Professor Dan Avnon, an Israeli professor of civics, and the head of the “Center for Peace and Reconciliation” (From the Hebrew NRG article: המרכז לשלום ויישוב סכסוכים – h/t: Ido) has been boycotted by Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies because he is Israeli.
From the Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA):
The Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, which has thrown its support behind controversial Palestinian leaders, has cited its boycott of Israel for refusing to help an Israeli civics teacher who has designed programs for both Jewish and Arab children.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon is credited with developing and implementing the only state program in civics written for joint Jewish-Arab high schools.
He approached the head of the Sydney University centre, Jake Lynch, for assistance with studying civics education in Australia under a fellowship agreement between the two institutions.
But Associate Professor Lynch rebuffed the request, citing the centre’s support for the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The centre helped establish the Sydney Peace Foundation, which awards the Sydney Peace Prize. Past recipients include the controversial Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi.
The centre’s website says it “promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching on the causes of conflict and the conditions that affect conflict resolution and peace”.
Professor Avnon contacted Associate Professor Lynch, expressing interest in spending time at the centre and meeting him.
Associate Professor Lynch emailed in reply: “Your research sounds interesting and worthwhile. However, we are supporters of the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and that includes the call for an academic boycott of Israeli universities.”
Freely translating from the NRG article, we read:
“According to the policy of the Center I must refuse your request” wrote Lynch, who is one of the leaders of the Boycott Israel movement in Australian academia. He clarified: “I and the Center have nothing against you personally, and the research that you suggest carrying out sounds interesting and worthwhile. However we support the boycott campaign against Israel, and that includes an academic boycott of the universities from your country.
A stunned Professor Avnon wrote in response to Professor Lynch that “I find it ironic that you promote a policy of boycott which doesn’t distinguish between people. In a conversation with Ma’ariv, Avnon said “This is a case of a person in charge of reconciliation who is stoking hatred against a person who is working towards bringing different populations together, simply because of his origin. This is not acceptable anywhere anywhere in the world to bully a person simply because of his group identity”.
Professor Avnon may be a clever academic, but he’s wrong about it not being acceptable anywhere in the world to boycott Israelis. He is not the first to be boycotted and I doubt he’ll be the last. Professor Moti Cristal, an Israeli expert on conflict resolution was disinvited from an NHS-sponsored event in the UK in April due to pressure from the UNISON trade union. A British journal on translation, owned by a publishing house headed by Mona Baker, a boycotter of Israel, boycotted articles by Israeli academics.
News about anti-Israel boycotts and BDS, whether in the academic, trade unions or commercial worlds, can be found in several places, prominently among them Engage Online, Harry’s Place and Richard Millett. And this is just the UK. I haven’t even touched upon the BDS movement in Europe, the US or Australia.
What is interesting is that so many of the boycotted academics are from the left side of the Israeli political spectrum. They consider themselves “good Israelis” who should be approved of by the boycotter because they act for “peace” and side with the Palestinians, as opposed to those nasty right-wing “settler” or religious types. This aggravates their cognitive dissonance. For all their brains and academic learning, they cannot seem to internalize that the BDS brigade are basically antisemites.
As Harry’s Place says in a more succinct manner:
So this Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies apparently supports efforts toward conflict resolution and peace by everyone except Israelis. Because, y’know, they’re Israelis.