Fact on Zionism, Israel, Palestine, Zionist thinkers, middle east peace and more

Anti-Israel Academic Boycott Resource Centre
UCU boycott, NATFHE boycott, AUT boycott and other academic boycotts targetting Israeli universities

Navigation: Anti-Israel Academic Boycott Resource Centre --> The UCU Boycotts --> Here

Academic Friends of Israel: Digest vol 6 no 12

By AFI, June 12th 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

HA3 9WY

 

 

12 June 2007

 

Dear Colleagues

 

The Academic Friends of Israel along with many other organisations is working to stop the UCU pro- boycott of Israel campaign.  

 

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is asking academics to declare themselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott and to decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded. The Academic Friends of Israel is proud to be associated with this initiative and urges all academics especially those in the UK to click on the link below to sign the petition.

 

Thousands of university academics worldwide have joined Nobel Laureates Alexi Alexeyevich Abrikosov, Claude Cohen- Tannoudji, David Gross, Avram Hershko, Roald Hoffman, Daniel Kahneman, Eric Kandel, Arthur Kornberg, Roger Kornberg, Leon Lederman, Marshall Nirenberg, David Politzer, Steven Weinberg, Elie Wiesel and Frank Wilczek as well as Alan Dershowitz in endorsing the following solidarity statement with Israeli academics.

 

We are academics, scholars, researchers and professionals of differing religious and political perspectives. We all agree that singling out Israelis for an academic boycott is wrong. To show our solidarity with our Israeli academics in this matter, we, the undersigned, hereby declare ourselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott. We will regard ourselves as Israeli academics and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded.

 

To sign the petition, please do so immediately by clicking here.

 

 

If you are not eligible to sign, but know others, who might be, please send this message to others in the academic community

I have split the remainder of this digest into:

1. Latest Boycott news

2. Articles against the boycott

3. Articles supporting the boycott

Regards

Ronnie Fraser

Academic Friends of Israel

1.  Latest Boycott news

'The Russell Group universities will uphold academic freedom by standing firm against any boycott that threatens it.' http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/2007/boycott.html

LSE Director Howard Davies said on 31 May: 'I fully support the view of the Russell Group that a boycott of Israeli academia would be contrary to the values of freedom of speech and freedom of academic inquiry that are essential to universities' missions. http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/pressAndInformationOffice/newsAndEvents/archives/2007/IsraeliBoycott.htm

Israeli Government Anti Boycott Task force

http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jhtml?itemNo=868696&contrassID=2&subContrassID=21&sbSubContrassID=0

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=868700&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1 (Article in English)

UK minister Bill Rammell visit to Israel

http://www.hayadan.org.il/wp/minister-for-higher-education-bill-rammell-will-be-visiting-0906071/

http://news.msn.co.il/news/StatePoliticalMilitary/State/200706/2007061000000.htm

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3410748,00.html

http://www.epochtimes.co.il/news/content/view/5947/85/

Stop the Academic Boycott of Israel Petition to UCU – 22,172 Total Signatures
http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?stopucu

http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2100649,00.html

ADL Ad campaign against the boycott: http://www.adl.org/boycott/boycott_ads.asp

Statement by President Lee C. Bollinger of Columbia University  on British University and College Union Boycott

As a citizen, I am profoundly disturbed by the recent vote by Britain's new University and College Union to advance a boycott against Israeli academic institutions. As a university professor and president, I find this idea utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy, where we will not hold intellectual exchange hostage to the political disagreements of the moment. In seeking to quarantine Israeli universities and scholars this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy, and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas.

At Columbia I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate -- as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their governments' policies. Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.

Published: June 12, 2007

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/07/06/boycott

AJCongress Supports AAUP Statement Opposing Academic Boycotts

June 8, 2007 - The American Jewish Congress today announced its support for the statement by the American Association of University Professors opposing academic boycotts. Issued in response to the recent vote by the British University and College Union to consider imposing a boycott on Israeli academics, the AAUP stated that the decision “to the extent that it is meant to encourage an academic boycott, is contrary to the Association’s position condemning such boycotts.” In a letter to AAUP executive director Ernst Benjamin, AJCongress President Richard S. Gordon said the Jewish rights group was “particularly pleased to see AAUP stand up for its traditional commitment ‘to preserving and advancing the free exchange of ideas among academics irrespective of governmental policies and however unpalatable those policies may be viewed.’”  Gordon said that the AAUP statement “will make an important contribution to the struggle for academic freedom and underscores one of the important aspects of the struggle against boycotts of Israel.”  “We will continue to fight every time Israel gets singled out as a pariah,” Gordon said. The American Jewish Congress is a membership association of Jewish Americans, organized to defend Jewish interests at home and abroad, through public policy advocacy, in the courts, Congress, the executive branch and state and local governments. It also works overseas with others who are similarly engaged.

We should be aware of the following:

University denies tenure to outspoken Holocaust academic; Read the letter to

Mr. Finkelstein here (pdf)
Ed Pilkington in New York, Tuesday June 12, 2007, The Guardian

2. Articles against the boycott

Boycott plan puts our reputation at risk, Tuesday June 12, 2007, The Guardian

http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2100847,00.html

 

A letter to the British academic, Yair Lapid, 12/6/07, YNET

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3411227,00.html

 

Israeli Boycott, Comments from an Israeli Academic, By Professor Menachem Kellner

http://www.infoisrael.net/cgi-local/text.pl?source=4/b/v/110620071

 

British boycott backlash builds By Israel Insider staff  June 8, 2007

http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/AntiSemi/11491.htm

 

Guardian Letters, Tuesday June 12, 2007

http://education.guardian.co.uk/egweekly/story/0,,2100241,00.html

 

Isolation tactics are not the answer: Efforts to undermine Israel's social fabric through campaigns like academic boycotts will succeed no better than military action, writes Jonathan Spyer, Monday June 11, 2007, EducationGuardian.co.uk  http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,2100387,00.html

This will do Palestinians no good: You can't talk about boycotting Israeli academics in the same black and white terms as South African apartheid, says Paul Scham, Monday June 11, 2007, EducationGuardian.co.uk  http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,2100505,00.html

Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), discusses his organization's efforts to prevent the British boycott of Israeli academics from taking effect.

http://www.insidehighered.com/var/podcast/media/2007-06-06_nelsonpodcastfinal.mp3

AJCongress : Stop the University and College Union Academic Boycott of Israel! 

http://www.ajcongress.org/site/PageServer?pagename=boycott&JServSessionIdr010=l4ha15gu32.app8a

Government minister says academic boycott of Israel would boost hardliners, The China Post

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/latestnews/46769.htm

UK Education minister slams academic boycott of Israel, EJP

http://www.ejpress.org/article/17348

Foreign Ministry: New Israeli task force will confront British academic boycott

http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=34716

British Minister: Academic boycott bid is 'fundamentally wrong'

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/869131.html

British minister says academic boycott wrong

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3410799,00.html

To boycott or not - the new Israeli question, Sunday June 10, 2007, The Observer

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2099513,00.html

New Israeli task force will confront British academic boycott

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/MFA+Spokesman/2007/New+Israeli+task+force+will+confront+British+academic+boycott+10-Jun-2007.htm

Jews Disagree On How Best to Respond To British Boycott, Ben Harris, JTA Wire Service, JUNE 10, 2007, New York

http://www.jewishtimes.com/News/6649.stm


'We will isolate them', Saturday June 9, 2007, The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2099043,00.html

Boycott will destroy British academia, warns US professor Saturday June 9, 2007, The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2098961,00.html

Rammell on trip to dampen boycott concerns June 8, 2007, The Guardian

http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2098903,00.html

Diana lawyer vows to fight Israeli academic boycott, Donald MacLeod, Thursday June 7, 2007, Guardian

http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,2097576,00.html

Howard Jacobson: It's time to end the vilification of Israel, The Independent, 8/6/07

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2632871.ece

Bigoted British Boycott, Alan M. Dershowitz, FrontPageMagazine.com | June 8, 2007

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=28660

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/bigoted-british-boycott_b_51170.html

The war against the Jews (2), June 8, 2007, Melanie Phillips

http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/?p=1543

Scholars urge solidarity amid boycott, JP

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181228569184&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Retaliation! If we can only find a way

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerBlog.jhtml?itemNo=868539&contrassID=25&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=1&listSrc=Y&art=1

Anti-Semitism, It's Academic, Larry Miller On "Selectively Politically Correct" British Institutions CBS News

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/08/london/main2901364.shtml

Blair decries Israel boycott move, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6726727.stm

Education minister seeks to prevent trade boycott, Times

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article1901501.ece

UK minister in Israel to apologise for academic boycott, Submitted by Netherlands IFP on Sat, 2007-06-09 15:31. 

http://pressesc.com/01181403005_uk_apologise_israel

Drop the Boycott, The Times, June 7, 2007

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article1896030.ece

Boris Johnson condemns academic boycott of Israel's universities

http://www.boris-johnson.com/education/2007/06/university_and_colleges_union.php

London Olympic organizer rejects British academics' effort to boycott Israel, IHT

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/06/07/africa/ME-GEN-Israel-Academic-Boycott-Coe.php

British union to keep boycott talk alive, JTA Staff http://www.cjnews.com/viewarticle.asp?id=11982

The year of living dangerously, June 5, 2007, The Guardian  http://education.guardian.co.uk/egweekly/story/0,,2094951,00.html

Israel's New Anti-Boycott Task Force, By LAWRENCE DAVIDSON

http://www.mpacuk.org/content/view/3730/0/

Dear Brits, Dan Ben-David, JP

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1180960607565&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

British academia warned over boycott of Israel

http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=154196&version=1&template_id=38&parent_id=20

Articles supporting the boycott

The time is now: Just as I campaigned for boycotts against apartheid in South Africa many years ago, now I shall do so against Israeli apartheid, says Colin Green , Monday June 11, 2007, EducationGuardian.co.uk

http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,2100391,00.html

BRICUP appeal from Sue Blackwell: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JustPeaceUK/message/20941

Fine words come cheap, strong action is needed, Lisa Taraki,

The Times Higher Education Supplement, 08 June 2007 

The growing boycott movement has put Israeli academe on the defensive, but more is required, says Lisa Taraki

On the day that UK academics debated motions to boycott Israel the international media reported on a letter addressed to the Israeli defence minister. It had been sent by academics and intellectuals, including the presidents of four Israeli universities, and it called for the lifting of the ban on Gaza students travelling to the West Bank. This move, as well as the recent lobbying tour of UK universities by Israeli academics opposed to the proposed UCU action, and the Israeli foreign minister's intervention with the British government, show that the boycott is already beginning to bite. Far from being ineffective, the action's inexorable expansion into the mainstream is worrying its intended targets. However, the Israeli response is as revealing as it is pathetic.

The intellectual elite's letter notes that "blocking access to higher education for Palestinian students from Gaza who choose to study in the West Bank casts a dark shadow over Israel's image as a state that respects and supports the principle of academic freedom and the right to education". This statement and its timing reveal that far from being motivated by lofty sentiments it has more to do with the public relations campaign to shore up Israel's badly deteriorating international image.

Is this the best they can do? Is it credible that the gravest issue facing higher education for Palestinians today is the inability of students from the Gaza Strip to study at "superior" West Bank universities? Even in the heyday of the "good old" occupation before Oslo, Gaza did not contribute more than a fraction of the West Bank student body. Do the presidents of Israeli universities really intend to convince the world that they are champions of the right to education for Palestinians? Do they hope that this will let them off the hook?

What is the credibility of these "respectable" academics and intellectuals who appeal to a key representative of the repressive occupation machine, a cynical labour boss and politician responsible for much of the death and destruction sown in Palestine and Lebanon since he took office? Instead of making a bold statement against the occupation they ask for the amelioration of some of its more sordid features. This is even further diluted by the suggestion (stated by a member of the organisation that initiated the appeal) that each case be evaluated individually. We all know what "individual evaluation" entails, what its stringent and un-transparent criteria are, and who does the evaluation: the military security establishment itself.

The appeal epitomises what is wrong with the Israeli academy. While throwing a stale crumb our way these academic leaders are silent on the core issue: the deepening of the occupation regime that threatens the lives and futures of all Palestinians, including students and teachers. Not only that, they sidestep the issue of racism and discrimination against Palestinian citizens within the Israeli academy itself.

It continues to be true that the Israeli academy has behaved shamelessly in the matter of stifling of basic freedoms of Palestinians, including the freedom of education. During the past 40 years our universities have been shut down by military order numerous times and for long durations, thousands of our students and teachers have been imprisoned and exiled, and our basic right to free access to our institutions has been violated. Not once have the presidents of Israeli universities, or for that matter any association of Israeli academics, challenged the occupation regime and demanded its dismantlement.

It is ironic that one of the persistent themes in the critique of the academic boycott is the "fact" that the academy has done more than any other sector in Israeli society to campaign for Palestinian rights. This is a hollow claim belied by the fact that only a handful of brave Israeli academics have ever taken a public stand against the occupation.

As an academic at a Palestinian university I remain vindicated in my belief that pressure, and nothing but pressure, will make Israelis, including academics, accede to demands for a radical change in the status quo. This is not about punishment of Israeli academics. Rather, it is based on the assumption that both the vociferous and silent colluders in the academy can be pressured to act to bring about change. The growing boycott movement has put the academy on the defensive, but there are many more miles to be traversed before a truly moral response issues from its spokespersons and rank and file.

Lisa Taraki is a sociologist at Birzeit University in Palestine. 

http://www.thes.co.uk/current_edition/story.aspx?story_id=2037034 

 

Patron:

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 with permission


Related items:

Press Releases

2008
AFI Digest of March 28th

2007
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

2008
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

2007
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

2008
UCU Reconsidering Boycott, Little Bulldogs, March 27 2008

2007
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
www.stoptheboycott.org
BICOM on the UCU Boycotts
Academic Friends of Israel
Engage
Jewish Agency page on Addressing the Academic Boycott of Israel at UCU