AAAS Welcomes Repeal of British Boycott Targeting Israeli Universities
AAAS, the world's largest general science society, welcomed the repeal today of a British Association of University Teachers' resolution, which called 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. AAAS joined other organizations, both inside and outside the United Kingdom, in condemning the boycott, which it had called counter to the positive role of free scientific inquiry.
The AAAS Board of Directors declared its opposition to the boycott in a 23 May statement noting, in part, that AAAS, established in 1848, has repeatedly "stressed the importance of safeguarding free and open communication among scientists."
Moreover, the statement concluded 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 reconsidered the controversial resolution this week and decided to repeal it.
Read the full text of the statement by the AAAS Board.
26 May 2005