UJS Chair writes to UCU General Secretary
Dear Ms. Hunt,
The Union of Jewish Students is the democratic grass-roots body representing over ten thousand Jewish students studying at British Universities. As Chairman, I am contacted by many of them on a daily basis, with complaints over the difficulties they face on campus, simply because they are Jewish.
I wish to convey to you in no uncertain terms the level of concern raised amongst our membership by the UCU congress decision to pass policy representing a step towards the absolute boycott of Israeli academics.
The sheer volume of calls and emails UJS has received surrounding this issue over the last 36 hours is unprecedented. Now more than ever, Jewish students are feeling not only angry and frustrated, but intimidated, worried and even scared over this decision, and what may follow.
It is clear that a boycott will do nothing to benefit the Palestinian cause, but serves only to harm academia in general and the credibility of the newly formed UCU. This assault on academic freedom is punishing the most progressive sector of Israeli society, and damaging the voices for peace so often promoted by Jewish groups at universities across the country.
Whether a Jewish lecturer or student is supportive or otherwise of Israeli government policy, they are viewed by others as a face of Israel. The passing of this motion, and the campaigning it instructs your NEC to carry out, therefore has the potential to negatively affect every Jew on campus.
As General Secretary you have publicly stated numerous times your opposition to the boycott, and have pledged that you would put any decision of this nature to your entire membership. Now I am asking for you to follow up these words with action. I am requesting you to use all your power at the head of the UCU to immediately call a referendum, to ballot the membership on the issue of a boycott of Israeli academics. There are many thousands of Jews on campuses eagerly hoping and awaiting your action. I too await your response.
Cc: Mitch Simmons - UJS Campaigns Organiser
Reproduced at Zionism On The Web with permission