Dozens of Nobel Prize laureates condemn boycott campaign against Israel

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Dozens of Nobel Prize laureates condemn boycott campaign against Israel

Under the auspices of the initiative Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), 38 Nobel peace prize laureates have signed a declaration condemning international attempts to boycott, divest from or sanction Israeli academics, institutions, and research or training centers. Of special concern are the continued threat of a boycott by South Africa’s University of Johannesburg of Ben-Gurion University in Israel, student divestment efforts in the University of California system, an attempt to get signatures for the California Initiative to divest pension funds from companies doing business with Israel, or Israeli companies, as well as the initiative to shut down the Law Enforcement and Education Center at Georgia State University which has training and research connections with similar institutions in Israel.

The statement by the Nobel prize laureates says: "Academic and cultural boycotts, divestments and sanctions in the academy are antithetical to principles of academic and scientific freedom, antithetical to principles of freedom of expression and inquiry, and may well constitute discrimination by virtue of national origin. Instead of fostering peace, [they] are likely to be counterproductive to the dynamics of reconciliation that lead to peace.”

SPME is a grassroots network of more than 60,000 faculty and scholars on 4,000 campuses. The initiative envisions and strives for peace in the Middle East, and a world in which Israel exists within secure borders and is at peace with its neighbors.The present statement (see in full below) was coordinated by Nobel Prize laureates Roger Kornberg, Stanford University, and Steven Weinberg, University of Texas, Austin.

 

Statement of Nobel Laureates on Academic BDS Actions Against Israeli Academics, Israeli Academic Institutions and Academic Centers and Institutes of Research and Training With Affiliations in Israel

Believing that academic and cultural boycotts, divestments and sanctions in the academy are:

* antithetical to principles of academic and scientific freedom,
* antithetical to principles of freedom of expression and inquiry, and
* may well constitute discrimination by virtue of national origin,

We, the undersigned Nobel Laureates, appeal to students, faculty colleagues and university officials to defeat and denounce calls and campaigns for boycotting, divestment and sanctions against Israeli academics, academic institutions and university-based centers and institutes for training and research, affiliated with Israel.

Furthermore, we encourage students, faculty colleagues and university officials to promote and provide opportunities for civil academic discourse where parties can engage in the search for resolution to conflicts and problems rather than serve as incubators for polemics, propaganda, incitement and further misunderstanding and mistrust.

We, and many like us, have dedicated ourselves to improving the human condition by doing the often difficult and elusive work to understand complex and seemingly unsolvable phenomena. We believe that the university should serve as an open, tolerant and respectful, cooperative and collaborative community engaged in practices of resolving complex problems.
 
Signatories:

Sidney Altman
Yale University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1989     

Kenneth Arrow
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Economics, 1972    

Robert J. Aumann
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2005   

Mario Capecchi
University of Utah
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2007   

Aaron Ciechanover
Technion
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2004   

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
École Normale Supérieure
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997   

Robert Curl
Rice University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1996   

Edmond H. Fischer
University of Washington
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1992   

Jerome Friedman
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1990   

Andre Geim
Manchester University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 2010   

Sheldon Glashow
Boston University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1979  

David Gross
University of California Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004   

James Heckman
University of Chicago
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2000   

Avram Hershko
Technion
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2004   

Russell Hulse
University of Texas Dallas
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1993   

Tim Hunt
London Research Institute
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2001   

Daniel Kahneman
Princeton University
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2002   

Eric Kandel
Columbia University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2000   

Lawrence Klein
University of Pennsylvania
Nobel Prize in Economics, 1980

Walter Kohn
University of California Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1998 

Roger D. Kornberg
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2006     

Harold Kroto
Florida State University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1996      

Finn Kydland
University of California Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2004      

Leon Lederman
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1988   

Tony Leggett
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Nobel Prize in Physics, 2003         

Robert Lucas, Jr.
University of Chicago
Nobel Prize in Economics, 1995      

Rudolph A. Marcus
California Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1992      

Roger Myerson
University of Chicago
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2007      

George A. Olah
University of Southern California
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1994      

Douglas Osheroff
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1996      

Martin L. Perl
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1995      

Andrew V. Schally
University of Miami
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1977      

Roald Hoffman
Cornell University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1981   

Richard R. Schrock
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2005      

Phillip A. Sharp
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1993      

Steven Weinberg
University of Texas at Austin
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1979    

Elie Wiesel
Nobel Peace Prize, 1986      

Torsten Wiesel
Rockefeller University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1981     

 

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