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Thursday, May 26, 2005

AUT reverses boycott; Palestinian teachers show how "peaceful" they are

Rare good sense from British academics....and more of the usual idiocy from Palestinian academics.
British Lecturers overturned their decision to boycott Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities in a vote on Thursday.

Britain's 40,000-member Association of University Teachers voted last month to boycott the academic institutions for actions that it said undermined Palestinian rights and academic freedom.

It also referred a motion to its executive committee to boycott the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The association said last week it would reconsider the boycott.

Meanwhile, Palestinian professor Sari Nusseibeh, who last week urged an end to the boycott, has been under attack by many Palestinians who have been calling for his dismissal from his job as president of Al-Quds University.

Several Palestinian political and academic groups issued statements strongly condemning Nusseibeh, accusing him of normalizing ties with Israel and acting against the interests of the Palestinian people. (Normalizing ties is a crime, after all.)

Leaflets distributed in some areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip branded the widely respected Nusseibeh a "traitor" and "collaborator." (I see they stopped just short of calling him a "Jew.")

Nusseibeh, along with Menahem Magidor, president of Hebrew University, made the statement in a joint declaration in London at an international gathering of scholars debating human rights.

The two criticized the British boycott against the University of Haifa and Bar-Ilan University, describing it as "wrong and unjustified." They said "problems should be resolved through dialogue, not through sanctions."

"Our position is based upon the belief that it is through cooperation based on mutual respect, rather than boycotts or discrimination, that our common goals can be achieved," they said in their statement.

"Our disaffection with, and condemnation of, acts of academic boycotts is predicated on the principles of academic freedom, human rights and equality between nations and among individuals."

The Palestinian Union of University Teachers and Employees published a statement on the front page of the Palestinian Authority's daily Al-Ayyam in which it accused Nusseibeh of "normalizing relations with the Sharon government" despite the prime minister's policy of "bullying the Palestinians and stealing their land."

"This constitutes a strong blow to the Palestinian national consensus against normalization with Israel," the statement added.

Umm, if there is a Palestinian consensus against peace, doesn't that indicate a much bigger problem?