As someone who is strongly opposed to Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians in the territories as well as its misconduct of its Arab citizens, I would like to make the following points:
1. While I do find some similarities between South Africa’s apartheid and Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories, I do not find the AUT boycott to be similar to that imposed on South African universities. The latter was part of a total embargo – diplomatic, economic, cultural, and educational – a concerted effort of the international community to force SA to abandon apartheid. Had there been a total international embargo on Israel to force it to abandon the occupation of the territories, I would have supported that embargo, including the boycott of Israeli Universities (all of them).
2. The University of Haifa has made many mistakes, or even worse, has acted in an unfair manner towards its Arab students. Yet, this is an institution with a dynamic community of lecturers, many of whom are opposed to both its policies against Arab students (see the recent discussion about signs in Arabic) and some (perhaps others) are opposed to Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. As an institution, the University of Haifa has not allied itself in any way with expansionist anti-Palestinian policies. Hence, the university is not a tool in the hands of the state or the expansionist forces in Israel, but rather a battleground in which different ideologies are in conflict.
3. Even if [Ilan] Pappe’s allegations (as reported) are all true, this is not enough of a reason to impose a boycott on the whole university. There could be more specific ways to challenge the university’s decision re Teddy Katz’s MA or re Pappe’s secure position at the university.
4. While I do not trust the Jerusalem Post as a source of reliable information, I haven’t seen any alternative reports of what went on at the AUT conference. If these are indeed the facts of the decision making procedure, I condemn the decision as both illegal and unjustified in light of 1, 2, and 3 above.
5. The boycott against Bar-Ilan University is fully justified since this university actively supports a college which is part of the settlement apparatus.