In Norway last year the University of Trondheim’s board threw out an attempt by its anti-Israel pressure group to force all Trondheim employees to boycott Israel. It was a boycott any academic trade unionist must oppose on principle.
Now Principle Sigmund Grønmo of the University of Bergen, one of Norway’s larger HE institutions, is going to open a debate on boycotting Israel. Boycotting Israeli academics cannot build anything positive for Palestinians, and it will harm our academic integrity. By now you know the score – we see again this willingness on the part of boycotters to surrender the free exchange and pursuit of knowledge to one political position, and the enthusiasm for wasting (other people’s) academic energy on performing or opposing hostility against Israel. It seems that Bergen is not considering targeting any other country’s institutions with boycott – for me the singularity of this organised attack on only Israel has always been the most disturbing and ominous thing about the boycott campaign – and it’s still disturbing and ominous. Let’s hope Bergen kicks it out.