It has been brought to our attention that a group calling itself Academics for Palestine is attempting to incite Irish academics on both sides of the border to engage in a boycott of Israel and its academic institutions.
We are seriously concerned about this and worried about its implications.
No country is perfect, but Israel is the only liberal democracy in the chaotic Middle East, the only country in the region with freedom of speech, politics, press, the rule of law, freedom of religion for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, and the only country where women have equal rights and homosexuality is protected.
It is absurd for Irish academics to engage in a boycott of the only country in the region where academia is totally free.
Furthermore, it is wrong to single out Israel for what the supporters of the proposed boycott in their circular call “criminality”.
No other country, even those controversial for their domestic or foreign policies, is labelled “criminal” by such agitators; and to us it is sinister to single out the only Jewish country in the world for demonisation.
Lastly, consider the irony of academics – of all people – engaging in boycotts when it is precisely the academic spirit of dialogue and free inquiry that leads to mutual understanding and respect.
Monique Walsh and Debbie Briscoe (Irish Israel
Luke Akehurst (We Believe in Israel)
Dermot Kehoe (BICOM)
Barry Williams (Irish4Israel)
Paul Coulter (International Christian Embassy of
Jerusalem – Irish Branch)
Yanky Fachler (Council for Middle East Peace)
Paddy Monaghan (Irish Christian Friends of Israel)
Andrew Shaw (Northern
Ireland Friends of Israel)
Steven Jaffe (Deputy, Belfast Jewish Community)
Simon McIlwaine (Anglicans Friends of Israel)
Paul Charney (Zionist
Federation of Great Britain and Ireland)
Joy Wolfe MBE (StandwithUs International)
David Abrahamson (Irish Friends of the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem)
Moti Neuman (Irish Jewish Museum)
Stuart Rosenblatt (Irish
Jewish Genealogical Society)
Katherine Stafford (Jewish
Historical Society of Ireland)
Joe Tarsh (President of the Union of Jewish Students of the UK and Ireland)