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

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Boycott plan puts our reputation at risk

By authors as listed below, June 12, 2007
Source: The Guardian, Letters

The proposal by the University and College Union for a boycott of Israeli universities is against all the principles of academic freedom that universities espouse. Such action threatens the universality of research and learning and is condemned by the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and Universities UK, representing all universities' vice-chancellors. It is explicitly opposed by the International Council for Science on the grounds that it conflicts with the vision of universities founded on freedom of inquiry, independent of political pressure. Nor will a boycott help the cause of the Palestinians or their universities, where there are many ongoing Israeli-Palestinian joint academic activities. These constitute one of the few avenues for dialogue between the two peoples and, as the president of al-Quds University has stated, a boycott would be harmful to the Palestinian cause.

We strongly believe these efforts, by less than 0.15% of the membership of the UCU, to undermine academic dialogue tarnishes the reputation of the UK academic community and of the union itself.
Leslie Turnberg House of Lords, Prof James Barber Imperial College, Prof John Bell Oxford, Colin Blakemore Chief executive, Medical Research Council, Alec Broers House of Lords, Prof Jonathen Cohen Brighton, Prof Ara Darzi Imperial College, Prof Mark Ferguson Manchester, Aaron Klug Nobel laureate, Harry Kroto Nobel laureate, Prof Alex Markham Leeds, Naren Patel House of Lords, Keith Peters Past president, Academy of Medical Sciences, Stewart Sutherland House of Lords, (Prof) Raymond Tallis Manchester, Stephen Tomlinson Provost, University of Wales, Richard Trainor Principal, King's College, London, Mark Walport Wellcome Trust, John Walton House of Lords, (Prof) David Weatherall Oxford, Nick Wright Warden, Barts and the London Medical School



Academics have a professional responsibility to spread knowledge and promote understanding. The proposal by the UCU is an assault on academic freedom and intellectual exchange. Recently, MPs had the opportunity to meet the editor of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, a journalist of great courage and integrity who argues that the sharing of information and knowledge is the best defence against extremism. Yet the UCU has been captured by a minority on the British left. We share David's disappointment that the unions representing the professions of journalism and academia should promote boycotts of Israel. We back Sally Hunt's proposal to call a full ballot of the members. This controversial decision affecting academic freedom and Britain's international reputation should be taken by every member of the UCU.
Jane Kennedy MP Chair, Labour Friends of Israel, Gillian Shephard President, Conservative Friends of Israel, Alan Beith MP President, Liberal Democat Friends of Israel, Roger Lyons Chair, Trade Union Friends of Israel



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


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