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Irish Academics against Israel By: Tamara Traubman
www.haaretz.com | Thursday, September 28, 2006

Irish academics have called on the European Union in an open letter to impose a moratorium financial support to Israeli academic institutions until Israel ends the occupation in the Palestinian territories.

The call for the boycott, published last week in the Irish Times daily, came since according to its organizers "The Israeli government appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders and to longstanding United Nations resolutions."

The letter was signed by 61 Irish academics.

"Academic boycotts are opposed to the international principle of academic freedom," said in response on Sunday Professor Yosef Yeshurun, Rector of Bar Ilan University.

According to Yeshurun, who heads The International Council for Academic Freedom, boycotts are designated to "isolate and demonize" Israel, and are "anti-Zionism that has turned into a form of anti-Semitism."

The call for imposing the moratorium came in the wake of a demand by Palestinian groups to impose an academic and cultural boycott on Israel.

In recent months there have been several other attempts at boycotting Israeli organizations.

In February, a group of British architects called to boycott companies involved in the construction of the West Bank separation fence; in August, film director Ken Loach announced he would not attend cultural events in Israel; and in early September, a joint British-Palestinian group of architects sought to ban Israelis from participating at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

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