Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Wonderland called Intellectually Lazy British Academics

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions-everyone can share those opinions within the ivory walls of Western academia-it is part of a concept we cherish, academic freedom. However, you are not entitled to make up your own facts! The disconnect between the British academic vote to boycott Israeli academics and the truth can be explained by ignorance, intellectual lazy inquiry and/or a political agenda that transcends the foundation of Western university behavior. I suspect that all three are explanations for my British colleagues behavior this day.

Allow me to suggest to Dr. Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian academic from Exeter University Speaking an event last evening that his explanation for "Why boycott Israeli Universities" was "Israel must be a pariah until they learn to be civilized." Apparently Dr. Karmi does not follow events in Gaza, Lebanon or Syria-he must have missed that “honor killings” have substantially increased in the disputed territories. He either does not know, is ill informed, does not do the proper research or he would know :
· An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis.
· An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralyzed hands.
· Young children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood.
· A researcher at Israel's Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine.
· Two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
· Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine.
· Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel
· Cell phone technology was also developed in Israel by MOTOROLA which has its biggest development center in Israel. Most of the latest technology in your mobile phone was developed by Israeli scientists
· Please know that Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita - 109 per 10,000 - than any other nation.
· In absolute terms, the highest number, except the US. Israel has ratio of patents filed.
· Israel has more museums per capita.
· Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita.
· Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth.
· Think of the massive contribution that Israel is giving to the world, including the Palestinians - and to you - in science, medicine, Communications, security. Pro rata for population they are making a greater contribution than any other nation on earth.

Yet another brilliant thinker, Professor Rosenhead said: "The government of the US and UK are unwilling to bring effective pressure to bear on the Israeli government to cease its illegal occupation and abuse of human rights and this is coming from a civil society with individuals saying if governments aren't doing the right things we will do what we can to demonstrate how serious we take this and bring the pressure of international opinion more forcibly to bear on the Israeli government and public."

Two points: first, this “justification for abandoning academic freedom as a guiding principle, is clearly a political upset this person has with Israel. I say, you are so entitled to have an upset-however, do not confuse this with selling out yourself and your values to a set of beliefs grounded in fabrication. Two, why does this person not apply the same standard of performance to the Palestinians and ask for like demands of the major powers?

Today I feel that the British academic leadership and a majority of its members are falling down the Alice in Wonderland hole-where will they end up and what are we willing to do about it?

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
Cal Poly-Pomona-California
Zinman College, Wingate Institute-Israel

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