For many years BRICUP has campaigned to discourage academics, scientists and others from holding their conferences in Israel, but at last Israel is doing our work for us. With a government led by a deeply corrupt opportunist and including strong representation from the illegal settler colonies, violence has erupted everywhere: against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza of course, but also between Jews in pre-1967 Israel. As the following article reprinted from Haaretz reports, an international linguistics association has reflected on the choice of Israel for its conference and decided to go elsewhere. The reasons set out in the article confirm that this was an eminently sensible decision.

International Academic Group Cancels Jerusalem Event Due to Israel’s West Bank Policy – Israel News –

Shira Kadari-Ovadia

Mar 2, 2023 4:38 pm IST

GLOW Linguistics, an international organization, was scheduled to hold its annual conference in Israel in 2024, but decided last week to move the meeting to another country after members applied pressure to cancel the event partially due to Israel’s West Bank policy.

The organization’s board decided in 2021 to hold the conference at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben Gurion University of the Negev, after two thirds of members voted to approve it. But in May 2022, 25 GLOW members sent the board a letter asking it to reconsider holding the meeting in Israel.

In the letter, the linguists gave a number of reasons they opposed holding the meeting in Israel, including that members from countries without diplomatic relations with Israel would not be able to attend. They also said they opposed Israel’s policies concerning the Palestinians, and members who are part of the BDS movement could be treated in a humiliating manner on entry or even be denied entry to Israel.

The signatories on the letter also described difficulties Israel has made for Palestinian academic institutions and quoted an Amnesty International report from January 2022, that accused Israel of being an apartheid state – both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also inside Israel proper with regard to its Arab citizens.

The opponents also opened a Facebook page to publicize their views against Israel and holding the conference here. This included the report in Haaretz about Watan Madi, an Arab student at Ben-Gurion University who was reprimanded in December by the university’s disciplinary board after quoting Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish during a ceremony held on campus marking Nakba Day.

After lengthy discussions between supporters of the boycott and GLOW’s board, it was decided to hold another vote on the matter. With two-thirds of the 170 members participating, a majority of 54 percent voted in favor of moving the conference to another location.

“We were happy when it was decided to hold the conference in Israel,” Prof. Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal of the linguistics department at Hebrew University told Haaretz. “The decision to hold the meeting here shows we have a strong group of researchers in Israel who have the judgment to choose which lectures are chosen for the conference,” he said.

“Colleagues from Europe warned a few months ago that it was possible there would be trouble over holding the conference in Israel, but the feeling was that even if they decided to open the issue for a general vote, in the end most of the members would vote in favor” of keeping it in Israel, he added.

But this didn’t happen, and Bar-Asher Siegel said the steps the new government is taking to weaken the legal system were the decisive factor against holding the conference in Israel. “The events of the past few weeks provided the opponents with fuel,” he said.