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‘No Political Limits on Research’

Ariel University decries ‘racist and BDS-like’ US State Department.

By Etgar Lefkovits/JNS.org

Ariel University

A U.S. State Department decision to cease scientific and technological cooperation with Israeli entities over the 1949 armistice line, commonly known as the Green Line, is racist and smacks of a BDS-like double standard, Ariel University said on Monday, June 26.

The harsh reaction comes after the U.S. administration announced that it was reverting to a longstanding policy of restricting funding to Israeli institutions located over the Green Line, rescinding a decision by the Trump administration three years ago which removed geographical limitations as criteria for applying for U.S. government funding.

“There should be no political limitations on research that benefits society and the health, safety and wellbeing of the world’s population,” Bobby Brown, senior vice president of Ariel University, told JNS. “The State Department has revised this disgusting and anti-Jewish practice, which in effect reinstates BDS and racism,” he said.

While the U.S. administration was trying to impose peace top-down according to their political worldview, the university’s universal medical research promotes peace from society upwards, he added.

“It is time to rid the world of the racist and BDS mentality in the State Department,” Brown said. “Research, cooperation and joint projects that benefit mankind should be accepted with two hands.”

The United States maintains strong scientific and technological cooperation with Israel, but the recent decision restricts it again to the pre-1967 lines in keeping with U.S. foreign policy, which advocates a two-state solution.

“The Department of State recently circulated foreign policy guidance to relevant agencies advising that engaging in bilateral scientific and technological cooperation with Israel in geographic areas which came under the administration of Israel after June 5, 1967, and which remain subject to final status negotiations, is inconsistent with U.S. foreign policy,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“This guidance is simply reflective of the longstanding U.S. position, reaffirmed by this Administration, that the ultimate disposition of the geographic areas which came under the administration of Israel after June 5, 1967, is a final status matter and that we are working towards a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the spokesperson continued.

The U.S. decision puts it in line with the European Union, which has the same geographic restrictions in place.

Ariel University, which is the institution most adversely affected by the policy change, has about 17,000 students, about 10 percent of whom are Arabs.

After Trump’s move, it won three major U.S. research grants that year, Brown said, and had recently applied to the State Department’s USAID for a fund that would pay the costs for Palestinians to receive medical services given at the university’s new Medical Center.

It was the university’s recent application that brought the Biden administration’s policy change into focus, he said. He noted that under the policy, Arab universities in the area would be able to continue to apply for U.S. funding.

The current U.S. policy is “wrong,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said this week.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also condemned the U.S. decision and vowed to work to change it again in a future administration.

“The Biden administration defends funding scientific research in Wuhan with the Chinese Communist Party, but they’re discriminating against and banning cooperation with Jews based on where they live,” he said in a statement. “I will do everything possible to reverse this decision and prohibit such anti-Semitic discrimination by the U.S. government in the future.”

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