200 prominent South Africans sign BGU boycott petition

09/25/2010 00:27

Pro-boycott petition letter circulated ahead of University of Johannesburg vote on whether to end ties with Ben-Gurion University set for Sept. 29.
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Two hundred prominent South Africans have publicly called for the University of Johannesburg to end its relationship with Ben-Gurion University as part of an ongoing global boycott campaign against Israeli institutions, a group organizing the boycott petition announced on Friday.

Ahead of a vote on the issue by the University of Johannesburg’s Senate scheduled to occur on Wednesday, September 29 at the school’s Soweto campus, boycott advocates are trying to raise support from academics as well as prominent South Africans.

The most prominent supporters of the boycott petition are the regular, strident Israel critic former Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former government minister Ronnie Kasrils, but the petition has also been signed by members of South Africa’s academic community, including Professors John Dugard, Breyten Breytenbach and Mahmood Mamdani.

The boycott petition organizers strongly criticized Ben-Gurion University for its alleged “direct and indirect support for the Israeli military.” They have called upon the University of Johannesburg to end all academic ties with the Israeli university.

“It is clear to us that any connection with an institution so heavily vested in the Israeli occupation would amount to collaboration with an occupation that denigrates the values and principles that form the basis of any vibrant democracy,” the organizers said in their statement on Friday.

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