The Science Museum has come under an unprecedented attack by a group of 400 academics.
The Zionist Federation has organised two Israel Day of Science events at the Science Museum in London and its sister museum in Manchester.
The academics who are aligned with supporters of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (Bricup) argue that such events give “respectability” to universities in Israel which are linked to the Israeli military and which are, therefore, so they argue, complicit in the recent Gaza conflict.
The Science Museum is resisting this effort to add to the long list of Israel demonizers, de-legitimisers and boycotters.
Clearly, the fact that the organisers have the word “Zionist” in their name is like a red rag to a bull(y).
To these people any contact with Israel or Israeli institutions, however worthy or non-political is to be condemned.
Whilst such events clearly have a propaganda aspect to promote Israel and its outstanding achievements in all areas of science, this is no different from similar events which all countries organise.
Israeli science is second to none and has brought untold benefits to mankind totally out of proportion to its population. It is important that the world see this side of Israel instead of the constant flow of negative images and reporting.
It is clear that these academics view Israel as a pariah to be singled out for boycotting and academic disengagement.
But if this is the case then these academics and Bricup at hypocrites.
Do they support the daily assault on southern Israel which caused an almost complete breakdown of school life in Sderot and its neighbourhood? Would they therefore be as forthright in boycotting a Palestinian science event were it to take place? I don’t think so.
Recently there was an exhibition at the British Museum of Iranian art and culture. Would Bricup contemplate demonstrations against this exhibition because Iran is building nuclear weapons and supplying arms (presumably developed by Iranian scientists) to Hamas and Hezbollah so they can be used indiscriminately against Israeli civilians? And if they would argue that such an exhibition is not scientific and therefore a different issue, then it could be equally argued that an Israeli Science Day where the presenters are particle physicists working at CERN, hydrologists, nano-technologists and geneticists has absolutely nothing to do with the military.
And what if it had? Do not British scientists and American scientists and Arab scientists and Chinese scientists work at universities where military technology is studied, produced and even tested?
Will we have no exhibitions of science at all then? Are not some of these very academics engaged, perhaps, in scientific enquiry that could have military use? Maybe not.
This has nothing to do with science and everything to do with the obsession of a certain cadre in British academe that has an animus against one country above all others. Why is this? Go figure.