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Monday, July 19, 2010

Limiting Israel's academic boycotters

Where is the line between academic freedom and harmful actions that should result in a professor being dismissed? Eli Pollak and Mordechai Keidar try to draw it.
The problem starts when the event where such foolish claims are uttered is not academic, but rather political in nature (for example, the “Israel apartheid Week.”) It’s even graver when an Israeli academician urges the pension fund of Finnish miners (for example) to withdraw its investments from Israel and from his university while boycotting them and imposing sanctions on them.

This kind of activity is not academic, but rather, purely political. The moment an academician undertakes such acts he deviates from his field and operates as though he’s a political man. In the political arena, there is no significance to academic freedom, just like academic freedom does not grant anyone the right to drive on the wrong side of the road or park illegally, even on campus.


Freedom is not unlimited: Freedom of speech does not include the right to yell out “fire” in the theater for no reason, while freedom of occupation, which grants any carpenter the right to drill holes, does not allow him to drill a hole in a ship carrying other passengers. Similarly, academic freedom is limited to academic activity and related areas and does not apply to political activity.

Academic freedom does not grant academicians the right to risk their colleagues’ place of employment, and should such academicians believe their university deserves to be boycotted, they should be honest with themselves and start the boycott themselves by resigning and shunning their salary and the research budget they received.

There is no reason that would require a State, just like any other organization, to fund and sponsor people who travel the world and call for boycotts and sanctions against it, as such people threaten the State’s legitimacy and thereby its existence as well.

An academician who exploits academic freedom for political activity necessarily pushes the institution he draws his salary from into a political position, even though he was not authorized by his employers and colleagues to do so. He therefore endangers their academic standing among global colleagues as well as their economic situation, as a decline in investments and donations as result of their actions would undermine the university’s resources.
Read the whole thing. Yes, they're right.


At 7:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Israeli Far Left insists it has a right to commit to treason on the Israeli taxpayers shekels and to openly call for the demise of their country from such a platform. Its high time to bring this foolishness to an end. Anti-Israel advocacy is not disinterested scholarship and is not covered by academic freedom. Its time Israel's Tenured Traitors where informed they can either teach and research or they can hit the road if they want to continue to undermine their own country.

Its that simple.


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