Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Acts on Expulsion of Ariel University Center from European Solar Decathlon Competition 2010

By Prne, Gaea News Network
Saturday, October 3, 2009

CHICO, California -

The Board of Directors Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), representing 28,000 academics from 3500 colleges and universities worldwide has conveyed a letter to the Spanish government and other officials asking them to reconsider the recent decision to expel the team of Ariel University Center from the Solar Decathlon Europe 2010.

In reaction to the pressure of several pro-Palestinian groups (Architects for Justice in Palestine- APJP, PACBI, BDS Movement - Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine) the Spanish Ministry of Housing recently decided to expel the team of the Ariel University Center from participation in the competition. The decision was made apparently on exclusively political grounds.

The SPME letter expressed dismay that the decision was not based on academic or technological reasons consistent with the competition, but on purely and admittedly political grounds. The letter was sent also to all the other universities that are participating in the competition.

SPME expresses in its letter the “fear that the actions of the Spanish government could serve as a precedent for governments to reach into academic competitions and make political determinations as to who may compete and who may not. The protection of science and scholarship from government interference is a long-held value in the West.”

SPME considers the decision to eliminate an academic institution of higher learning that includes both Jews and Arabs in its student body and training these students to work and live together regrettable and counterproductive to reasonable aspirations for peaceful co-existence.

The letter was sent not only to the president of Spain and the Minister of Housing, but also to the organizers of the Solar Decathlon and all the remaining participating institutions.

Source: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Peter J. Haas, SPME Vice President for External Relations, Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies; Chair, Department of Religious Studies; Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 44106, peter.haas at; Samuel M. Edelman, Ph.D. Executive Director, SPME +1-530-570-8137 (cell and office), spmeexecdir at; Ruth Contreras, Coordinator SPME-Europe and SPME Secretary, 0043262783828, ruth.contreras at

will not be displayed