Bob Geldof: 'Expand the mind' for Middle East peace

Bob Geldof at the ceremony (Photo: Dani Machlis/BGU)

Bob Geldof at the ceremony (Photo: Dani Machlis/BGU)

Bob Geldof has called for the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to expand their minds in order to find a solution to the "rejectionism of now".

Addressing students and academics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he was given an honorary doctoral degree on Monday, the Irish musician and activist said: "Only through education and the expansion of the mind can we relieve the siege of the soul, the ghetto of the mind.

The former Boomtown Rat, who was in Israel for the first time, was honoured by BGU for his humanitarian work, including the Live Aid and Live 8 concerts.

An Irish citizen, he said he was familiar with the complexity of the situation in Israel, but added: "The two sides must have leaders that one day must sit down and talk, that respect one another.

"I am certain that where it begins is in the expansion of the mind that enables creativity."

Mr Geldof was at the ceremony with historian Sir Martin Gilbert, and businessman Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, both of whom were given honorary degrees.

Sir Martin said that the world of academia should rise above petty quarrels and resist calls for academic boycotts.

"Let universities be a forum for discussion, a place for harmony, not hatred," he said.

Mr Geldof also attended a conference on Israeli aid efforts in Africa on Sunday. Speaking at the Herzliya event, he called on Israeli politicians to do more to help struggling nations.

He said: "If, during the Holocaust, you had been told about it, and you did nothing, are you complicit? Yes! If you are told of a crime and you do nothing, are you complicit? Yes."

Last updated: 11:51am, June 5 2011