Open letter to the boards of NTNU HIST
We who have signed ask the boards to approve academic and cultural boycott of Israel
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Since 1948 the state of Israel has occupied Palestinian land and denied the Palestinians basic human rights. In December/January this year, Israel made a brutal attack on Gaza, resulting in immense human suffering. People all over the world were shocked by the attack, and it led to fierce protests. In addition to brutal military assaults Israel has during many years systematically expelled Palestinian inhabitants from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza by the extension of settlements in occupied areas, building a wall, and constructing a road system to which Palestinians are denied access.
Israeli universities and other institutions of higher education have played a key role in the policy of oppression. A substantial proportion of academics are directly involved in the country’s advanced weapon industry; social scientists play a central role in the construction of a nation of occupation; historians and archaeologists are important in the development of the zionist ideology and renouncement of Palestinian history and identity. Israeli academic institutions systematically discriminate against Palestinian students. The eleven Palestinian universities in Gaza and the West Bank are hampered in their activities and students and staff are under constant fear of harassment and disruption of studies and teaching. In these ways Israel goes against all the ideals of open universities and academic freedom.
Hardly any other state has been more often condemned by the UN, but Israel systematically refuses to comply with UN resolutions and international law. So far, Israel has avoided international reactions and sanctions. All over the world trade unions and humanitarian organisations protest against it’s policies. We, who have signed this letter, believe that it is time that academic institutions contributed to an international pressure against Israel so that real negotiations between Israel, democratically elected Palestinian authorities and the international society can begin.
The signatories of this letter are employees at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and University College of Sør-Trøndelag (HiST), both institutions located in Trondheim, Norway. We ask the boards of our institutions to approve an academic boycott of Israel. The boycott should cover the educational, research and culture institutions of the state of Israel and their representatives, regardless of religion or nationality. This means that we refrain from participating in any kind of academic or cultural cooperation with Israeli institutions and their representatives until guaranties are issued that the occupation of Palestinian land will be terminated.
We also want NTNU and HIST to cooperate with, and give support to, institutions, organisations and persons working against the occupation and violation of the Palestinians’ human rights. Our wish is that our colleagues in Israel who are working against the occupation policy should have stronger support from our universities than has been the case until now (for instance by scholarships and guest Professorships). At the same time we believe that an academic boycott can make the seriousness of the present situation clearer to academics and others in Israel. The future, both for Paelstinians and Israelis, is an end to the occupation so that a dialogue can begin. We do not think this will happen unless there is a pressure from outside.
To see all signatories or sign
Assistant Professor Trond Andresen,
Associate Professor Agnes Bolsø,
Professor Emeritus Arne Espelund,
Professor Lars S. Evensen,
Professor Anne Fiksdahl,
Assistant Professor Geir Halland,
Professor Arne Halvorsen,
Professor Per Hernæs,
Professor Bjørn Hilt,
Associate Professor Bassam Hussein,
Professor Harald Høyem,
Professor Tore Iversen,
Associate Professor Klara Jakobsen,
Professor Arnulf Kolstad,
Professor Elin Kvande,
Associate Professor Håkon Lasse Leira,
Professor Morten Levin,
Professor Merete Lie,
Associate Professor Peder Martin Lysestøl,
Associate Professor Roar Madsen,
Assistant Professor Per Egil Mjaavatn,
Professor Brit Mæhlum,
Associate Professor Arve Vorland Pedersen,
Professor Bjørn Rasmussen,
Professor Bente Rasmussen,
Professor Bjørn Røe,
Assistant Professor Barbro Rønning,
Professor Berit Schei,
Associate Professor Rune Skarstein,
Professor Kjetil Steinsholt,
Professor Ann Rudinow Sætnan,
Associate Professor Liv Thommesen,
Assistant Professor Eivind Witsø,
Professor Emeritus Audun Øfsti
Trondheim 11. mai 2009