An anti-Israel BDS supporter. (AP/Amr Nabil) (AP/Amr Nabil)

Israeli heads of universities sent a letter to the American Anthropological Association urging it to drop an “absurd” and harmful resolution to boycott Israeli academics.   

The presidents of Israel’s eight research universities are calling on an American academic organization to refrain from moving forward with plans to boycott Israeli academics.

In a letter released Tuesday, the group says the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) resolution to boycott Israel is “absurd” and aims to “incite and introduce hatred and racism” into Israeli academia.

“We ask that before bringing this motion to a formal vote by all members of the association, to consider revisiting the motion, which presents a distorted and false depiction of reality in Israel,” Professor Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology wrote in a letter to Professor Alisse Waterston, president of the AAA.

The AAA supported the motion last month at its annual meeting, and it will soon come up for a vote among all its 12,000 members. If it passes, the association will be the largest organization to adopt an academic boycott of Israel.

Professor Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Professor Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. (Yoav Bachar Photography)

“It is both ironic and absurd that specifically those supporting such boycotts are using politics in an attempt to incite and introduce hatred and racism into the Israeli academia. With these actions, they are creating a division where one does not exist,” Lavie wrote.

The initiative is backed by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which ostensibly aims to protest Israeli policies toward the Palestinians but in fact aims to annihilate the Jewish State through boycotts and international pressure.

The Israeli university heads also accused BDS of spreading lies and slander about the Israel. “[The BDS movement] is maliciously circulating vile slander and lies about Israel in general and Israeli academia in particular, while posing as a civil rights activist group,” and the AAA’s motion is part of “an aggressive global anti-Israel campaign led by interest parties.”

Lavir stressed that Israeli academia is open to members of all faiths and nationalities, and that Arabs “benefit from full equality.”

“Academic boycotts contradict, in no uncertain terms, both the basic academic ethos and values, and violate the mere academic freedom by banning collaborations and international research on the whole,” he wrote.

“Supporting the proposed motion and approving it will lead members of the association to act contrary to the principles of academic integrity we all believe in,” he concluded. “We call on our colleagues, faculty members in institutions around the world, to join those working to combat politically motivated exclusions and boycotts, and condemn proposals of this nature.”

By: AP and United with Israel Staff