Today at 14.00 CET the Board of NTNU started their consideration of the boycott proposal.
And the Boards vote was unanimous, there will be no academic boycott of Israel instigated by NTNU. In the wake of the proposal there have been waves, and many outspoken supporters of the proposal have written op-ed’s as well as many who is opposed to an academic proposal. And the media turned up as well, not only Norwegian news outlets like TV2, NRK, Adressa, Dagbladet and so on and so forth. But also international news services like Al Jazeera and Jerusalem Post made an appearance.
Some would say it was a foregone conclusion. Several members of the board had in advance flagged that they would not support the boycott-proposal. Was it still wise to consider the boycott? I believe it is, for one thing this should put a lid on the critics who have blown a fuse lately, and live in the belief that all Norwegian is Quislings and that NTNU is a hate campus. Secondly, when a number of board members asks that a motion is put on the agenda, it would be arrogant to not consider it, even though it had no chance of being carried.
Now the attacks on NTNU and Norway have been fierce, unreasonable and quite frankly ridiculous lately. Many Israeli and friends of Israel have complained that it is unfair that Israel is singled out, and that other parts of the in-going conflict is as much to blame. But seriously, it is actually a compliment, that we think Israel, unlike most of it’s neighbours, can be talked to sensibly. That it is a democracy that can still be reasoned with. I don’t believe a boycott is a good way to express our disappointment with Israel, and its policies towards the Palestinians, but maybe this whole debaucle may be for good, as it has put a spotlight on the conflicts academic side.
And let’s not forget, now NTNU is the only western University who has voted clearly NOT to install an academic boycott on Israel, technically, the rest of the world is still on the fence!