
"Multi-national research collaboration should never be compromised to advance a political agenda," said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of the journal Science. "We join others, both inside and outside the United Kingdom, in condemning this boycott, which is counter to the positive role of free scientific inquiry."
Leshner's comments were supported by a statement from the AAAS Board of Directors declaring opposition to the boycott. The statement notes, in part, that AAAS, established in 1848, has repeatedly "stressed the importance of safeguarding free and open communication among scientists."
Moreover, the statement concludes that "in the context of the highly charged atmosphere of the Middle East, it is crucial to keep the channels of communication open in order to foster a dialogue that is inclusive of all affected people."
The British Association of University Teachers voted last month to boycott Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities, charging them with complicity in Israel's "suppression of the Palestinians." Officials at the two universities have denied the charge, and countered that the boycott vote was based on inaccurate information. The council of the faculty association is expected to reconsider the controversial decision this week.
Read the full text of the statement by the AAAS Board.
25 May 2005