KU Leuven to show 'caution' and 'restraint' for new collaborations with Israeli universities

While KU Leuven decides not to cut ties with its Israeli partners, it adopts a more cautious approach for future collaborations.


In response to the Gaza war, the KU Leuven ethics committee has reviewed the institution's existing partnerships with Israeli universities. Based on the assessment, the University has decided not to terminate its existing collaborations, as stated by rector Luc Sels in an internal email to the KU Leuven community.

The University will however adopt a more cautious approach when forging future partnerships: 'The committee's review shows strong indications of severe human rights violations by the Israeli military and the current Israeli government', says Sels. 'Most Israeli universities have ties with the army and/or are funded by the Israeli government.' This caution will persist 'as long as the Israeli government holds its hard line'.

At the same time, Sels points out that universities do not necessarily align with the government that funds them. 'They can, more so than anyone else, actively contribute to change in Israel. In that sense, it is important to continue engaging in a dialogue.' Furthermore, he calls for an immediate end to acts of violence in the short term and urges long-term investments in the reconstruction of Gaza, including infrastructure for research and higher education.

Ongoing protest

Flemish higher education has been preoccupied with the crisis in Gaza for some time now. As of late however, the call for an academic boycott of Israel has been growing louder. Veto previously reported on KU Leuven's ties with Israeli universities as well. 

In February, some two hundred students took to the streets with the message 'Break up with Israel'. Under the same banner, Student Hanna de Boe staged a hunger strike outside the university hall between Monday to Wednesday last. A group of supporters is now carrying on the protest.

Powered by Labrador CMS