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Academic Friends of Israel: Digest vol 6 no 10

By AFI, June 7th 2007
Source: AFI E-mail

The Academic Friends of Israel


P.O. Box 360                                                       Email: mail@academics-for-israel.org

Harrow                                                             Website: www.academics-for-israel.org



7 June 2007                                                                               

Dear Colleagues

Here is a round up of the latest news, opinion pieces and statements that have been issued in the last week since the UCU voted to consider again a boycott. It is not a complete list but it is intended to convey to you an idea of the outrage it has caused around the world. Tomorrow the new UCU executive meet for the first time and are expected to decide on how they intend to discuss a boycott of Israel at branch level. It is expected that they will go forward with this matter as half the new executive are from the UCU Left which has the support of the SWP.

I have split this digest into:

1. Boycott news

2. Articles against the boycott

3. Articles supporting the boycott

Since I do not expect anyone to read everything, I would recommend that you read the following:

1. Divide and rule? By Colin Shindler

2. Responding to the Boycott by Shalom Lappin http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/06/responding_to_t.html

3. Why the Boycott Should Outrage All Academics by Charles Small          http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/06/05/small

4. What if Israelis had abducted BBC man? By Charles Moore



Finally I would like to bring your attention to the following event in London.

Nick Cohen, the Observer columnist and Author will be delivering the fifth Isaiah Berlin Annual Lecture:

What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way on Thursday 21st June - contact AFI for details


Ronnie Fraser

Academic Friends of Israel

Latest Boycott news:

1. the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Declares Its Opposition to the UK University and College Union Motion Urging Support for "an International Boycott of all Israeli Academic Institutions"


2. UCU motion 31 calls for the UCU to campaign for a moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel via EU and European Science Foundation funding until Israel abides by UN resolutions.

The IAB and SPME received this letter from the European Commission in November 2006 clearly stating they are against such a suggested moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel.

The press release from November is pasted below and you can view the European Commission statement at: http://www.biu.ac.il/academic_freedom/EU.pdf

3. Petition against boycott issued by SPME President Ed Beck, Alan Dershowitz and 25 other US academics


SPME have issued a petition calling for Non-Israeli Academics and Professionals to stand in Solidarity with Israeli Academic Colleagues by declaring themselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott.

Please consider signing this or passing it on to colleagues.


To Sign this petition go to


4. Letter from Goldhirsh Foundation, Boston, MA: Deeply Disappointed in Israel

Dear Ms Hunt

As a Director of a $150 million Foundation that supports scientists around the world in the quest for a cure for brain cancer, I am profoundly disappointed in your union's decision to boycott Israel today.

This action represents a severe setback for academic freedom and open discourse.Moreover, the decision to single out and demonize Israel above and beyond all other countries—remaining silent over Russia's brutal occupation in Chechnya, for example, or China's ongoing oppression of Tibetis, at best, troubling.

At worst, it points to a far more sinister and tragic motivation. Equally disturbing is to do so at a time when Israel's civilians are facing near-daily missile attacks from Gaza and her partner for negotiations is an organization that dispatches suicide bombers and refuses to recognize the Jewish State's right to exist.

Given this decision, I am deeply saddened to say that while my Foundation had been considering opening up our scientific grant process to British researchers we will no longer be able to do so.

I urge you to work against this boycott and restore learning's highest ideal of fairness free of prejudice to British academia.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Elizabeth Goldhirsh


The Goldhirsh Foundation


4. TO VIEW ALL UCU MOTIONS SEE: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2569


Articles against the boycott

Israel advocates [AFI] blast UCU remark


Jews divided on response to British boycott threat



Blair tells lecturers to call off Israeli boycott


Blair opposes British academic boycott of Israel


U.K. education minister coming to discuss academic ban on Israel


MELANIE PHILLIPS: Israeli boycotts show Britain's academic elite has taken leave of its senses http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/columnists/columnists.html?in_article_id=459662&in_page_id=1772&in_author_id=256

Pressure Mounts for Boycott Retaliation


Why I have nothing to say about the British academic boycott


An academic boycott? An anti-Semitic boycott


Britain is Not the Only Battleground, By Ben Cohen


Boycott? A Jew-hunt won't help the Palestinians


Cooperation is the answer: Expanding scientific collaboration with Britain best response to boycott, Eitan Gilboa


Dissecting the British academic boycott


Yale Expert Responds to British Academic Union’s Boycott of Israel

ADL runs ads slamming academic boycott of Israel


UK baroness: Proposed Israel boycott 'outrageous'


Watch Benjamin Netanyahu On British Academic Boycott


Israel to Boycott the British Academic Boycott



This academic boycott is an empty gesture

Yousef Alhelou: UK academics back proposal to boycott Israeli ...
UN Observer -

Research funders to disregard Israel boycott
Guardian Unlimited - UK

Envoy: Academic boycott not UK policy http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1180450954999&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

UK academic boycott of Israel slammed

Long trail of anti-Semitism in Europe, ministers say

Boycott of Israel goes against the academic ethos www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/debate/letters/article1873266.ece

Foes of Brit Boycott Make Last Stand
Jewish Exponent - Philadelphia, PA,USA

Israel Condemns British Academic Boycott as 'Discriminatory'
CNSNews.com - Alexandria, VA,USA

Letters: Open debate on academic boycott
Guardian Unlimited - UK

Israel denounces British academic boycott  


Livni protests UK academic boycott of Israel http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3407478,00.html

Israel threatens British boycott http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article1878463.ece

British Academics’ Union Endorses Israel Boycott , NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/world/europe/31britain.html

Largest Labor Union in Britain May Consider a Boycott of Israel http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/01/world/europe/01britain.html?em&ex=1180843200&en=c9b6b74b3957be76&ei=5087%0A

Academics express outrage at Israeli boycott


Israel Condemns British Academic Boycott as 'Discriminatory' http://www.cnsnews.com/news/viewstory.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200705/INT20070531b.html

Israel denounces British academic boycott call http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=853012007

Fury As Academics Are Sacked For Being Israeli
By Charlotte Edwardes, The Telegraph – London


Academic Fallout From Middle East


Ken Livingstone says he opposes academic boycott


Articles supporting the boycott

On the Academic Boycott of Israel
Virginia Tilley, The Electronic Intifada, 27 May 2007

Motion in support of Palestine passed at UCU conference


Monday’s FT had 3 letters regarding the UCU boycott including a rebuttal from Tom Hickey, proposer of the motion.


Steven Rose: Why pick on Israel? Because its actions are wrong  http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article2611732.ece

Israel should be regarded as a pariah state, with racist policies – letter from MEP Chris Davies http://comment.independent.co.uk/letters/article2611726.ece

Ynet: “Israeli professor: UK boycott justified” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3257291,00.html



The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks


Advisory Board: 

Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Henry Grunwald Q.C. - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Amir Lev

John D A Levy - Director of the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East

Andrew R. Marks, M.D. - Columbia University, USA

Dr Robin Stamler

Professor Leslie Wagner CBE

Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham


The Academic Friends of Israel Ltd is limited by guarantee and registered in England No 5297417.


Reproduced at Zionism On The Web for educational purposes only, please site the initial source as listed above

Related items:

Press Releases

AFI Digest of March 28th

National Postgraduate Committee (NPC)
National Union of Students (NUS)
Jewish Agency (JAFI)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Statement from The Russell Group on UCU motion on Israeli boycott
Statement from the LSE on UCU's motion in support of an Israel boycott
Columbia University response to boycotts of Israeli universites
Board of Deputies Response to UCU academic Boycotts
American Jewish Congress response to UCU boycott
American Physiological Society Response to the British academic boycott of Israel (includes feedback on this)
National Postgraduate Committee and the Academic Boycotts (14/8/07)
University and College Union (UCU) Press Release, Boycott illegal, 28th Sept 2007
Academic Friends of Israel Press Release, 29 September 2007

News Reports

Union committee to reconsider Israeli academics boycott, The Education Guardian, March 27, 2008
UK group proposes boycott of Israeli academia, Jerusalem Post, March 30, 2008

A slippery slope to totalitarianism, Education Guardian, May 24, 2007
Physicist who refused to lecture in U.K.: I'm not calling for boycott, Haaretz, May 25, 2007
Livni [Israeli FM] meets with British ambassador over U.K. boycotts, Haaretz, May 29, 2007
Memo From London: Should British Academics, or Rock Bands, Boycott Israel? New York Times, May 30, 2007
Lecturers back boycott of Israel, Education Guardian, May 30, 2007
Academics express outrage at Israeli boycott, Education Guardian, May 31, 2007
Divide and Rule, Education Guardian, June 5, 2007
Boycott should outrage academics, Inside Higher Ed, June 5 2007
Ignored by the Brits, Ynet, June 6, 2006
Boycott will destroy British academia, The Guardian, Saturday June 9, 2007
We Will Isolate Them, The Guardian, June 9, 2007 + ZOTW Commentry June 10, 2007
Government to form joint task force to counter U.K. boycotts, Haaretz, June 8, 2007
UK proposes joint academic seminar, Ynet News, June 10, 2007
US Unions condemn boycotts, The Jewish Chronicle, August 17 2007
Boycott a blessing in disguise, YNet News, Opinion, June 1 2007
FM praises British academics for nixing planned boycott of Israel, Haaretz, 30/09/2007
British academics forgo boycott call, Haaretz, 29/09/2007
Lecturers drop Israeli universities boycott call after legal advice, The Guardian, 29/09/2007

Responces, Blogs, Newsletters

UCU Reconsidering Boycott, Little Bulldogs, March 27 2008

UJS Chair's letter to UCU General Secretary
Lancaster University Students' Union Policy in repsonse
Academic Friends of Israel Digest vol 6 no 10 One week on
Academic Friends of Israel Digest vol 6 no 12
Goldhirsh Foundation Response
Responding to the Boycott by Shalom Lappin, at normblog, June 3 2007
Dark Days for the British Academy a letter by Prof Daniel Statman
A letter to UCU from Guy Handelman
SPME Petition against the boycott
Response from prominent British figures and law-makers, in Guardian Letters page, June 12, 2007

Other relevent documents and sources

The 2007 UCU motions
The 2007 document to be sent to branches
An explanation about the Durban Stratagy
Key quotes and summary of responses to the UCU policy
Why a cultural boycott of Israel would be banal, gestural and morally compromised
Relevent section of the Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism
More background on anti-Israel boycotts in general

Other sites related to the boycott

UJS's UCU Academic Boycott
BICOM on the UCU Boycotts
Academic Friends of Israel
Jewish Agency page on Addressing the Academic Boycott of Israel at UCU