Photo Credit: University of Haifa
University of Haifa

A Norwegian university has decided to boycott its Israeli counterparts in the shadow of the October 7 war against Israel launched by Gaza’s Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization.

The board of Oslo Metropolitan University announced last Wednesday a decision to suspend its student exchange program with the University of Haifa, and “not to enter into new general cooperation agreements with Israeli universities and colleges,” the university announced.


The members of the university board voted 9-2 to approve the boycott advanced by board member Einar Braathen during its meeting on February 13, the university said.

The decision “clearly expresses the university’s stance on Israel’s military actions in Gaza and OsloMet’s practice in this situation, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of safeguarding academic freedom and the role of knowledge in society,” read a statement on the decision posted on the university’s website.

The board added that the decision does not cover research collaboration between researchers and professional environments at OsloMet and Israeli universities.

‘Israel Attacked Gaza’
“The university board condemns Israel’s attack on Gaza,” the board wrote in its decision, completely ignoring the October 7 massacre of 1,200 people in Israel and the promise by Hamas to repeat the massacre “over and over again” that ignited the war.

Hamas Official: Prepared to Repeat October 7 Operation ‘Until Israel is Annihilated’

“The board stands behind the university management’s measures and practices to:
* expand the Scholars at risk scheme
* work for the termination of procurement agreements with suppliers who have direct links with the Israeli military or who operate in the occupied Palestinian territories
* establish measures that promote dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli academics on peace and cooperation
* safeguard the university’s independent role in society, academic freedom, and protect the important role of knowledge in relation to countries and regions in war, conflict and crisis.

“In addition, the board decides that OsloMet suspends the exchange agreement with the University of Haifa and does not enter into any new general cooperation agreements on institutional cooperation with Israeli universities and colleges.”

U Haifa: ‘Only Harming Themselves’
University of Haifa President Professor Ron Rubin condemned the decision.

“Oslo Metropolitan University’s decision to end the student exchange program with the University of Haifa is no different from the decision to impose an academic boycott, and we strongly condemn it,” Prof. Rubin said in a swift response to the announcement.

“Academic institutions that choose to boycott and cancel other institutions, that involve politics and science, are sinning against the academic truth and will end up only harming themselves.

“I am convinced that this will happen in this case as well and I call on the members of the board to withdraw – in their own interest – from their delusional decision.

“Perhaps the reason for the great concern of the university directors over sending young students here is that when they get here they will discover a common life, Jews and Arabs living together, studying together, researching together — so far from the lies of “apartheid” that can only be told by those who know nothing about Haifa University and the State of Israel.”\

“Perhaps they fear that the students’ studies here with us will open up a more complex position to reality, and maybe even sympathy or empathy for the Israeli narrative as well.”

Rubin said the University of Haifa “will continue to create the Israeli narrative and continue to reach out to academic institutions around the world — at least, to those who place the values of truth and science at the forefront of their minds.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.