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StandWithUs Outraged at U of Johannesburg's Boycott of Ben-Gurion University

STANDWITHUS OUTRAGED AT UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG'S VOTE

 

TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL'S BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY,

ACCUSES SCHOOL OF BIGOTRY, HYPOCRISY,

 

CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF UNIVERSITY UNTIL DECISION REVERSED
 

StandWithUs is outraged by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Senate vote on March 24, 2011, to break all ties with Ben-Gurion University (BGU) as of April 1, 2011. The resolution is based on lies, ignorance, and bigotry. Given South Africa's history of apartheid, it is especially shameful that UJ would single out and call for discrimination against one nation in the world, Israel, the world's only Jewish state. South Africa apparently has not yet entirely rooted out its legacy of prejudice and racism.

 

Adding insult to injury, UJ asked BGU to "unofficially" continue the joint water project that was officially canceled by the senate vote. The project would have brought Israeli water purification techniques to South Africa, providing clean drinking water for millions of South Africans. UJ wants to take advantage of Israel's pioneering innovations, the product of Israel's free and open society and universities, even while it officially denies that such freedoms exist and calls for the world to isolate and punish those universities and Israel.

 

This shameless request underscores the hypocrisy of the boycott vote. It is appalling that South Africans who experienced true apartheid would pervert the term to defame Israel, the only multiracial, multicultural country in the Middle East that enforces equal rights and protections for all and  the region's only progressive democracy.

 

 UJ hypocritically attacked a university that upholds all the values UJ claims to stand for. We applaud the BGU students who, hurt and angered by UJ's defamation of their school, wrote to tell UJ how its accusations contradicted their personal experiences. They informed UJ that BGU is "a model of pluralism and coexistence," where professors and panels present views across the political spectrum and where the faculty includes even  notorious anti-Israel activist, Neve Gordon, who is championed by the UJ boycotters.

 

UJ stripped away the context of terrorism to defame Israel's military and BGU's relations with Israel's citizens' army. Indeed, incomprehensibly, the UJ Senate approved punishing Israel even though the Jewish state had been besieged with renewed terrorism in the two weeks leading up to the vote. Recent attacks include the massacre of the Fogel family--the parents, their 11-year-old and four-year-old sons, and their three-month-old baby were murdered while they slept in their home; and Gaza terrorists  fired over 100 rockets and mortars into southern Israel, in the very direction of BGU. Yet in a morally perverse decision, UJ wants to punish BGU.

 

The boycott resolution is blatantly anti-Semitic because it holds Israel to standards expected of no other nation in the world, and it does not hold Palestinians responsible for egregious violations of humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention. Palestinian leaders target civilians, use human shields and civilian centers to mount deadly attacks, and continue to deny kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit contact with the Red Cross. The decision is also destructive and anti-peace. It will not promote the dialogue and understanding necessary for compromise and peaceful coexistence. Instead, it will only serve to fuel the Palestinian extremists whose goal is the destruction of the one Jewish state in the world.

 

Anti-Israel ideologues manipulated the UJ system to get their anti-Israel measure adopted, using tactics that their fellow ideologues have tried to use in other countries. They cannot be allowed to hijack respected institutions and hold them hostage to their extremist political agenda.

 

All fair-minded people should boycott UJ until it reverses the boycott of Ben-Gurion University. Until then, UJ does not deserve their support. Donors should stop giving. Universities around the world should sever their research projects and other collaboration with UJ. Students should look at other schools for their higher education. UJ, not Israel, should be turned into a pariah for its moral perversity and racism.

 

South Africa's Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) deserves special praise for standing up against the University of Johannesburg's bigoted decision and issuing a strong statement about the boycotters' tactics and hypocrisy. StandWithUs will continue to work with SAUJS members and others who want to overturn this destructive resolution and help pave the way to reconciliation and peace by promoting productive dialogue.

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