Yaba Yaba

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Academics in Wonderland: Geoffrey Smith on the Boycott and Arab Israelis

with 2 comments

Imagine a country with separate school systems for its two major communities, but the universities are open to both, where students and staff from both communities work and research together right across the range of the university curriculum. Their research improves the life of minority groups in their society.

Geoffrey Smith is the deputy director of Christian Friends of Israel – UK. Having met Mohammad Darawshe from the Abraham Fund, he was moved to write this article. He concludes:

Mohammed Darawashe never pretended all their problems were solved. But these examples of creative ways to tackle disadvantage and promote equality in Israel made me feel sick when I thought of British trade union attitudes. The conference decision in the universities is perverse but there is a risk that boycotts would spread from the crazy fringe to trade unions that really carry clout, like Unison. It is time to get real, to see what is really being done by people who care in Israel, and to support not boycott their endeavours.

Mohammad will be speaking tomorrow at the Goodenough College.

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Written by yishaym

June 13, 2007 at 6:05 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I think a selective boycott would be better than a complete boycott. Those who are doing good and moving towards peace should not be punished. But those that support the injustice in the occupied territories should be boycotted.

    Not all schools in Israel are segregated.
    Opening of a mixed school in Galilee, back in 1997.

    Established in 1997, it was the first mixed school in Israel to host fully integrated classrooms teaching in both Arabic and Hebrew.
    […] Arab citizens of Israel make up 20% of the population, but the schooling system has traditionally remained rigorously segregated, with separate languages and curricula for Jewish and Arab students.
    […] it’s impossible to tell the Arab from the Jewish students.

    This is good, because equal access to universities requires equal access to good primary and secondary education. Wouldn’t you agree?

    How much does Israel spend on the schooling of an Arab child? How much on the schooling of a Jewish child?


    June 15, 2007 at 12:41 pm

  2. I don’t remember the exact details, but yes – fund allocation is not fair, which is one of the issues the Abraham Fund is challenging, with growing success. There are other problems. For example, the main language of instruction in Arab schools is, not surprisingly, Arabic. However, universities and colleges teach in Hebrew. This is one of the three top factors for Arab student drop-out in year one of graduate education. The Abraham Fund is trying to address this by establishing pre-college summer schools which will teach academic Hebrew, computer literacy and research methods.


    June 17, 2007 at 2:08 am

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