A British professor has refused a request to write an article for an academic journal funded by Israeli universities, as part of his academic boycott against Israel, Israeli daily Haaretz said Thursday. He is one of a group of prominent British, European and American academics who are actively boycotting Israel.
"Alas, I am unable to accept your kind invitation, for reasons that you may not like. I have, along with many other British academics, signed the academic boycott of Israel, in the face of the brutal and illegal expansionism and the slow-motion ethnic cleansing being practiced by your government," Professor Richard Seaford, from the University of Exeter in England, wrote to Dr. Daniella Dueck, a lecturer at Bar Ilan University and a member of the Scripta Classica Israelica editorial board. Scripta Classica Israelica had requested that Seaford write a book review for the journal.
Seaford, the Head of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Exeter University, told Haaretz that the academic boycott "is just a small contribution to the long-term raising of international consciousness which represents the only hope for an eventual just peace in the Middle East. In this respect, there is a parallel with the academic boycott of Apartheid South Africa."
When asked why boycotts specifically target academics, Seaford told Haaretz, "Though many charges of racism have been directed against Israeli universities, we do not want academics of all people to be boycotted: We would be delighted if there were other boycotts."
On May 27-29, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will debate the academic boycott against Israel.
In March, the London Jewish Chronicle reported that U.K. magazine Dance Europe refused to publish an article on Sally Ann Freeland, an Israeli choreographer, and her dance company. The magazine conditioned the publication of the article on an explicit declaration by Freeland against the occupation, which she refused to make.
The academic boycott began in the United States and Europe during the 1987 Intifada, and intensified in 2002 after the Israeli military operation "Operation Defensive Shield", in which 1/3 of the Jenin refugee camp was flattened by Israeli bulldozers, and over 450 Palestinians were killed in the month-long operation. In the past five years of open conflict, over 5,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, 1,000 of them children.