Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Haifa University Response to the proposed Boycott
The University of Haifa is saddened and not a little outraged by the utterly unjust and unjustifiable decision of the AUT and by its attempt to erect barriers and obstruct the flow of ideas within the international academic community.
In lieu of evidence to support the singling out of Israeli academia, the authors of this campaign have chosen to adopt a three-year old urban legend.
We are astounded by the fact that the AUT never requested our response prior to adopting their resolution, and did not allow our position to be presented by members of the AUT who are familiar with the facts. The case against Israeli academia, in general, and the University of Haifa in particular, is devoid of empirical evidence and violates the principle of due process. Driven by a prior and prejudicial assumption of guilt, the AUT has refused to confuse itself with facts.
In actual fact, during the past few years, Dr. Pappe has transgressed all common ethical standards of academic life. Yet, despite his conduct, the University of Haifa has demonstrated extraordinary tolerance. One of his colleagues did indeed lodge a complaint with the internal faculty disciplinary committee. The complaint focused on Dr. Pappe's unethical behavior towards his peers and his efforts to disbar them from international forums for daring to contradict his views. However, Dr. Pappe was never summoned by the disciplinary committee as the committee's chairperson decided not to pursue the complaint. Moreover, and contrary to Dr. Pappe's claim, the university made no attempt to expel him.
As to the now too famous thesis that provoked this altercation, an independent committee was asked to examine the validity of the quotes that were used as the "scientific basis" for the highly controversial charges proffered in this thesis, authored by Mr. Teddy Katz. After a thorough examination, the committee members concluded that, in fact, the quotes in the written text did not match the taped comments of the interviews and that the text was grossly distorted. Therefore, they disqualified this MA thesis.
These findings, it is important to note, matched a court decision issued on the same matter. As Dr. Pappe did not approve of the committee's decision, despite the undeniable discrepancies between the text and the taped interviews, he reacted by calling on the academic community to boycott the members of this committee and the University of Haifa. Despite these violations of academic collegiality and ethics Dr. Pappe never faced disciplinary proceedings nor was his tenured status in any way endangered.
Although there is always more work to do, the University of Haifa is proud of its record of Arab-Jewish cooperation and reconciliation, both on campus and in the community. Twenty percent of our student body are Arab citizens of the State of Israel, and the many Arab faculty members at Haifa include departmental chairs and a Dean. We will continue our efforts to further Jewish-Arab reconciliation, despite politically motivated initiatives to muzzle free speech and the academic discourse.
We are puzzled by the fact that despite the deluge of abuses of academic freedom throughout the world, the AUT has chosen to focus upon a politically spurious charge and, on the basis of false allegations, single out the University of Haifa for condemnation. The University of Haifa calls upon the AUT to rescind its resolution; transparently discriminatory and based on a complete distortion of the facts, it is far more embarrassing to the AUT than to the University. We also call upon the academic community in the United Kingdom to reject this politically motivated abuse of the fundamental principles of academic discourse."
The Haifa website has a number of links to academics offering solidarity against the boycott (not necessarily pro-Palestinian):
Professor Emanuele Ottolenghi, Oxford University
Professor Stanley Dubinsky, University of South Carolina
Prof. Loren Baritz, State University of New York
Petition To Rescind The Boycott Of Israeli Universities
American Professors Against the Boycott
Professor Lenn Goodman Vanderbilt University
New York Academy of Sciences
Professor Shalom Lappin, King's College
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize Laureate
University College Provost responds to Israel boycott
American Assocaition of University Professors
Statement by Jon Pike (Open University and others)
Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University
American Association of Jewish Studies
Professor David Jacobson, Brown University