38 Nobel Laureates Defend Israel Against Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS)


As Daled Amos noted, "we've seen signed statements like this condemning Israel--does anyone pay attention when Nobel Prize winning academics come out in defense of Israel?":

STATEMENT OF NOBEL LAUREATES ON ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS, DIVESTMENTS AND SANCTIONS (BDS) ACTIONS AGAINST ISRAELI ACADEMICS, ISRAELI ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND ACADEMIC CENTERS AND INSTITUTES OF RESEARCH AND TRAINING WITH AFFILIATIONS IN ISRAEL
November 1, 2010

STATEMENT OF NOBEL LAUREATES ON ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS, DIVESTMENTS AND SANCTIONS (BDS) ACTIONS AGAINST ISRAELI ACADEMICS, ISRAELI ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND ACADEMIC CENTERS AND INSTITUTES OF RESEARCH AND TRAINING WITH AFFILIATIONS IN ISRAEL

Led by Nobel Laureates, Roger Kornberg, Stanford University, and Steven Weinberg, University of Texas at Austin, 38 Nobel colleagues have endorsed the following statement written under the auspices of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) regarding worldwide attempts to boycott, divest from or sanction Israeli academics, institutions, and research and training centers.

Of special concern are the continued threat of a boycott by the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, of Ben Gurion University in Israel, student government divestment efforts in the University of California system, an attempt to get signatures for the California Initiative to divest pension funds from companies doing business with Israel or Israeli companies, as well as the initiative to shut down the Georgia Law Enforcement and Education Center at Georgia State University which has training and research connections with similar institutions in Israel.

A central theme of the Nobel Laureates’ statement is:

“Academic and cultural boycotts, divestments and sanctions in the academy are:
  • antithetical to principles of academic and scientific freedom, 
  • antithetical to principles of freedom of expression and inquiry, and 
  • may well constitute discrimination by virtue of national origin.”
Instead of fostering peace, these boycott and divestment efforts are likely to be counterproductive to the dynamics of reconciliation that lead to peace.
Professors Kornberg and Weinberg, with Professor Ed Beck, Walden University, President Emeritus of SPME and Chair of the SPME BDS Task force, have worked successfully together in the past with Nobel Laureates to fight and defeat BDS campaigns against Israeli academic institutions in the UK, the USA, and around the world.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East is a grass roots network of more than 60,000 faculty and scholars on 4000 campuses all over the world. SPME envisions and strives for peace in the Middle East, and a world in which Israel exists within secure borders, and is at peace with her neighbors as they achieve their legitimate peaceful aspirations.

For Further Information Contact: Professor Edward S. Beck, ScholarsforPeace@aol.com or 717.576.5038, Professor Sam Edelman, Executive Director, SPME, spmeexecdir@gmail.com or 530.570.8137, Professor Peter Haas, President, SPME, pjh7@case.edu

STATEMENT OF NOBEL LAUREATES ON ACADEMIC BDS ACTIONS AGAINST ISRAELI ACADEMICS, ISRAELI ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND ACADEMIC CENTERS AND INSTITUTES OF RESEARCH AND TRAINING WITH AFFILIATIONS IN ISRAEL
By

Roger Kornberg, Stanford University and Steven Weinberg,
University of Texas at Austin

Published in: A Project of the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Task Force on Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions
October 28, 2010

Statement of Nobel Laureates on Academic BDS Actions against Israeli Academics, Israeli Academic Institutions and Academic Centers and Institutes of Research and Training With Affiliations in Israel

Believing that academic and cultural boycotts, divestments and sanctions in the academy are:

* antithetical to principles of academic and scientific freedom,
* antithetical to principles of freedom of expression and inquiry, and
* may well constitute discrimination by virtue of national origin,

We, the undersigned Nobel Laureates, appeal to students, faculty colleagues and university officials to defeat and denounce calls and campaigns for boycotting, divestment and sanctions against Israeli academics, academic institutions and university-based centers and institutes for training and research, affiliated with Israel.

Furthermore, we encourage students, faculty colleagues and university officials to promote and provide opportunities for civil academic discourse where parties can engage in the search for resolution to conflicts and problems rather than serve as incubators for polemics, propaganda, incitement and further misunderstanding and mistrust.

We, and many like us, have dedicated ourselves to improving the human condition by doing the often difficult and elusive work to understand complex and seemingly unsolvable phenomena. We believe that the university should serve as an open, tolerant and respectful, cooperative and collaborative community engaged in practices of resolving complex problems.

Sidney Altman
Yale University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1989


Lawrence Klein
University of Pennsylvania
Nobel Prize in Economics, 1980

Kenneth Arrow
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Economics, 1972

Walter Kohn
University of California Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1998

Robert J. Aumann
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2005

Roger D. Kornberg
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2006

Mario Capecchi
University of Utah
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2007

Harold Kroto
Florida State University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1996

Aaron Ciechanover
Technion
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2004

Finn Kydland
University of California Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2004

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
École Normale Supérieure
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997

Leon Lederman
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1988

Robert Curl
Rice University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1996

Tony Leggett
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Nobel Prize in Physics, 2003

Edmond H. Fischer
University of Washington
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1992

Robert Lucas, Jr.
University of Chicago
Nobel Prize in Economics, 1995

Jerome Friedman
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1990

Rudolph A. Marcus
California Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1992

Andre Geim
Manchester University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 2010

Roger Myerson
University of Chicago
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2007

Sheldon Glashow
Boston University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1979

George A. Olah
University of Southern California
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1994

David Gross
University of California Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004

Douglas Osheroff
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1996

James Heckman
University of Chicago
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2000

Martin L. Perl
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1995

Avram Hershko
Technion
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2004

Andrew V. Schally
University of Miami
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1977

Roald Hoffman
Cornell University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1981

Richard R. Schrock
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2005

Russell Hulse
University of Texas Dallas
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1993

Phillip A. Sharp
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1993

Tim Hunt
London Research Institute
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2001

Steven Weinberg
University of Texas at Austin
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1979

Daniel Kahneman
Princeton University
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2002

Elie Wiesel
Nobel Peace Prize, 1986

Eric Kandel
Columbia University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2000

Torsten Wiesel
Rockefeller University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1981



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