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Alert: UK/Israel – Science Museum going through with “Israel Day of Science” amid wide protest

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The Science Museum in London will held today, 05 March 2009, the “Israel Day of Science” amid wide protest in the wake of the Gaza massacre.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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05 March 2009

Alert: UK/Israel – Science Museum going through with “Israel Day of Science” amid wide protest

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required


1. Summary

The Science Museum in London will hold today, 05 March 2009, the “Israel Day of Science” amid wide protest in the wake of the recent and horrific attacks on Gaza. Over 400 academics have condemned the two-part event series, which has been promoted and coordinated by the Zionist Federation and is aimed at promoting the “excellence of Israeli Science” and the scientific achievements of seven Israeli universities. The academics accused Israeli universities of being “complicit in the Israeli occupation and in the policies and weaponry so recently deployed to such disastrous effect in Gaza.” Campaigners are asked to contact Science Museum Director Prof Chris Rapley to express disappointment and outrage over the appalling insensitively-timed event.


2. Background

The Science Museum in London is going through with holding today, 05 March 2009, the “Israel Day of Science”, second of a two-part event also held in Manchester earlier this week, amid wide protest. Coordinated by the Zionist Federation, it is described as “educational seminars” aimed at promoting the “excellence of Israeli Science” and the scientific achievements of seven Israeli universities.

Over 400 academics have called on the Science Museum to cancel the event which falls in “the immediate aftermath of the indiscriminate slaughter and attempted annihilation of all the infrastructure of organised society in Gaza”. In the letter which was published in The Guardian this February 2009 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/feb/16/museums-israel-science), prominent academics accused Israeli universities of being “complicit in the Israeli occupation and in the policies and weaponry so recently deployed to such disastrous effect in Gaza.” Zionist Federation chair Andrew Balcombe said:

“It's merely to inform people of the contribution that Israel has made to science and technology ... I'm not aware of any connection between defence and university research, and none that is stronger than in any other countries."

However, the protesting academics rebutted citing that Tel Aviv University's most recent annual review was states:

"the Israel ministry of defence is currently funding 55 projects at TAU", which "is playing a major role in enhancing Israe's security capabilities and military edge".

The museum maintains that they are not sponsoring or co-hosting the events, and are merely renting corporate space to the Zionist Federation. They also defended that it would be “wholly inappropriate” for them to take a political stand by not proceeding with the event. Jonathan Rosenhead, a professor from the London School of Economics and one of those protesting the events, retorted saying, "if Robert Mugabe wanted to hire out these museums' spaces for a corporate event, we know what they would say."

In the wake of such horrific atrocities inflicted on the people of Gaza, campaigners are asked to contact Science Museum Director Prof Chris Rapley to express disappointment and outrage over the Science Museum going through with holding such an appalling and insensitively-timed event.


3. Action required

Contact Science Museum Director Prof Chris Rapley to express disappointment and outrage over the Science Museum going through with holding such an appalling and insensitively-timed event.

As always, be sure to be polite and respectful while voicing your concerns.

Director Chris Rapley
The Science Museum
Exhibition Road
South Kensington
London, SW7 2DD

Telephone: 0870 870 4868
Fax: 020 7942 4351
Email: chris.rapley@nmsi.ac.uk


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