Sowetan: UJ keeps ties with Israeli varsity at arm's length

By Anna Majavu
Sowetan - Johannesburg - South Africa [30_09_10]

THE University of Johannesburg has cut some ties with an Israeli university but will not break off all relations.

About 250 academics, including four vice-chancellors as well as UJ's SRC, signed a petition calling on UJ senate to formally cut all links with Ben-Gurion University.

Yesterday the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University vice- chancellor Derrick Swartz announced that he too was joining the boycott campaign.

But the UJ senate committee decided yesterday not to cut all ties with BGU.

Instead, said Farid Esack, the senate voted to "conditionally end its apartheid-era relationship with BGU".

Esack said UJ had agreed to "end any research or teaching relationship with BGU that has direct or indirect military links (to the Israeli military) or in instances where human rights abuses are identified".

"If BGU violates any of the conditions agreed on by the senate, the relationship will be terminated automatically after six months," Esack said.

He said that UJ's decision went only "part of the way" in meeting the demands of the boycott campaign.

UJ SRC representative Bongani Koahela described BGU as "an institution that directly and indirectly supports Israeli military and occupation which, among many other dehumanising effects, deprives Palestinians access to education".