Came across a new blog from Simon Kay, the Director of the British Council in Israel, in which he underlines the enthusiasm of British universities to strengthen academic collaboration with Israel. Without seeking in any way to brush under the carpet the vicious anti-Israel activism on many British campuses, the content of Kay’s piece is worth noting, particularly insofar as it points to the failure of the BDS boycott agenda to take hold in that environment:
“I cannot think of anything more important than dealing with this perception that the British universities are hostile to Israel. The perception is so far from the reality that our team is giving a top priority to both understand why there is this perception and to changing it.
“A few weeks ago I was visiting academics at Bar-Ilan University and the Technion. What I saw just takes your breath away. There is something creative and innovative and exciting about the approach to science in Israel.”
Kay notes that the first UK-Israel Regenerative Medicine Conference at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in November, with 250 scientists from both countries, the inaugural event of a five-year programme aiming to support joint projects in this field. “We believe such collaborations have potential to make real scientific breakthroughs.”
He also mentions forthcoming activities such as a policy dialogue event for Deans of Humanities in both countries and insists that “our universities are ready and eager to work with Israel, to receive its students and post-docs and to work together for the good of the humanities and sciences.”
“I try to visit one British university each month raising awareness of the potential of collaboration with Israel.
I speak to students, academics, vice-Chancellors and their senior leadership teams. What I hear is a consistent message. We welcome you coming to tell us about working with Israel. How can we collaborate?”