Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Umberto Eco Opposes the Boycott of Israel

Italian author Umberto Eco came out against the boycott of Israel in L'espresso. A full Hebrew translation is available here. I couldn't find a full English translation, but parts of it were published in the English edition of Ha'aretz:

"A brochure circulated in Turin by the Italian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel claims that most Israeli universities, academics and intellectuals have supported and are supporting their governments ... and that Israeli universities are used for the most important weapons development research programs, centered on nanotechnology and on technological and psychological means for subjugating and controlling the civilian population," Eco wrote in L'espresso magazine last weekend. "I don't remotely agree with the policy of the Israeli government ... but I find the claim that most Israeli academics are actively supportive of their governments to be deceitful."

"I would understand," Eco continued, "if the physics department at the University of Rome or at Oxford decided not to cooperate with their colleagues in the same departments at universities in Tehran or Pyongyang if it turned out that the latter were involved in developing a nuclear bomb. But I would still find it difficult to understand why these universities should also sever ties with the departments of Korean art history or classical Persian literature."

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