Press Release

AFT and AAUP Respond to the Academic “Code of Ethics” Being Considered by the Israeli Government

For Release: 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Contact:

Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)
mmrowka@aft.org

WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten and American Association of University Professors (AAUP) President Rudy Fichtenbaum on the academic “code of ethics” the Israeli government is considering:

“The ‘code of ethics’ that the government of Israel is considering for the country’s academic institutions is a threat not only to academic freedom in Israel, but to Israel’s standing as a democracy. We join with colleagues in Israel’s Association of University Heads, and with the National Union of Israeli Students, in condemning it.

“No educator—at any academic level, anywhere in the world—should be told by outside forces what to say or how to think. Such a proposal is the antithesis of critical thinking and democratic principles. We call on Israel’s government to reject this proposal by Minister of Education Naftali Bennett in no uncertain terms. Israel’s universities must remain havens of intellectual curiosity and serious study, with no attempt by the state to monitor or restrict faculty political positions or their ability to freely instruct students in their respective areas of expertise.

“While we have opposed efforts to boycott Israeli universities, we also oppose stifling discussion of boycott proposals. No one convinces anyone of the merits of their position by preventing free speech. Moreover, movement to do this violates the norms of intellectual freedom and makes any opposition to boycott proposals significantly more difficult to defend. Either you believe in democracy and the freedom to speak, or you don't. That’s why this proposed code would, in the end, greatly harm Israel on the international stage.

“For these reasons, we stand in solidarity with students, faculty and university administrators who oppose this ill-conceived proposal.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.