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UCU boycott, NATFHE boycott, AUT boycott and other academic boycotts targetting Israeli universities

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Boycott will destroy British academia, warns US professor

By Matthew Taylor and Suzanne Goldenberg, Saturday June 9, 2007
Source: The Guardian

The prominent British lawyer Anthony Julius has teamed up with Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law school professor whose clients have included Claus von Bulow and the OJ Simpson defence team, to fight possible boycotts of Israeli universities by UK academics.

The pair are planning to publish a paper outlining their objections to a pro-boycott motion passed by British academics last month and Mr Dershowitz has threatened to "devastate and bankrupt" those he believes are acting against Israeli universities.

Members of the University and College Union passed a motion at their annual conference instructing leaders to circulate calls for a boycott of Israeli institutions to every UK campus for "information and discussion".

Yesterday Mr Julius, who has had a string of high-profile clients and is visiting professor at Birkbeck College, said the UCU's decision had sparked widespread anger. "People are pretty appalled at their stance, what they see are double standards when it comes to Israel," he said. "The majority of Jews find this repellent and many academics reject the pitiful arguments which have been put forward and which do not reflect well on the state of academic work in this country."

Mr Dershowitz, the prominent lawyer and Harvard law professor who is well known for the ferocity of his attacks on those he perceives as enemies of Israel, told the Guardian that if the boycott call is endorsed by the UCU branches there would be retribution, and that he had enlisted 100 lawyers to break the boycott.

"If the union goes ahead with this immoral petition, it will destroy British academia," Mr Dershowitz said. "We will isolate them from the rest of the world."

Yesterday supporters of an academic boycott said they were determined to press ahead with the campaign.

Sue Blackwell, who spoke in favour of the motion at the union conference last month, said: "We have voted to discuss how best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters who often are not allowed to get to college or university and that is what we will do."

She said the proposed boycott had sparked a renewed debate about the plight of the Palestinians since it was first raised five years ago.

"This is about boycotting institutions about criticising the policies of the Israeli government not about individuals."


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