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February 10, 2014 2:20 pm

Academic Boycott Against Israel Not Affecting Country’s Research Endeavors, Government Study Says

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi

Presentation supporting the boycott of Israeli-made products. Photo: Algemeiner.

A new Israeli government study proved various worldwide initiatives to boycott the Jewish state have had “no noticeable impact on academic research in Israel,” Israeli daily Walla reported Monday.

The European “Horizon 2020” research program was singled out for praise by the government report conducted on behalf of the Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee. It was cited as an example of Israeli ministers Tzipi Livni, Naftali Bennett and Yaakov Perri’s successful maneuverings to prevent Israel from being kept out of prestigious scientific endeavors.

Israel agreed to pay a fee of 1 billion euros over seven years in order to participate in “Horizon 2020.” The country in return will receive grants totaling 1.5 billion euros.

Responding to the study’s findings, Israel’s National Science Foundation stated that indeed, “The effect of certain American organization’s efforts to impose a ban on Israel has to date been marginal. Furthermore, the response rates in the United States and Europe to the Foundation’s requests for assistance in evaluating research proposals have been reasonable.”

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The survey also pointed to some areas of concern. One consequence of the ongoing international campaign to sanction Israel has been the damage sustained to Israel’s public image. Another trend is the growing amount of people and organizations openly rejecting Israel’s legitimacy, the report noted.

The Knesset study was released during a period of increasing efforts to impose academic boycotts on Israel, Ma’ariv said. The American Studies Association (ASA) came out in January in favor of a ban on associating with Israeli universities.

The ASA is comprised of nearly 5,000 American professors and is the largest organization of its kind in the United States to support such an action against Israel.

The ASA’s attempt to ostracize Israel ignited a firestorm of controversy and fierce opposition from American universities. Approximately 200 higher education centers across the U.S. formally announced their opposition to the ASA’s shunning of Israel.

Perry, Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Space, recently met with his British counterpart as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron for a discussion about the attempts to single out Israel for academic rebuke. The meeting ended with a firm decision by all parties present to fully cooperate  in the fight against the movement inside of the United Kingdom to spurn Israel.

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