Do not extend the agreement with Technion

University Board
Rector Sigbritt Karlsson

2017-02-14

KTH’s ethical policy (2016-06-01) says that “KTH values are based on democracy, human equality, human rights and liberties and a free and open discussion. Equality between women and men and rejection of all forms of discrimination is both a quality issue and an integral part of KTH’s basic values. ”

The cooperation agreement with Technion

KTH has a five-year cooperation agreement with the Technion in Israel, which expires in February 2018, which was signed by former President Peter Gudmundsson and the President of the Technion Peretz Lavie in February 2013. In a letter to the University Board Chairman Börje Ekholm June 4, 2013 the undersigned requested, active in Action Group at KTH for the Boycott of Israel (www.psabi.nu) that KTH should terminate the cooperation agreement with the Technion.

The University Board protocol June 10, 2013 states that “The University Board has considered the letter but left it without action as KTH as a public authority does not make its own political position, but follows the government’s decisions and recommendations.”

On October 30, 2014, Sweden recognized Palestine as a state to facilitate a future peace settlement. Meanwhile, the Israel-Palestine conflict is not a conventional conflict. In contravention of all international law, Israel continues the occupation of the Palestinian territories including Jerusalem. There live about 600 000 illegal settlers in the West Bank, which is strictly prohibited according to the EU. Gaza is since 2006 the victim of an inhuman Israeli blockade and military attacks that plunged over 2 million people into unemployment, poverty, food supply problems and dependency on international organizations benevolence.

The occupation limits, and is the very negation of academic freedom in Palestine. This was noted by a delegation from the European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (which included the undersigned) who visited Palestinian universities in the West Bank 22 to 26 April 2015. The delegation wrote in its final report that it saw a pattern of a coherent and multifaceted policy of Israeli interference with the normal functioning of academic life. “This interference inhibits free movement of staff and students; reduces the academic effectiveness and productivity by the usurpation of staff time through mobility restrictions and imposed bureaucratic obstacles; prevents effective collaboration and sharing of intellectual resources between Palestinian universities; obstructs international visits to Palestinian universities; substantially prevents the employment of teaching staff from abroad; interrupts the supply of equipment, materials and books; and subjects staff and students to repeated humiliations and indignity.”

Indifference to the occupation is a political statement and clearly, violate KTH Ethics Policy.

Facts about Technion
Technion is part of Israel’s military-industrial complex. Technion and other Israeli universities maintain a discriminatory policy towards Palestinian students who are citizens of Israel. These constitute nearly 20 percent of youth in the student age, but only 5 percent read at Masters level and only 3 percent at the doctoral level. Meanwhile, Technion is the Israeli university which has the highest percentage of students and teachers coming from the military sphere. Those students serving in the military or serving as reservists receive benefits promoting their academic career. Technion also provides specialized training in mechanics for officers in the Israeli army.

The freedom to express themselves and demonstrate to Palestinian students in Israel is limited: those who demonstrate peacefully on campus and show their displeasure of the Israeli policy are arrested sometimes. They can not form student forganizations or arrange meetings on campus who criticizes Israeli policy towards Palestine. On the other hand associations favorable to Zionism and demonstrations in favor of the Israeli army are authorirized on campus.

Technion maintains solid research collaborations with businesses in Israel’s military-industrial sector. For decades, the Technion participated in the development of war equipment and systems of armaments are tested and used against Palestinians in the Occupied territories. In recent years, Technions students and researchers have participated in the development of armored, remote-controlled bulldozers (IDF Caterpillar D9), which has been used to destroy Palestinian homes (more than 25 000 houses destroyed since 1967). They have also participated in the development of large-scale and small-scale drones for military use in the Palestinian Occupied territories.

Technion-Israel is also a world leader in the development of large-scale and small-scale civil and military security and surveillance systems, which can be tested in the Palestinian Occupied population. Technion has established close cooperation with the computer and telecommunication companies: Verint, NICE Systems, Amdocs, Check Point and Comverse, which supply the Israeli army with surveillance and monitoring programs aimed at the Palestinian population, but also programs used to assist aircrafts and drones in military operations.

Technion also worked closely with Israel’s two largest arms manufacturers, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Elbit Systems. In 2001, Technion announced the creation of an MBA program, specially designed for leaders at Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, which reinforced existing links between the company and the Technion. Starting in 2006, jointly conducted research started on developing missiles. The company does not only make missiles but also produces electronics for Israel’s armed units. The military equipment and armament produced at Rafael Advanced Defence Systems are employed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Similarly, in 2008, Elbit Systems created within the Technion a joint research center for electron optics. Elbit Systems recruits an important part of their managers and engineers from the Technion. The company president has emphasized that cooperation between Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, and the Technion has played an important role in ensuring the success of Elbits system on the global arms sales market.

Elbit Systems produces not just drones, but also a whole series of weapons and ammunition (artillery, armored units and aircraft) used by the Israeli army during operations in Gaza and the West Bank, during which countless unpunished war crimes have been committed. Moreover, Elbit Systems provides and maintains surveillance and spy equipment for the Israeli armys along the Annexation- and the separation wall and for the monitoring of the illegal colonies. In 2004, the International Criminal Court declared the Wall and the settlements as illegal under international law. As in the apartheid system, they give rise to discriminatory measures against Palestinians. A number of European pension funds and banks have left its holdings in Elbit Systems because the company is violating international law.

An insider account of the Israeli state policy of war against the Palestinian people is the book, Jeff Halter, War Against the People – Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification, Pluto Press, 2015. Halper is the chairman of the Israeli Committee against House Demolition and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Technion has become increasingly questioned by academics who are offended by its collaborations with Israeli military companies, which directly violate international law. Despite this, Israel is allowed to participate as an “extra” Member of Horizon 2020. Technion is involved in over 30 projects and received over 17 million euros from EU taxpayers. Elbit Systems has so far received EUR 0.4 million as a partner in the project FLYSEC, which deals with video surveillance, biometrics and intelligence gathering. Through these participations, the EU legitimates Israel’s violations of international law, which calls into question the EU’s own will to fulfill its obligations under international law. Financing of the Israeli military and security company Elbit is not only counter to the growing demands of a military embargo of Israel, but also, violates the European Commission’s own commitment to projects of the dual nature (see Article www.psabi.nu). According to the EU Commission, “in accordance with the rules that have been developed by the European Council, the EU Parliament and the EU Commission, only projects under Horizon 2020 for research for purely civilian applications can be approved.” Elbit Systems and Technion’s research and technology is inevitable used to commit violations of international law by the Israeli army.

No extension of cooperation agreement with the Technion
Israel’s University of Technology, Technion, is a documented part of Israel’s military-industrial complex. Technion and its military partners are actively involved in the occupation of the Palestinian territories. The occupation does not allow academic freedom as we know it. Despite the occupation, the EU permits Israeli universities and military enterprises to participate in Horizon 2020 as partners equal the other Member States.

The Swedish government has recognized Palestine as a state. It must mean something. KTH’s basic values do not allow the occupation that Israel subjects the Palestinian areas.

I request that the University Board / Rector does not extend the existing cooperation agreement between KTH and the Technion when it expires in February 2018.

Jan-Erik Gustafsson
Associate Professor

Action Group at KTH for the Boycott of Israel
www.psabi.nu

Appendix: Letter to the University Board Chairman Börje Ekholm June 6, 2013, and US protocols June 10, 2013, with appendixes.

Copies: Ministry of Foreign Relations; Political parties in the Swedish Government.