OBE is a slap in the face for Israel boycott

Ben-Gurion University (Photo: David Saranga)

Ben-Gurion University (Photo: David Saranga)

A British-born professor at Ben-Gurion University was made an OBE this week in what he said was an important signal about the importance of academic ties between Israel and the UK.

Professor David Newman, who is dean of humanities and social sciences, described his honour as “a slap in the face for those who are pushing for an academic boycott of Israel”. He added: “There’s been a tremendous amount done in the last four years to promote scientific co-operation between the two countries.”

In January, a CBE was awarded to Professor Raymond Dwek, co-chair of the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council.

Professor Newman believed that his honour, coming so quickly after Professor Dwek’s, amounted to “a clear statement” of the value Britain placed on its relationship with Israel. “British and American universities are looking for the top people in their field to collaborate with and a lot of those people are coming out of Israel,” he said.

Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub said Professor Newman was a worthy recipient who “has been enormously active and effective in deepening academic connections.”

Last updated: 2:24pm, June 20 2013