Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Academic boycott of Israel: follow-up to the BMJ‘s debate

BMJ  2007;335:234-235 (4 August).

Why just Israel? As a Palestinian I know at first hand the damage done by calling to boycott Israel, academically or economically. Not only does it validate everything the Palestinians are saying, including support for suicide bombing, it is hurting any chance of peace and is taking away any chance for help from Israel. Maybe if the world wants to help they should have the courage to boycott the Arab countries until they give the Palestinians living there citizenship status and maybe some rights.

BY: Saleem Abdallah, political analyst, West Bank, Palestine

Boycott proposers often state that boycotting South Africa worked, so why not Israel? The glaring difference is that whereas supporters of the apartheid regime supported the ideology, Israelis as a whole have voted in at least the last three elections against the occupation and in favour of a two state solution. I also feel there is no substitute for meeting the “enemy” directly—for example, at academic meetings, as happens regularly in Israel and elsewhere, and breaking down stereotyping, something which Tom Hickey seems determined to restrict.

BY: Andrew Fink, consultant ophthalmologist, Ra’anana, Israel  

The motion’s scope needs to be widened: what about Palestinian academia, which has consistently failed to condemn state sponsored acts of terror and violence against unarmed citizens both inIsrael and Palestinian territories? If you really care about the fate of these two states, you should apply the same measureto both sides. 

BY: Ehud Emanuel, citizen, Israel


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The BMJ has been overwhelmed with readers’ responses to the debate and poll about whether there should be an academic boycott of Israel. Many of the responses criticised the BMJ’s decision to run the debate. By Editor Fiona Godlee. (BMJ  2007;335:234-235 (4 August).

The raw data showed that 28 178 votes were cast. Of those, 6616 (23%) were for a boycott and 21 562 (77%) were against.

But can these results be trusted? The simple answer is no. Readers can vote more than once (several people emailed us confessing they had voted more than once), making the process open to abuse.

Our efforts to track duplicated votes revealed examples of internet provider addresses (IPAs) that provided multiple votes, such as one in Jordan that registered 1071 “yes” votes on 24 July and another in the US that registered 142 “no” votes.

These voters attempted to disguise their multiple voting by changing the type of visitor they were and the country they said they were from. When we removed all the multiple votes from single IPAs—including all the genuine votes from gateway servers—there were still more than 20 000 votes cast. The breakdown between the yes and no votes remained similar to the percentages given above.

So, what conclusions can we draw from these figures? Not many, other than that this is a subject that some people around the world feel strongly about.

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