Jun 15, 2007 — Yeshiva University President Richard Joel blasted Great Britain’s University and College Union today for the group’s proposed boycott of Israeli universities and academics and ban on international collaborations with Israelis, calling the move a “hypocritical act” and a “threat to open societies everywhere.” And, citing his own institution’s longstanding ties with Israel dating back prior to the very establishment of the State, Mr. Joel “proudly” added Yeshiva University’s name to those on the boycott list.
Mr. Joel said: “This boycott is a threat not only to Israeli academics but also to open societies everywhere. As president of Yeshiva University, an American university that has immutable ties to Israel, I proudly add our institution to the roster of universities on the boycott list and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded.
“This is a hypocritical act that defies the fundamental raison d’être of a university. This boycott erodes the sanctity of the academic sphere by introducing illegitimate political positions that amount to political blackmail. Moreover, it is irresponsible and detracts from the noble charge of the academy to enlighten and elevate intellectual discourse and advance humankind.
“We say this not just as a university that is committed to academic education, but also as one committed to the timeless teachings of Torah and connections to Israel dating back to pre-statehood times. We have invested in Israel through academic collaboration, post high school year-long Jewish studies programs, and 3,000 alumni who reside there. We support the miracle that is the State of Israel and salute Israeli scientists and scholars for their immeasurable contributions to the global community that have benefited so many.”