The head of the Smithsonian Institution, America’s national research museums network, said that academic boycotts of Israel go “against the most basic principle of academia, period.”

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton, who is visiting Israel this week to receive an honorary doctorate from the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, said that “many people who have not visited Israel don’t really understand the multi-dimensional nature of Israeli society.”

“The only understanding is gained from reading press coverage from unfortunate circumstances: Palestinians attacking Jews, the IDF attacking Palestinians, and so on—as if that is the whole story of Israel. As people understand more about Israeli society, they understand that there is a broad multiplicity of viewpoints,” he said.

Skorton said that boycotts will not resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“My personal belief is that you don’t get better by failing to talk to each other. That is not to say that there are not areas that I disagree with the Israeli government, or of any country’s government,” he said.