This Again? A Norwegian University Threatens a Boycott of Israel

The best way to describe the proposed boycott of Israeli academic and research institutions by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Trondheim is to label it "outrageous." While Israel, whose science and academic research is far superior to that of Norway, can live very well without the Norwegian academic institutions, the hypocrisy tinged with anti-Semitism makes the decision to boycott Israel most disturbing.

The boycott, replete with perversions of basic historical facts and Middle East realities, could lead one to consider that the Palestinian Authority rather than native Norwegians had a hand in its drafting. But then again, Norway gave the world "Quisling," a name which has become synonymous with the word traitor. (Vidkun Quisling headed the Nazi puppet regime installed by the Germans during WWII). Betrayal of the truth and perversion of reality has emanated from Norway before.

The petition issued by the university staff declares:

Since 1948 the State of Israel has occupied Palestinian land and denied the Palestinians basic human rights. In December/January this year, Israel made a brutal attack on Gaza, resulting in immense human suffering. People all over the world were shocked by the attack, and it led to fierce protests. In addition to brutal military assaults Israel has during many years systematically expelled Palestinian inhabitants from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza by the extension of settlements in occupied areas, building a wall, and constructing a road system to which Palestinians are denied access.

In 1948, Israel’s declaration of independence was followed by an attack on the nascent state by the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, with Arab-Palestinians actively involved in the fighting against the Jews. Six months earlier, on November 29, 1947, the Arabs of Palestine rejected the UN partition plan to create a Jewish state and a sovereign Palestinian state. The Jews of Palestine accepted the partition in spite of the significant reduction of the land promised to them for the reestablishment of their Jewish homeland under the Balfour Declaration and according to the internationally approved British mandate. The Arabs wanted the elimination of the Jewish state and possession of all of Palestine -- or nothing -- and have repeatedly rejected peace overtures with Israel since then. In the aftermath of the war, Jordan occupied the West Bank (land allotted to the Arabs of Palestine under the rejected UN partition plan), and Egypt occupied Gaza (land also allotted to the Arabs of Palestine).

Israel did not therefore “occupy Arab lands since 1948.” Rather, the so-called “Arab lands” were occupied by Jordan and Egypt.

In 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran and the Suez Canal to Israeli ships in contravention of international law. This casus belli effectively choked Israel’s trade with Africa and Asia. Jordan’s failed attempts to further cripple Israel led to Israel’s liberation of Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank. Israel overcame her enemies and the UN followed up with Resolution 242, which called for “territories for peace.” The wording carefully avoided an obligation by Israel to return “all” the territories, and called for an exchange of territories only within the framework of a real peace. Israel would eventually end territorial disputes with Egypt (for a cold peace) and Jordan (with a warmer peace).