ĹUJ must cut ties with Israeli universityĺ
Johannesburg - The Congress of SA Trade Unions on Tuesday called on Johannesburg University (UJ) to terminate "any relationship" with Israel's Ben Gurion University (BGU).
"It [BGU] has consistently refused to oppose the Israeli government's attempts to silence academics that support sanctions against Israel and so it is a much compromised institution whose reputation and credibility are in tatters," said Cosatu spokesperson Bongani Masuku in a statement.
He described BGU as "a university that actively collaborates with the Israeli Defence Force in its enforcement of apartheid occupation against Palestinians, by offering special privileges and services to the army".
Masuku said BGU had not shown any willingness to comply with the conditions that were set for the possible renewal of the relations, with the deadline of April 1 2011 fast approaching.
"The UJ needs to act swiftly."
The UJ had demanded that the BGU must ensure that their research projects "will not entail any activity, including teaching and research, which has any direct or indirect military implications or contributes to the abuse of human rights".
It also demanded that "one or more Palestinian universities" must be included in the existing UJ-BGU agreement if relations were to continue.
"Although there is a well financed propaganda machinery that is trying to justify the abuse and victimisation of Palestinians their struggle for freedom and justice needs to be told and defended by those in our country who are grateful for the freedoms we have.
"We reaffirm the inspiring and wise words of our living legend and giant, former president Nelson Mandela, when he said, "our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians," Masuku said.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and about 250 other prominent South African academics supported ending UJ's links with the Israeli institution, last year.
The current partnership with Ben Gurion dates back to August 2009 when the universities signed an academic co-operation and staff exchange agreement, concerning water purification and micro-algal biotechnology research.