Sociologists in Israel are expected to discuss whether to announce an academic boycott of Ariel University in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. The boycott initiative, by Professor Uri Ram of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, will first need to pass a vote of the Israeli Sociological Society, which includes some 1,000 researchers and academics. “We will not cooperate with the institute known as Ariel University, which is not located within the bounds of the State of Israel,” said Ram.
Professor Ram, the new chair of the Israel Sociological Society, said Monday March 14, that he thinks “the Israel Sociological Society cannot sit on the fence and ignore decades of occupation. The society has no right to exist if it is not involved in the society in which it lives.” The sociological society will discuss a possible boycott of Ariel University at a meeting of the society’s leadership in early April.
Professor Ram clarified that, “For now it is a specific decision of mine as president of the society to boycott Ariel. The society is not a private nonprofit organization; it has an assembly of members and a leadership, and a decision must be brought for discussion in these institutions. I am doing this as a way of hoisting a black flag of immorality over the occupation.” Ram added: “Nonetheless, I want to differentiate between this and the debate over an academic boycott of Israel. I don’t support an academic boycott of Israel; Israel is a legitimate nation, the occupation is not legitimate. I certainly do not boycott academia in Israel, I am part of its academia and do not boycott myself.”