A senseless boycott
To have placed a full-page colour advert, costing about R90 000, in the <em>Mail & Guardian</em> (August 31 to September 6), whose readership, by and large, is sympathetic to its cause.
Perhaps this seemingly irrational behaviour may be explained by the fact that the campaign has essentially failed and is in dire need of support. After all, despite the global economic depression Israel's economy continues to grow.
The 2011-2012 World Economic Forum global competitiveness index ranks Israel's economy 22nd in the world and South Africa's at 50.
One can't help but wonder what our future academic leaders were thinking (or smoking) when the University of the Witwatersrand students' representative council decided to join the boycott campaign by adopting an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
The Shanghai academic ranking of world universities places three of Israel's universities in the top 100, whereas Wits University is ranked in the 301 to 400 range. Many of Israel's academics are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and all universities encourage open political debate.
Although the boycott campaign may view the academic boycott of Israel by Wits University as a "victory", many South Africans must surely see this as shooting ourselves in the foot. – Felicia Levy, Johannesburg