Thursday, October 26, 2006

No to the ban on Palestinian students!

Engage, the campaign originally set up to oppose the academic boycott of Israel, has now taken up the cause of Palestininan students, presently banned from attending Israeli universities:

"At a time when Israeli professors are rightfully opposing attempts to prevent them from teaching - just because they are Israeli - Gisha (the Centre for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement) calls upon Israel not to prevent Palestinian students from studying - just because they are Palestinian. Academic freedom is universal", says Sari Bashi, Director of Gisha.

Engage believes that academic international exchange is a Good Thing in and of itself and can form part of the path to peace: "Engage unambigiously opposes all attempts to apply discrimination on the basis of nationality, to academic interchange, whether in the form of a boycott of Israeli institutions and individuals, or in the form of a universal ban on Palestinians studying in Israel".

Israel's universities are also taking a strong stand on this issue.

The Engage statement continues: "While ongoing calls to boycott Israeli Jewish academics and institutions are a vicious attack on academic freedom, a blanket ban on Palestinian admittance to Isreali universities is also a serious attack on fundamental human rights. Israel's academic institutions have a policy of open entry to anyone who meets their academic criteria without regard to gender, religion, ethnicity or nationality. They should be allowed to continue to make their own judgements on who they admit. The Government-imposed ban should be rescinded immediately".

Please help bring this issue to wider attention and help promote practical suggestions for solidarity with Israeli and Palestinian academics and institutions seeking the reversal of this ban, by following the proposals recommended by Dr Paul Frosh of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem here and Jon Pike and Engage here.

You can also write to the Israeli Education Minister Yuli Tamir (who has come out against the ban), supporting her position and demanding the immediate cancellation of the ban:

MK Professor Yuli Tamir, Minister of Education, Education Ministry, Jerusalem, Israel. Fax: 02-5602246; email:


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