Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies – the ECAJ has its say
Associate Professor Jake Lynch at Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict recently rejected an offer of co-operative civics research from a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem because the CPC supports BDS, including boycotting Israeli academics. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has its say…From Peter Wertheim, executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
“The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACs) has been a continual embarrassment to the University of Sydney. It is viewed with scarcely concealed disdain by many in the academic community. Little wonder that CPACs’ rebuff to Professor Dan Avnon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been criticised by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and others. To the University’s credit, I understand that arrangements have been made for Professor Avnon to work with another department which has much higher international recognition for its research and teaching. ”
Avnon’s work has included the writing and implementation of Israel’s only State program in civics for joint Jewish-Arab and religious/non-religious high-school students. Avnon has said he is interested in working with CPACs to study Australia’s civic education policy and curriculum to see if there are lessons to be learned from it that can be applied among Israeli and Palestinian school children. This would have been a golden opportunity for an Australian university centre to play a constructive and effective role in peace-building in the region. Instead, the director of CPACs, Jake Lynch, while admitting that Avnon’s work “sounds interesting and worthwhile”, has decided that Avnon is to be boycotted for no other reason than he is an academic in an Israeli University.
Last year, the University of Sydney held an Israel Research Forum in which Israeli and Australian academics in many fields, including medical research and the humanities, met in Sydney to share their research. Lynch wrote to the Vice Chancellor calling for the forum to be cancelled and boycotted. The Vice-Chancellor gave him short shrift and refused his request. Even the official Palestinian representative in Australia, Izzat Abdelhadi, stated publicly that he opposed Lynch’s call for a boycott.”
In its misguided and obsessive zeal, CPACs has become a force for promoting rather than understanding conflict.”