EXCHANGE OF LETTERS BETWEEN SWC AND PRESiDENT OF INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS
Letter from Professor Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President, International Association of University Presidents (IAUP):
Dear Dr. Shimon:
I am writing to you on behalf of Prof. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President of International Association of University Presidents. First of all, I would like to thank you for sharing the news. I will be sending out this information to the Chairs of IAUP Regional Councils so that they are also aware to this issue. The IAUP regional councils are based in different regions of the World.
We intend to put this issue in our agenda in the next executive committee meeting. Please send us the latest development on this issue.
We wish you all the best.
Office of the President
Letter to Professor Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President, International Association of University Presidents (IAUP):
Paris, 31 May 2007
Dear Mr President,
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is an international Jewish human rights
organization with a worldwide membership of 440,000. Established in 1977,
with headquarters in Los Angeles, it draws the lessons of the Holocaust to
the analysis of contemporary issues of prejudice and discrimination. The
Centre is an NGO in consultative status to the United Nations, UNESCO, the
OSCE, the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe.
Yesterday, the University and College Union (UCU), representing teachers in
universities and institutions of Higher Education throughout the United
Kingdom, voted to boycott its Israeli counterparts.
Our Centre's membership is gravely concerned at this one-sided and
discriminatory campaign to single out Israeli academics and Universities.
Campaign instigators have also called for a rupture in research
collaboration and in the publication of papers in Israeli learned journals.
Mr President, your International Association of Universities represents
institutions and organizations of higher education in over 150 countries,
and your Founding Charter states as "a fundamental principle for which
every university should stand: the tolerance of divergent opinion and
freedom from political interference."
The UCU boycott, in its political interference, encourages the most extreme
rejectionists of peace in the Middle East and will exacerbate relations
between Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews on British campuses. Above
all, in its anti-Israeli focus, it is in violation of Article 13 of the
European Union's Treaty of Amsterdam, which prohibits "national
discrimination"; it also evokes the clause in the 2004 Working Definition
of Anti-Semitism of the European Union Monitoriong Centre on Racism and
Xenophobia (EUMC), which states: "Applying double standards by requiring of
it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic
nation." Thus, the UCU behaviour is clearly characterized by this
international instrument as a form of antisemitism.
Our Centre urges the International Association of Universities to publicly
condemn this boycott and to warn the UCU that it will be considered a
pariah in international academia until its scurrilous resolution is
As an alert to the potential global repercussions for all academics, we are
sharing this letter with your sister organization, the International
Association of University Presidents (IAUP) in Bangkok, as also with your
Associate members, the European University Association (EUA) in Brussels,
and the American Council on Education (ACE).
Boycotts are the antithesis to international scholarly cross-fertilization.
The political hatemongering behind the British University and College
Union's campaign must not impugn academic integrity - prejudice must carry
Dr Shimon Samuels
Director for International Relations
Prof. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President, International Association of
University Presidents (IAUP), Bangkok
Prof. Georg Winckler, President, European University Association (EUA),
Prof. Ward David, President, American Council on Education (ACE),
Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder, Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Los Angeles
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Los Angeles