The Spanish government has disqualified Israel’s Ariel University from its international Solar Decathlon (a U.S.-funded competition between 20 universities) because Ariel University is “located in occupied territories.” The Israeli delegation, which worked for two years on a house that uses only solar energy, learned it was disqualified only after reaching the finals.
Ariel is located in one of the permanent settlement blocs – an area that will remain part of Israel under any agreement with the Palestinians. President George W. Bush officially recognized this in 2004.
As Robert Ivker notes, European academic boycotts of Israel have been attempted and aborted for years. This contest, however, is American-funded. Accordingly, this incident reinforces the perception that the Obama Administration has turned its back on Israel. Moreover, it undermines the Obama Administration’s goal of promoting solar power and energy independence, to which his government has allocated $467 million.