UJ cuts ties with Israeli university

2011-03-23 22:08

Johannesburg - The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has officially severed ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU), deputy vice chancellor Adam Habib said on Wednesday.

"It will happen as per protocol on April 1," Habib told Sapa.

"We had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with them and that will now be severed."

Habib said the "financial implications" of the decision would not adversely impact the UJ.

"Decisions should not be determined by finances, but to be honest it will not adversely impact the university. We are a big institution with a big budget. Our finances will not be adversely impacted one way or other."

Scare mongering

Ben-Gurion University however had been working with UJ on finding a method to clean algae that has infested South Africa's drinking water.

The severing of ties meant the project was likely to come an end, leaving UJ without access to BGU's extensive water expertise.

"There has been quite a lot of scare mongering that if the partnership breaks, South Africa will be confined to bad water quality," Habib said.

"The quality of our water is suffering because we are not spending the type of money on cleaning water that we need to, and not employing skill sets required.

"We can deal with acid rain water in the region if we are prepared to spend money."

Impending disaster

Habib said individual professors from UJ would be allowed to keep up existing partnerships with BGU.

"That is something for individual academics to determine, but it depends on whether BGU allows this or not."

UJ's severing of ties with came amidst talk of steep water tariff increases and a warning South Africa could run out of water within the next ten years if nothing was done to supplement water resources.

The Environment and Conservation Association has said that by 2015, 80% of South Africa's fresh water would be so badly polluted that no purification process in the country would make it fit for consumption.

The impending disaster that would be created by acid mine drainage, as well as by sewerage and industrial pollution, had on many occasions been brought to the government's attention, with no positive results, the association said.

Domino effect

The UJ petition committee said in a statement the university's senate had found "significant" evidence that BGU had research and other engagements supporting Israel's military, in particular in its occupation of Gaza.

"UJ is the first institution to officially sever relations with an Israeli university - a landmark moment in the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel campaign," it said.

The committee said the decision, coming from a South African institution, was of particular significance as it could start "a domino boycott effect".

Efforts to end ties with BGU began with the UJ petition - a statement by UJ academics and students calling on their university to end its "apartheid-era relationship" with BGU.

The committee claimed more than 400 South African academics, including nine vice chancellors and deputy vice chancellors had joined the campaign.

"Palestinians, South Africans and the international academic and solidarity community rejoice at this decisive victory."

Narrow-minded

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) slammed the announcement, saying that it was a blow to academic and scientific freedom

"UJ's senate's decision to allow the formal relationship between UJ and BGU to lapse is playing to narrow-minded political prejudice and is a severe setback for constructive intellectual engagement in South Africa," SAJBD national chairperson Zev Krengel said in a statement.

He called the decision unjust and unreasonable and said "academic boycotts are antithetical to the principles of academic and scientific freedom".

- SAPA
Read more on:    uj  |  education
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
231 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.