Dr. Kamel Hawwash, British Professor in the School of Civil Engineering of the University of Birmingham travelled to Israel with his family to visit relatives in East Jerusalem. At the Tel Aviv airport Professor Hawwash was stopped, interrogated and put on a plane to Brussels. Israeli authorities noted the reason for restricting his entrance to the country was his support of the BDS movement against Israel. CCS has written the Prime Minister of Israel noting that this treatment of an academic is unacceptable based solely on his position on BDS and urging that Israeli authorities reverse this ban and apologize to the professor.
April 17, 2017
Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister’s Office
3 Kaplan St. Hakirya
Jerusalem 91950, Israel
Dear Prime Minister:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists (CCS) is an international organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars dedicated to protecting the human rights and scientific freedom of academics around the world.
We are writing to protest the unacceptable treatment of Professor Kamel Hawwash of Britain that took place at Tel Aviv airport on April 7, 2017.
Dr. Kamel Hawwash is a Professor in the School of Civil Engineering of University of Birmingham. He served as the head of the School from 2008 to 2011. He is an Associate of the UK Engineering Council and the Convener of the MSc Construction Management Programme, as well as Past President of the European Society for Engineering Education and Past Chair of the Association of Civil Engineering Departments of the United Kingdom.
On April 7, 2017, Professor Hawwash travelled to Israel with his wife and a five-year-old son to spend the holidays with relatives in East Jerusalem. Upon arrival at Tel Aviv airport, Professor Hawwash was separated from his family, interrogated, strip-searched, and put on a plane to Brussels, where he was handed over to the Belgian Police. The official reason given by airport security was Professor Hawwash’s support of the BDS movement against Israel.
While CCS strongly opposes the BDS movement as being contrary to the international nature of scholarly enterprise and academic freedom, we are troubled by Israel’s unacceptable treatment of an academic based solely upon his position on BDS. Moreover, we urge you to reverse the travel ban on academics who support the BDS movement. Further, we encourage you to apologize to Professor Kamel Hawwash for the unacceptable treatment he experienced on his arrival to Israel. Such treatment undercuts Israel’s desire to have its scientists treated properly in other countries and greatly tarnishes Israel’s image.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists