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‘I will not cooperate with any Israeli institution while Palestinians are denied basic human rights’

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Two friends of mine, both professors at prestigious universities, have refused to review research proposals for the BSF (United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation), a high level grant-awarding institution, established by the governments of the United States and Israel in 1972, to support cooperative research projects of mutual interest and for peaceful purposes. (For info on the BSF). The texts of my two friends’ letters are appended below, they gave me permission to post the letters if I left out names of the scientists. Perhaps it will inspire others to do the same. 

1. Dear Prof. X,

I am an admirer of a great many Israeli scientists and will collaborate with them individually by hosting them or collaborating with them on specific research projects. However, I will not cooperate with any Israeli institution while the State of Israel continues to deny basic Palestinian human rights, and I must therefore decline your invitation to review a grant for the Israeli Science Foundation. I, along with many others, believe that we each should do all we can to pressure Israel to change its unlawful behavior. One means of doing that is to work to isolate official Israel from the international community.

Sincerely,

2. Dr. X

Executive Director, United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation/ Jerusalem, Israel

With regret, I decline the invitation to review this grant proposal, the topic of which I regard as interesting and significant. I do this because I do not approve of the State of Israel’s policies which deny basic Palestinian human rights, the evidence of which has become more and more obvious to all in the world. I am sympathetic to a growing world wide movement which argues that the only way to stop unlawful Israeli behavior is to isolate it from the international community. The thought is that you, citizens of Israel, will then work to change your own governments policies.

Withdrawing support of of Israeli science is no exception.

As such, I can no longer in good conscience continue to cooperate with official Israeli institutions, including universities. I will attend no scientific conferences in Israel, and I will not participate as referee in hiring or promotion decisions by Israeli universities, or in the decisions of Israeli funding agencies. 

However, I will continue to collaborate with, and host, Israeli scientific colleagues on an individual basis. 

If you have questions or comments regarding this, please feel free to c/ontact me.

Sincerely,

Z

Nancy Kanwisher
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