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News > World

Renowned Scientists Oppose Conference in Israeli Settlement, Call for Boycott

  • “The settlements are illegal under international law and have been denounced by the international court of justice,

    “The settlements are illegal under international law and have been denounced by the international court of justice," the scientists wrote.. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 September 2018

Holding an international science convention in an illegal settlement in Palestine would be "tantamount to normalizing Israeli occupation," the scientists said in an open letter. 

Ariel University in occupied Palestine is the wrong venue for an international conference on cosmology and particle physics, a group of science experts said Friday in a letter rejecting whitewashing of Israeli colonial activities in Palestine. 


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In an open letter published in the Guardian this weekend, 15 of the world’s top academics and science professionals wrote that holding a three-day science convention in West Bank would be an outright violation of international law.

“The settlements are illegal under international law and have been denounced by the international court of justice and numerous UN resolutions," the scientists said.

The academics noted that Ariel University has a history of conflict to both native and foreign observers due to its location.

"Human Rights Watch has noted that Ariel’s ‘development is inseparable from a history of continuous dispossession of Palestinians from their land and restrictions on their freedom of movement," the academics wrote.

The letter continued on to say, “In 2012, more than 1,200 Israeli faculty members signed a petition opposing the establishment of Ariel, describing it as an attempt to recruit the Israeli academia into the service of the occupation and settlement efforts.”

The university has been excluded from a number of international donors such as European Union, the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, and the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

The 15 professionals encouraged their colleagues to forego any association with the university as it would be “tantamount to accepting Israeli annexation of occupied territories and normalizing the occupation.”

“We, the undersigned, believe that participating in any activities held in a settlement amounts to accepting the Israeli government’s policy of gradually annexing the occupied territories to Israel. We call upon our colleagues and the wider scientific community to consider these facts before engaging in any activities related to Ariel, and not to take part in any attempts to use science to normalize the occupation of the Palestinian territories,” the scientists concluded in their damning letter.

The news comes following several successful campaigns for boycotting Israel by the pro-Palestinian non-violent movement Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) which calls for a cultural, political and economic boycott of the country over its occupation of Palestine, its policies against Palestinians in the West Bank and proper Israel, its cruel blockade on Gaza, as well as its colonial settlement activities in the West bank.

The BDS' latest victory was the dropping out of at least nine artists from the Meteor Festival in Israel, including its main guest U.S. pop singer Lana Del Rey. 

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