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April 14, 2017

A group of prominent academics is pushing back against calls for colleges and universities to boycott Israeli institutions, saying such boycotts undermine basic science.

More than a hundred administrators, researchers, and professors have signed an open letter criticizing boycotts targeting Israeli universities and researchers.

Among those signing are former MIT president Susan Hockfield and Dana Farber Cancer Institute President Edward Benz.

"This touches a raw nerve,” said Rob Leikind, director of the American Jewish Committee's New England office, which wrote the letter. “The boycotts are fundamentally contrary to the whole idea of a university where ideas are talked about and people collaborate."

So far, about ten student and faculty groups across the country have called for the boycotts intended to punish Israel and support Palestinian rights, including the student government at Tufts, which this week called on the school to divest its endowment from Israeli companies.

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