David Hirsh to speak at University of Johannesburg Seminar on Academic Boycotts

The Faculty of Law, University of Johannesburg cordially invites you to a morning symposium on the following topic:

‘Are Academic Boycotts Justifiable?’

The symposium will seek to address from a variety of perspectives the question whether academic boycotts are justifiable or not. Naturally, the symposium takes place in a context where this has been debated in relation to the relationship
between UJ and Ben-Gurion University. The seminar will seek to explore the broader principled questions relating to academic boycotts in general as well as those that are more specific to the Israel/Palestine and UJ/BGU relationship.

Speakers will include:

Ran Greenstein (University of the Witwatersrand)
David Hirsh (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
Na’eem Jeenah (Afro-Middle East Centre)
Joel Fishman (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East)

The seminar will take place in the form of discussion between the speakers, those in favour and those against academic boycotts. Ample time will be allowed for discussion from the floor. Anyone interested in the issue is welcome. Please RSVP for catering purposes to Aubrey Louw (aubreyl@uj.ac.za).
DATE: 13 May 2011
TIME: 09h00 – 11h30
VENUE: UJ Auckland Park Campus A Ring 617
(A Ring floor 6).

flyer pdf here

5 Responses to “David Hirsh to speak at University of Johannesburg Seminar on Academic Boycotts”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    To paraphrase the battle cry from Harry S. Truman’s campaign for election as US President, 1948, “Give ’em hell, David”

  2. Isca Stieglitz Says:

    Good luck!

  3. Ran Greenstein Says:

    If recent experience teaches us anything, the deportation from Israel of David Hirsh’s co-speaker is unlikely to give rise to any complaints about violations of academic freedom, and ‘singling out’ of dissidents…

    The director of the Afro Middle East Centre (AMEC) Na’eem Jeenah has been deported to Istanbul after ten hours of interrogation. Mr
    Jeenah’s passport and all his belongings were not returned. He was
    deported late last night and is presently in a holding area at
    Istanbul Airport.

    We call on our government to offer Mr Jeenah full consular support and to speedily facilitate his safe travel home.

    AMEC also, at the very least, demands vigorous condemnation of this
    unconscionable act and an official protest to the Israeli government
    from our Department of International Relations and Cooperation. Mr
    Jeenah’s passport and belongings must be returned to him.

    AMEC has received numerous offers of help and messages of concern from South Africa and beyond. We thank all for their support. AMEC will post an official statement on their website after Mr Jeenah’s return.

    For more information contact:+27 11 782-6754
    e-mail: info@amec.org.za
    website: http://www.amec.org.za


  4. Paul M Says:


    You must already know every detail of Mr. Jeenah’s deportation and the Israeli authorities’ case against him, if you are able to say with such certainty that it is “unconscionable” and a matter of academic freedom rather than, say, assaulting a hotel maid (to pick a possible reason at random). Do share.

  5. Absolute Observer Says:

    It may well be a misguided and stupid decision for any of number of reasons but as far as I know, letting people into a country has always been at the discretion of the state and (let us not disregard the law this time) hardly falls under the heading of “violations of academic freedom”; unless, of course, you think that academics should simply be permitted to bypass passport control on the grounds that they are academics?

    It is obvious to most by now that you have an overblown opinion of yourself and your profession but, really, isn’t this stretching it bit?

    And, since we are on the subject, are you so quick to jump up and down when an academic on an Israeli passport tries to enter, say, Malaysia to attend a conference or to meet other academics living there, but their law states categorically that anyone travelling on an Israeli passport will be a priori forbidden to enter? If not, why not?

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