The news from Israel has been rather depressing lately. Unacceptable military blunders on all fronts. Our enemies' double war crimes of deliberately attacking civilians from civilian neighbourhoods pointedly ignored, while an accident that we apologise for loudly condemned. Not enough that "wipe Israel off the map" Ahmadinejad in Iran is developing the bomb – six other Arab states announce that they intend going nuclear too. And the icing on the cake: a report from the Israeli Ynet news site. Although the UK academic boycott of Israel was voted down, it seems that UK academics and institutions are quietly refusing to have anything to do with Israelis. No consideration for the politics or the multiculturalism of the institutions they disdain, nor of the damage to the Arab students at those institutions. No recognition of Israel's right to exist – or at least protect its citizens from being slaughtered. Depressing.
Then I received the latest newsletter of Israel 21c. The news site comes out almost every day with a new wonder – describing the fruits of modern Israeli science and technology. It set me thinking about all the Jewish Nobel prize winners; about the disproportionate Israeli contribution to modern science. Computers, medicine, biotechnology, nanotechnology, renewable energy; Israelis are at the forefront.
It is not a coincidence that this Jewish state called Israel rose out of the ashes of an attempt by European and Arab states to eradicate their Jews. Indeed, many of Jewish hospitals, schools, universities and clubs around the world grew out of an unwillingness of the general society to educate, hire or socialize with Jews. They quickly grew into the finest institutions – a model for others that far surpassed their anti-Semitic rivals.
In the "publish or perish" academic world, access to and participation in the development of new ideas is critical. And if the inventiveness of Israeli scholarship and achievement is withheld, these academics and their journals will miss out. They may not become second rate and wither on the vine, but is it too much to dream that they will be overshadowed by those who meet their Israeli counterparts on an equal footing?
Wherever practical, let every supporter of Israel direct academic achievements, papers, studies, grants and donations to people and institutions that demonstrate honest and true academic freedom.
Let's make sure that these misguided academics – whether they shun the Jewish state and its citizens out of misguided political correctness, jealousy of their Israeli counterparts' achievements, or simple anti-Semitism – will not have a part in the miracle of modern Israel and its scientific discoveries..
Let the anti-Semites self-select themselves out of the race. Preferably out of the human race.