Technion President Warns BDS Strategic Threat

The Aerospace Faculty of the Technion, in Haifa.
The Aerospace Faculty of the Technion, in Haifa.

A prominent Israeli academic has called attention to the boycott of the country’s universities as a strategic threat and called on the government to fully mobilize against it, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

“We all have to understand that an academic boycott means a boycott of the strategic advantage of the state of Israel — its human capital. This is our most important resource and it is under international attack by anti-Israel elements for a long time,” declared Prof. Peretz Lavie, chairman of the Association of University Heads in Israel (VERA) and president of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

Lavie’s statement was issued in response to reports that the University of Chile’s Law Faculty student union had voted to approve a BDS resolution against Israel.
“The academic boycott of Israeli universities has begun to metastasize outside the U.S. and the U.K.,” he said, adding that, to date, the government’s efforts to fight BDS have fallen far short of the mark.

“VERA will continue to fight the spread of the phenomenon and it is as determined as ever. But it is not enough,” he said. “The full mobilization on the part of the state is required, so that together we can provide a real counterweight against BDS and the other active organizations.”

The Chilean students voted 56.3 percent in favor to 43.6 percent opposed to a resolution to boycott Israel, and 64 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed to severing links with Israeli universities, according to a JTA report.

In another BDS item, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed into law on Tuesday a bill that mandates withholding state funding from any company that is boycotting Israel.

“The general assembly is deeply concerned and does not support boycotts and related tactics that have become a tool of economic warfare that threaten the sovereignty and security of allies and trade partners of the United States, including the state of Israel,” the bill reads.

The new law requires state officials to compile a list of companies that boycott Israel by March 1, 2017.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., The Independent reported that the students’ union of the University of Lincoln (ULSU) became the first to break away from the National Union of Students (NUS), after the NUS elected a national president who supports the boycott and faces allegations of anti-Semitism.

ULSU president Hayley Jayne Wilkinson described how, as a group of elected officers, they “no longer felt confident” the NUS represented the views of Lincoln students.