Noam Chomsky and a number of other noted scientists have issued an open letter to Boston's Museum of Science, condemning it for hosting "Israeli Innovation Weekend" a few days ago. The letter is carried on the excellent blog Mondoweiss (a project of the Nation Institute) and many others. A few quotes:
IIW is far from an innocent educational endeavor. It is part of a propaganda campaign by the State of Israel to present itself as a beacon of progress in a desert of backwardness and deflect attention from its atrocious human rights record and fundamentally discriminatory policies.
Another key paragraph from the letter:
Propaganda efforts such as IIW are key to sustaining the virtually unconditional U.S. support for Israel that only exacerbates the conflict. The U.S. singles out Israel for special treatment, lavishing billions of dollars of aid upon it every year and protecting it from any concerted action in the UN Security Council. This assistance supports a state that systematically privileges Jews from anywhere in the world over the country’s non-Jewish inhabitants and which continues to perpetrate war crimes and other human rights abuses to uphold this fundamental inequality.
The letter is cosigned by a number of well-known researchers, including Nancy Kanwisher from MIT, Robert Trivers from Rutgers, and, importantly, a number of Israeli scientists as well.
I am heartened that we are now entering a phase in the struggle against Israeli apartheid (yes, that's what it is) that approaches the campaign against South African apartheid of the 1980s. Another example, of course, is the support in the University of California, Berkeley student government for university divestment from firms that do business with Israel, which failed to overturn a veto by one vote but nevertheless is an excellent sign of things to come. The old canard that any criticism of Israel is based on anti-semitism is fast losing credibility, especially when Israelis themselves are in the forefront of the struggle against their nation's inhuman policies against the Palestinians. We need to build a movement that exacts the kinds of sanctions from Israel appropriate for any country that routinely violates human rights.