Israeli officials and professors are sensitive to their international image. Hence we ask you to write to the members of the CHE and express grave concern about the possible closure of the department. Most of the members of the CHE are professors and may be swayed by Israel’s international reputation and by the need to protect academic freedom.
Please also consider signing the online petition that calls upon the Council of Higher Education to reject the recommendation to close down the department.
Of course, you may also write to journalists, blogs, electronic media, to your politicians, your governments and to heads of Israeli universities with a clear message – closing an academic department through blatant political intervention will gravely stain Israel’s standing in the a academy, and hinder future contact and status with academics worldwide.
This is a suggested draft of a letter of concern to be finalized, of course, by each sender.
To: Xxxx Official position (eg. members of the Israeli Council of Higher Education)
Re: Grave Concern Regarding Attack on Academic Freedom in Israel
I am writing to express my grave concern about reported moves to close the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University.
The Department of Politics and Government is a highly respected academic department, which excels in research and teaching, and represents a broad range of methodologically and theoretical approaches among the faculty. It appears as if the pressures to close the department are not connected to academic considerations and are instead politically motivated.
I am alarmed by this incident, and the impact it has on academic freedom at a leading Israeli university. This may be the beginning of a slippery slope, leading to academic decline, and loss of academic contacts for Israeli academia.
Further, Israel’s reputation as a center of academic freedom and excellence will be severely damaged. Critical scholarship is at the heart of academia in democratic countries, and should be protected and nourished.
I call on you to do everything you can to prevent the closure of this department, and to make every effort in your current capacity to protect the most important values of academic freedom and excellence.