Speaking of boycotts

A few days ago, the heads of several Israeli academic institutes, including Weizmann Institute of Science President Prof. Daniel Zajfman, met with Israel’s president, Reuben Rivlin to discuss the possible effects of an academic boycott. Afterward, Prof. Zajfman was interviewed on the evening magazine program London and Kirschenbaum.

For Hebrew speakers, here is the interview:

 

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKWdbQITj28&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

For those who do not understand Hebrew, here are the main points:

  1. It is dangerous to mix politics with scientific research. That is a message for would-be boycotters, but it applies to our government and groups within the country as well.
  2. Some of the impetus for the boycott comes from anti-Semitism, but a lot of it simply comes from ignorance. We can at least address the ignorance.
  3. Any country’s scientific research will starve to death without the constant collaboration with labs and scientists in other countries. That is doubly true for Israeli research, which plays an outsized role in the European scientific milieu (meaning European research will lose out, big-time, as well).
  4. Our government needs to take this threat seriously. And that means working on strengthening ties with other countries.

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