Robert Boyce questions Israel’s continued participation in EU Research Framework Programmes

To European Commissioner for Research Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn:

As an academic connected to a research-led institution, I strongly support initiatives for strengthening research cooperation within the European Union and the European Economic Area. However, I wish to know how you can justify Israel’s continued participation in EU Research Framework Programmes when it so monstrously flouts the democratic and humanitarian principles that the EU formally makes a condition of membership or association.

In the past, EU spokespersons have justified Israeli participation on the grounds that this will increase EU influence in Israeli political circles and thereby conduce to peace, and secondly that it opens the door to Israeli-Palestinian research cooperation. Since Israel’s use of grossly disproportionate military force in the invasion of Gaza in 2008-09, its rejection of the Goldstone Report (endorsed by the European Parliament), its continued ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, its illegal ‘targetted assassinations’ of political opponents using stolen passports of EU citizens, and its recent abusive treatment of the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the starving people of Gaza who have endured collective punishment at the hands of Israel since 2006, such talk of conducing towards peace must surely be set aside. As for Israeli-Palestinian research cooperation, this was never more than a fantasy, given that Israel has consistently sought to impoverish and disrupt the relevant Palestinian institutions. Does it not follow that, to be consistent with the governing principles of the European Union, you must suspend Israeli participation in all EU research initiatives?

Robert Boyce, London School of Economics and Political Science

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