UK says scholarships for Israelis prove its anti-boycott stance

Ambassador Tom Phillips with departing Israeli scholars Amit Segal (centre) and Eran Schafferman

Ambassador Tom Phillips with departing Israeli scholars Amit Segal (centre) and Eran Schafferman

Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Tom Phillips, said this week that the new group of Chevening scholars — Israeli postgraduates going to study in the UK — were “living evidence” of the UK government’s robust response to the academic boycott of Israel.

This year there are 12 talented young Israelis — seven men and five women — who have been awarded British scholarships enabling them to study in universities all over the UK this coming academic year.

Five of them have been selected by the British Embassy and British Council to receive the prestigious Chevening scholarships — a programme which provides bursaries for postgraduate studies and research in the UK. An additional seven Israelis will travel to the UK on joint awards with private sponsors.

Political advisers, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, and an environmental activist are among those who make up this year’s list.

They will study topics ranging from social policy and environmental studies to Middle Eastern and war studies.

Speaking at a reception at his Ramat Gan residence, Ambassador Phillips told the scholars: “You play a very important part in the UK-Israel bilateral relationship. Relationships between countries are not just about meetings between diplomats, officials and ministers.

“Increasingly, it is the people-to people contacts, in particular among academics and academic institutions, which play the pivotal role.”

The ambassador added: “You are living evidence of my government’s commitment to find ways to encourage and promote cultural and academic exchanges between our countries, and indeed of our opposition to any attempt to impose an academic boycott of Israel.”

    Last updated: 4:23pm, July 23 2009