MIAMI, January 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), in keeping with its position of opposing academic boycotts in general, and opposing those against Israeli academics and academic institutions in particular, issued the following statement in response to the recent announcement of 160 Israeli scholars to boycott Ariel University Center.

The statement reads:

Since 2005, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and scores of thousands of faculty members, including over 40 Nobel Laureates, have stood firmly against all academic boycotts, including boycotts of Israeli academics and Israeli academic institutions. Such boycotts are antithetical to principles of academic freedom, scholarly exchange and access to knowledge and research. The recently proposed boycott of Ariel University is not an exception. We hereby reaffirm our stand against academic boycotts.

Approved by the SPME Board of Directors, January 13, 2011

Governed and directed by academics, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is a grass-roots community of nearly 60,000 university and college professors, researchers, administrators, teachers, librarians, and students on more than 4000 campuses worldwide. SPME has approximately 40 chapters in North America, Europe, and Australia, and is forming chapters in Latin America.

SPME is an independent, not-for-profit organization chartered in the State of Pennsylvania under provision 501(C) 3 of the US tax code.

Edward S. Beck President-Emeritus, SPME Co-Editor, SPME Faculty Forum Chair, SPME Task Force on Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions