A UCT Boycott of Israel would be Disastrous

This week, the University of Cape Town (UCT) Senate is set to reconsider whether to support an ill-thought resolution passed in relation to Israel’s academic institutions in March this year. The resolution, rejected by the University Council and sent back to the Senate for reconsideration, proposes that UCT not enter “into any formal relationships with Israeli academic institutions operating in the occupied Palestinian territories as well as other Israeli academic institutions enabling gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories”.

Whether UCT should boycott Israeli academic institutions is not a matter comparable to rocket science or neurosurgery. It’s a simple matter, in my view. One that requires each and every one of us to embrace and respect the fact that academic freedom is supreme.

Many people, motivated and fueled by prejudice against Israel – the Jewish state – find it enormously difficult to uphold the values pertaining to academic freedom and free speech in relation to Israel. This is perplexing, given the current turbulent state of the world we live in…..

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