Politicized Science – Not Just About Science for Policy

From Nature News is a report of political protests over an Israeli Day of Science hosted at science museums in the U.K.  A lead protest group makes the argument that a protest of a demonstration of Israeli university research is necessary because “These universities are without exception complicit in the mechanisms and policies of the Israeli occupation, and in developing the military technology used in the massacre in Gaza.”

Academics and other scientists are certainly welcome to participate in politics, and such participation is an important aspect of academic freedom.  While I understand the perspective that government supported research might be considered complicit in other policies of that government, I have a harder time seeing how an exclusionary protest like this might be effective.  While we may be more accustomed to the interactions of politics and science, that hasn’t trickled down so much to science museum audiences.  The cognitive dissonance is probably too strong to make a worthwhile impression.  Science has typically been used more effectively in diplomatic efforts, rather than confrontational ones.