Israel’s Council for Higher Education (CHE) on Sunday issued a recommendation to universities and colleges to adopt a code of ethics that prohibits mixing in political views in the activities of institutions of higher education – including a prohibition on faculty promoting an academic boycott of Israel and its academic institutions.
According to the CHE recommendations, students and faculty may not be discriminated against for their political opinions; and faculty may not mix political propaganda with their teaching materials, nor may students or faculty present a political opinion as if it were the position of the institution.
The code also prohibits discrimination against faculty in hiring and in promotions based on their politics.
The CHE said that academic institutions must act to enforce these prohibitions through the disciplinary regulations of their academic staff, and to report to the Council on their manner of incorporating the new ethical code. However, the CHE encourages institutions of higher education to adopt the code “on their own behalf and at the discretion of the institution.”
The recommendation to adopt the new Code of Ethics is based on two foundations: a decision of the CHE in 2010 “to prevent students or faculty from being rejected, silenced, excluded or discriminated against because of their characteristics or personal views, including their political views”; and a 2017 position paper on the subject by Prof. Asa Kasher.
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, who heads the Council for Higher Education, enlisted Prof. Kasher to respond to “complaints of improper politicization in academia.”