This statement follows a number of media reports suggesting that UJ supports an academic boycott of Israel following the UJ Senate vote (March 23) to allow the formal relationship between UJ and Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel to lapse.
Says Professor Rensburg: “I need to make this quite clear. UJ is not part of an academic boycott of Israel. UJ holds the view that given the current situation in the Middle East the formal institutional agreement between UJ and BGU is an insurmountable obstacle to either institution facilitating a wider dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian academics.
He says this position was discussed with the President of BGU, Professor Rivka Carmi during Prof Rensburg’s visit to the university in Israel in January 2011.
“It has never been UJ’s intention to sever all ties with BGU, although it may have been the intention of some UJ staff members. Rather, the UJ Senate voted to bring an end to the formal institutional agreement between the two universities which at this particular time, in the Senate’s view, creates an obstacle to cooperation between academics in Israel and Palestine.
“This senate resolution does not prevent individual academics from continuing and engaging in research and other partnerships with their peers from BGU and other institutions around the world, as is currently the practice in many cases.”
“The UJ Senate vote, in fact, encourages peer-to-peer engagements and UJ stands ready to assist in facilitating this effort and to put resources in place to support these relationships,” says Professor Rensburg.
Click on the below links for related stories
UJ Senate votes on Ben-Gurion partnership
Statement on the relationship between UJ and Ben-Gurion University