The International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) interim ruling in January said it was ‘plausible’ that Israel’s actions in Gaza could lead to genocide. For this reason, the University Council asked the board to review the existing exchange agreement with the Israeli Bar Ilan University. According to the council, this university cooperated with the Israeli army and intelligence, in a congress and by training intelligence personnel. Should genocide be established, the council calls for the ties to be cut anyway.

Legal basis

About the cooperation with Bar Ilan, the Executive Board writes: ” We must be cautious when it comes to limiting institutional collaborations without a clear legal basis. Staying connected with Israeli partner institutions, even in times of war and conflict, can facilitate science diplomacy, while severing or suspending ties also means severing relationships, including those with critical voices within Israeli universities.” According to the board, the ICJ ruling only affects states, but not universities.

At the same time, the board recognises that there are also moral considerations. Therefore, collaborations are also regularly evaluated. With the new committee, the EB wants to intensify those evaluations. Ruard Ganzevoort, rector of the International Institute for Social Studies in The Hague, has been asked to set up the new ‘expert committee’. The main intention of the new committee is to review agreements with external parties such as foreign universities earlier. Now, this is done only at the time when an agreement is about to expire, to determine whether it should be extended, paused or terminated.

Erasmian values

The committee uses the Global Engagement Policy and the Global Engagement Checklist as guidelines in its assessment, which are two policy documents adopted last year that outline the areas in which collaborations should be evaluated. In doing so, EUR looks less at international rankings than before and more at knowledge security and societal impact, among other things. The five Erasmian values (socially engaged, world citizenship, connecting, entrepreneurial and open-minded) play an important role in this.

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University council wants CvB to ‘scrutinise’ ties with Israel

The University Council has asked the Executive Board to 'scrutinise' its ties with…

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