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Ex-Cambridge Researcher Refuses to Help Young Israeli Student, Citing Support of Boycott

A former Cambridge University academic, Marsha Levine, doubled down on her refusal to help a 13-year-old Israeli girl with her research into horses, explaining that she supports a boycott of the Jewish state and thinks that “Jews have become the Nazis,” The Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported Tuesday.

The story initially emerged after Shamir Rabinovitch posted an email exchange between his daughter, Shachar, and Levine on social media. The girl had sent Levine, an expert on equines, several questions about ancient horse breeds for a school assignment. Levine wrote back, “I’ll answer your questions when there is peace and justice for Palestinians in Palestine,” and explained that she was a member of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

When the JC asked Levine about her blunt response to the girl, the former academic responded, “I want this girl not to worry about horses. I don’t need people emailing me. I’m not an academic anymore. My research was all in the past. I’m doing other things now. I don’t see any obligation to further her ego or make her feel better about herself. I don’t think it’s about her – I think it’s about her parents. … Benjamin Netanyahu wants ethnic cleansing. The Jews have become the Nazis. Jews are behaving just like the people who treated them. It’s not all Israelis or all Jews.”

Shachar’s father told the JC that “Political arguments are something that should be conducted by adults. Boycotting a 13-year-old girl just to prove something is no better than not treating some kid in an Israeli hospital just because his father is a terrorist. Kids for me are out of the equation.”

BDS supporters have often been criticized for employing controversial tactics in pursuit of their efforts. Last week, the producer of a Tel Aviv music festival revealed that BDS activists threatened a number of the artists participating in the event, adding that four musicians said they received disturbing messages that left them “truly fearing for their lives.”

In August, supporters of the movement pressured a Spanish music festival to bar Jewish-American reggae singer Matisyahu from giving a scheduled performance, and succeeded in having him singled out and disinvited after he refused to issue a public statement supporting a Palestinian state. No other musician was asked to make a similar political declaration. The public outcry that followed the discrimination prompted the festival organizers to restore Matisyahu’s invitation.

Various BDS leaders have gone on record explicitly affirming that they seek the destruction of Israel. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, who opposes a two state solution, said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” while leading BDS activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”