Dear members of the Israeli Council of Higher Education,
The French Political Science Association has been informed by Israeli and American colleague that The Israeli Council of Higher Education, of which you are members or correspondents, might order the closure of the Politics a and Government Department at Ben-Gurion University (BGU), Beersheba, Israel, in its forthcoming meeting of October 23, 2012. We are writing you to express our concern about such a decision.
The Department of Politics and Government is an internationally respected academic department, with excellent and productive researchers and teachers, representing a broad range of methodological and theoretical approaches. Several members of our association know them, have invited them to teach, published with them or are working on international research programmes together. We see no academic reason that could justify such a sanction which therefore appears to be based on political grounds.
We are very alarmed by this incident, and the disastrous impact it would have on a leading Israeli university and tomorrow, maybe, on other ones. This is an unprecedented decision which would severely damage Israel’s reputation. Freedom of expression, and the right to criticize, are at the heart of academia in democratic countries, and should be protected and nourished.
We call on you to do everything you can to prevent the closure of this department, and to make every effort in your capacity to protect the fundamental values of academic freedom and excellence.
Nonna Mayer, President of the French Political Science Association
Yves Deloye, Secretary General of the French Political Science Association