Israel university head questions government boycott strategy

The chairman of Israel's association of university heads says he thinks the government is mishandling its battle against the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel.

Ron Robin, president of the University of Haifa, said Tuesday that Israeli universities have felt pressure from the boycott movement, usually through what he called a "grey" boycott in which overseas colleagues refuse to collaborate on projects without offering explanations.

Robin says the government has confronted the boycott movement largely by promoting anti-boycott legislation overseas.

He says he thinks Israeli universities are better off making a "moral" case by stressing their diversity and inclusiveness. He says Arab students, for example, make up one-third of Haifa's student body.

"We need to promote the role of universities in creating an inclusive meritocracy in Israel," he said.