U. of Johannesburg Seeks to Limit Ties to Israeli University

October 4, 2010

The Faculty Senate at the University of Johannesburg last week voted to suspend joint research and education programs with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev unless the latter institution meets certain conditions, including adding Palestinian universities to the programs and ending all of its ties to the Israel military. The Senate vote, expected to be adopted by the university as policy, could well end ties between the South African and Israeli universities, especially since many of the ties that Ben-Gurion has to the military are routine in Israel (such as programs to help students who are in the military or who are called up for reserve duty). The move at Johannesburg to cut ties to Ben-Gurion has been endorsed by many South African academics who want to back the Palestinian cause. Ben-Gurion has yet to formally respond, a spokeswoman said. But supporters of Ben-Gurion have criticized the scrutiny the joint research project has received, saying that Israeli universities are being held to higher standards than those in any other country, and that the research that could be cut off helps black South Africans.


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