28th March 2019: African Students For Liberty – UCT (ASFL-UCT) denounces the proposal for the University of Cape Town to implement an academic boycott of Israeli tertiary institutions. This proposal is fundamentally anti-Freedom, as it seeks to limit students’ and academics’ ability to collaborate with their Israeli counterparts. As such, ASFL-UCT opposes such a measure.
This proposal has been working its way through UCT to becoming policy for over two years now. This measure was proposed to the then-VC Max Price who referred it to the Academic Freedom Committee for consideration. This committee decided to endorse the proposal instead of dismissing it as would be expected of a committee established to furthering Academic Freedom. The irony of a committee tasked with protecting Academic Freedom proposing a measure to limit Academic Freedom should be apparent to all. That the Academic Freedom Committee should propose an academic boycott of any kind reeks of Orwellian doublespeak.
On a cursory reading of the proposal, it simply appears to limit cooperation with Israeli universities operating in the disputed territory of the West Bank. However, on further examination, the proposal is worded in such a way as to encompass all universities in Israel. This vague phrasing makes the proposal sound less extreme than it would be if put into effect.
The proposal is now before the UCT council. If adopted, this proposal will become UCT policy. As individualism is the centerpiece of the philosophy of Liberalism, we promote the maximisation of individual agency in society. Any rule that seeks to limit this agency other than to respect the rights of others in society is unjust and should be rejected. This proposal should accordingly be rejected by anyone who cherishes the values of Liberty and a free society.
We call on the UCT Council to reject this proposal at their meeting on the 30th of March 2019.
African Students for Liberty – UCT
Also Read: Academic Boycott of Israel is Path to Ruin