The University and College Union, one of Britain's largest unions representing 120,000 college and university teachers voted yesterday to endorse a Palestinian trades’ union call for a boycott of all Israeli academic institutions. Approved at the inaugural congress of the UCU , the resolution called on British college lecturers to “consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions.” The resolution goes on to condemn “the complicity of Israeli academia” in the occupation of Palestinian lands and states that “passivity or neutrality is unacceptable, and criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-Semitic.” On what side are you neutral, eh?
It is having an immediate effect ...
On the same day the resolution was approved, however, the presidents of four Israeli universities — Ben-Gurion University, Hebrew University, Haifa University and the Technion — joined with authors including Amos Oz and David Grossman in urging the Israeli defense establishment to end a ban that prevents Palestinian students from traveling from Gaza to the West Bank to study. Their announcement made reference to the consideration of a boycott by the British union.
... albeit smug and complacent tokenism that's simply too little too late.
British Lecturers back boycott of Israel, James Meikle, Education correspondent, The Guardian, Wednesday May 30, 2007:
University lecturers today threatened to provoke international condemnation over academic freedom by forcing their union into a year-long debate over boycotting work with Israeli universities.
Delegates at the first conference of the new University and College Union in Bournemouth voted by more than three to two to recommend boycotts in protest at Israel's "40-year occupation" of Palestinian land and to condemn the "complicity" of Israeli academics.
The conference motion said there should be "a comprehensive and consistent boycott" of all Israeli academic institutions, as called for by Palestinian trade unions.
So the international campaign to boycott relations with the Zionist, Apartheid state of Israel continues, a campaign - it should be said - that was initiated by the victims of oppression themselves: The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), established in 2004. which is supported by 60 Palestinian trade unions, NGOs, and political and religious organisations, as well as by numerous informed Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.
And the UCU motion is likely to be shortly joined by a similar one from Britain's largest trade union (Largest Labor Union in Britain Joins Call for a Boycott of Israel , By ALAN COWELL), where a resolution calling for a boycott of Israel is now on the agenda for the union’s annual national conference next month.
Of course, the usual suspects and Zionist apologists were quick to respond with their hysterical outpourings. Anyone who points to the fact that Israel is a terrorist, apartheid state which occupies Palestinian land against the will of the indigenous people, ignores UN resolutions, flouts international law, persecutes minorities, stockpiles huge arsenals of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, systematically tortures political prisoners, disregards the Geneva conventions, invades neighboring countries killing thousands of innocent men, women and children, along with reporting its more recent attacks on Gaza and the open kidnapping of Palestinian ministers, and the US-Israeli financed and armed 'civil war', is immediately accused of being anti-Semitic (this is so tiresome that by now it is as dispicable and as comparable as Nazis accusing those who were critical of German fascism of being "anti-Aryan racists"). The Guardian piece goes on to report: "The decision was greeted with outrage among Jewish groups and activists. Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: 'The UCU boycott motion is an assault on academic freedom'." Its a defence of academic freedom, a freedom ruthlessly denied to countless Palestinians by Israel's academic institutions.
Despite all of these twisted ravings by pro-Zionist groups, the boycott campaign is gaining momentum and should eventually lead to greater pressures for the introduction of sanctions against Israel.
British Academics’ Union Endorses Israel Boycott :
The pro-boycott ballot, on a count of 158 to 99, according to a rough tabulation by boycott opponents present at the voting, was the first since the merger of two leading associations of higher education teachers last year.
Under union procedures, the resolution approved Wednesday will be circulated among ordinary members. The rules also lay down a series of criteria to be met before any action is taken to enforce a boycott. Delegates at the gathering in Bournemouth, a southern seaside town, seemed to have ignored an appeal by union leaders to take a softer line.
Memo From London: Should British Academics, or Rock Bands, Boycott Israel? :
To press their case, supporters of a boycott frequently liken Israel to South Africa in the apartheid era, a comparison rejected by most Israelis but made vocally by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The organization recently urged the Rolling Stones not to play in Israel.
Those sentiments found an echo in April when the National Union of Journalists, with 40,000 members, voted to boycott Israeli goods to protest what it called Israel’s military adventures. It called the action “similar to those boycotts in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.”