You mention in News in Brief (Nature 416, 574; 2002) a letter from 125 academics published in the UK national newspaper The Guardian, urging a suspension in European funding for Israeli research programmes.

Richard Dawkins, a signatory of that letter, once notoriously advised the Prince of Wales: “Of course we must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” With this in mind, I would like to point out to the 125 distinguished signatories that Israel is not a freeloading recipient of European research funds, but rather a participating country that pays a designated contribution to the overall budget of the European Union (EU).

A suspension of our 'associated nation' status in the EU will free our government from the obligation to transfer these funds to the EU. Because academic research and academic freedom are not priorities of the Sharon government, to put it mildly, the net result will be a punitive blow to Israeli researchers (not a group noted for blind support of the government), while freeing up funds that the Sharon government will undoubtedly channel into defence needs.

Perhaps the 125 Guardian authors need to bear in mind another (slightly modified) quotation, “put brain into gear before setting pen to paper”.