Lisa Taraki

The AUT Boycott: Freedom vs. Academic Freedom

On May 26, the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in Britain reversed its previous decision — taken on April 22 — to boycott Israeli universities. Intimidation and bullying aside, no tool was as persistently used, abused and bandied about as much as the claim that academic boycott infringes on academic freedom. Freedom to produce and exchange knowledge and idea was deemed sacrosanct regardless of the prevailing conditions. There are two key faults in this argument. Omar Barghouti and Lisa Taraki, founding members of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), comment. 

Academic Boycott and the Israeli Left

Some of the most committed Israeli opponents of their state’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian territories have recently expressed serious reservations about, if not strident opposition to, the Palestinian call for boycott of Israel’s academic and cultural institutions. We think that their concerns are worth addressing. Almost all of the publicized reservations we have seen are prefaced with moral support for the right of Palestinians to resist the occupation – nonviolently, most would write – even by calling for boycotts to achieve that goal.