In response to attempts to cancel Israeli Science Day

A recent science_museum tweet reads:

“Israeli Day of Science at the museum today. Protestor’s outside. Come down for politics and potential terror, but not the IMAX as it’s shut.”

Also this letter in the Independent from leading scientists and academics:

Dear Sir,

We were saddened by attempts to cancel the “Israel Science Day” lectures and workshops for schoolchildren. Whatever our opinions on the actions of the Israeli Government, scientists and academics should not be punished simply for their nationality.

Science crosses borders, builds bridges and transcends national and political divides. It can unite people, but the protesters seek only to divide and exclude. At a time of high community tensions, these boycott calls are especially pernicious.

The group of protesters peddled a discredited academic boycott inside the University and College Union, which was widely condemned as discriminatory and was abandoned. After failing in their union, they have continued the boycott campaign in wider society, trying to prevent British schoolchildren from being inspired by scientific discovery and innovation.

We welcome the Science Museum’s principled position in refusing to cancel this event, and hope that the “Israel Science Day” events inspire British pupils to pursue a future of their own scientific innovations and successes.


Baroness Greenfield Director, the Royal Institution

Lord May FRS President Elect, British Association for the Advancement of Science; previous President, Royal Society; former Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government,

Lord Haskel Member, Lords Committee on Science and Technology

Lord Winston

Baroness Deech former chair, Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority

Dr Stephen Ladyman MP a professional scientist before becoming an MP

Tim Boswell MP Member, Innovation Universities and Skills Committee

Professor Denis Noble CBE FRS University of Oxford

Professor Sir Walter Bodmer University of Oxford

Professor Sir Peter Lachmann FRS FMedSci founder President, the UK Academy of Medical Sciences; past president, Royal College of Pathologists

Lord Turnberg

Professor Raymond Dwek FRS University of Oxford

Professor Jeremy K. M. Sanders FRS University College London

Professor Sir Alan Fersht FRS University of Cambridge

Professor Felix Weinberg FRS Imperial College London

Professor Stephen Neidle University of London

Professor Sarah Annes Brown Anglia Ruskin University

Professor NH Freeman University of Bristol

Professor Shalom Lappin Kings College, London

Professor Ludwik Finkelstein OBE FREng City University

Professor Yan V Fyodorov University of Nottingham

Professor Richard Bell University of Nottingham

Professor Michael Yudkin University of Oxford

Sir Ian Gainsford King’s College London (retd)

Professor Norman Fenton Queen Mary, University of London

Professor J M Reese University of Strathclyde

Professor Naomi A Fineberg University of Hertfordshire

Professor Ashley Grossman FRCP FMedSci London School of Medicine

Professor Geoffrey Alderman University of Buckingham

Professor Peter Maitlis Sheffield University

Professor David R Katz University College London

Professor Anthony Warrens FHEA FRCP Imperial College, London

Professor Ruth Itzhaki University of Manchester

Professor Alan Zinober University of Sheffield

Professor John Friend University of Hull (retd)

Professor Matthew H. Kramer University of Cambridge

Professor Yehuda Baruch University of East Anglia

Professor Gregory Gutin Royal Holloway, University of Londojn

Professor Daniel Hochhauser University College London

Professor David Stone University of Glasgow

Professor Irving Taylor ChM FRCS FMedSci FHEA University College London

Professor Mervyn Singer FRCP University College London

Professor A. David Smith University of Oxford

Professor Bernard S. Jackson University of Manchester

Professor Mark Schankerman London School of Economics

Professor Naomi Chayen Imperial College London

Professor Efraim Karsh King’s College London

Professor Keith Willison Institute of Cancer Research

Professor Brian L Burrows Staffordshire University

Professor Dame Hazel Genn University College London

Professor Stanley Bleehen University of Sheffield

Professor D. H. Foster University of Manchester

Professor Adrian Hyde-Price University of Bath

Professor Michael Sternberg

Professor Bryan Reuben London South Bank University

Professor Clive Jones University of Leeds

Professor Simon Wesseley Institute of Psychiatry

Dr Patrick Carmichael University of Cambridge

Dr Bernard S. Kay University of York

Dr Raya Khanin University of Glasgow

Dr Eugene Avrutin University of York

Michael Krom University of Leeds

Leslie Reinhorn University of Durham

Dr Eldad Avital Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Michael Kandiah University of London

Dr Margaret Myers retd

Dr Teresa Tiffert University of Cambridge

Dr Virgilio Lew University of Cambridge

Dr N.E.Scott-Samuel University of Bristol

Sophie Garside University of Manchester

Dr SM Lewis Imperial College, London

Dr Yuri Bazlov University of Warwick

Dr Anna Zecharia Imperial College, London

Rob Stevens Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Howard Kahn Heriot Watt University

Derek Meyer St Georges, University of London

I.Lewis Chemist, English Electrical Company (retd.)

Dr Nina Collins University of Leeds

Dr Jeffrey Ketland University of Edinburgh

Dr Ray Noble University College London

Dr Shoshana Squires University of Cambridge

Dr Jennifer Mindell University College London

Dr Liz Lightstone FRCP Imperial College London

Louis Lyons Imperial College London

Mark Katz CEO, Mark-IT

Brian Kerner MRPharmS (retd)

Barry Landy University of Cambridge (retd)

Dr Jose Liht University of Cambridge

Dr Ariel Hessayon FRHistS Goldsmiths, University of London

Yael Benn student, University of Sheffield

Julian Love University of Derby

Dr Elijah R Behr St George’s University of London

Maria Toledo University of Nottingham

Dr Sygal Amitay Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham

Dr Norman Solomon University of Oxford

Dr Sharon Morein University of Cambridge

Dr Hillary B. Katz London South Bank University

Dr Alan Benster

Peter Fine University of Sussex

Dr Michael Bardill

Marta Carroni PhD Student, Imperial College London

Dr Jonathan Rosier University College London

Dr Federico Carafoli Imperial College, London

John Akins Imperial College, London

Also in The Independent, a piece about Israeli science and the difference it makes:

“International co-operation in science is near-universal because scientific research recognises few borders. Indeed, there have been attempts to forge more direct links between Israeli scientists and their Palestinian colleagues. An umbrella organisation called the Israeli- Palestinian Scientific Organisation was established in 2002 to distribute grants worth about £50,000 for joint research projects.

One British scientist who has close links with Israel said that many of his Israeli friends and colleagues strongly disapprove of the recent actions in Gaza. But his view is that it is counter-productive to call for a boycott of Israeli science and scientists: isolating the most liberal-minded Israelis would only make matters worse.”]#


See also yesterday’s Times editorial

5 Responses to “In response to attempts to cancel Israeli Science Day”

  1. Jonathan Hoffman Says:

    Here’s a report. The Manchester and London Science Days were both resounding successes.

  2. MITNAGED Says:

    Mira, I had already seen the letter which was excellent.

    I hadn’t seen the Independent’s piece though, and it makes a valuable point, albeit unwittingly – that the media, (and this includes the Independent for the most part) completely ignore the exciting and affirming joint projects between Israelis and Palestinians, which have the potential to loosen the dichotomies and to undermine hostlities simply because the the collaborators will relate to each other as people and watch the growth of what they build and the benefits for their people. We simply don’t hear enough about these projects and how they are progressing.

    Heaven help our universities if, through the bone-headedness of those who would prevent our students from accessing this cutting-edge research and relating to the academics who have inspired it have their way.

  3. Mira Vogel Says:

    Yes – those projects are very vulnerable though. After Oslo fell over and the Second Intifada began, Daniel Gavron (MP3 from 2008 – scroll down to 11am on Sunday 2nd March) tells of how few survived. He also talks about the ones that did – and has in fact written a book about this called Holy Land Mosaic.

  4. Frank Adam Says:

    Being retired I could attend the whole Israeli (Manchester) Science Day and be of a little assistance with the posters.
    The science was a highly optimistic boost to one’s view of the future despite the pit of the current depression – if the madly religious do not shut us all down in another war.
    There were at least two references to local international co-operation: the Arab town in Israel which thanks to modern genetic counselling and the traditional arranged marriage custom mostly between cousins, will be able to cut back its unusual rate of mentally retarded births; second the oceanographic survey researching earthquakes and resources which being very expensive – €1mn a month – on €U ships carried teams of Palestine as well as Israeli scientists.
    What has been surprising in the entire “Left” anti-Zionist campaign since 1973 if not before is the willingness of those calling themselves “Left” to forget their Enlightenment history and team up with the enemies of the Enlightenment in the form of fundamentalist Moslems in a way they would never have teamed up with fundamentalist Christians and their secular allies, the counter-revolutionary monarchies of Europe in 1792 – 1919.
    As said elsewhere, it is not that the Moslem World fell behind, so much as the Western World forged ahead since the 16th century. Significantly the century of the Protestant Reformation breaking up the West’s cultural hegemony, political self image and, “Thought Police,” just as the new code of Suleiman the Magnificent – The Lawgiver in Turkish and Arabic – repaired and reinforced the grip of official thinking in their culture zone.
    To reinforce the point more recently: after Hitler’s and Lysenko’s damage to German and Soviet science by subordination to party line, both of those countries have not yet repaired their former positions in the scientific world.

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