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

Anti-Israel Academic Boycott Resource Centre
UCU boycott of Israeli academics declared illegal

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

Lecturers drop Israeli universities boycott call after legal advice

By James Meikle, The Guardian, 29 September 2007
Source: The Guardian

The prospect of an academic boycott of Israeli universities receded sharply yesterday as leaders of the lecturers' union contemplating the move were told it would be illegal. The British University and College Union (UCU) immediately suspended regional meetings called to discuss the "moral implications" of existing links and hear from Palestinian trade unionists living under Israeli occupation who had called for the protest.

In May, delegates at the union's annual congress in Bournemouth provoked an international storm, especially in Israel and the US, by demanding a programme of meetings to pave the way for a vote on cutting academic ties. The move was approved by 158 votes to 99. Jewish leaders, university vice-chancellors and the government condemned the move.

Yesterday David Newman, head of geopolitics at Ben-Gurion University, and academic representative of Israel on boycott issues, said he was glad the UCU had "seen sense and realised that universities are the place for open dialogue, freedom of speech and liberal thought, all of which a boycott would have prevented".

Legal advice to the union's strategy and finance committee said a boycott call ran the risk of infringing discrimination legislation and was also considered outside the aims and objects of the union.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU, insisted the majority of the union's 120,000 members would neither support a boycott call nor regard it as a priority. She said last night: "I hope this decision will allow all to move forwards and focus on what is our primary objective, the representation of our members."

However, Sue Blackwell, a member of the union's executive and of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, said of the decision: "It is quite ridiculous. It is cowardice. It is outrageous and an attack on academic freedom."

Bill Rammell, the higher education minister, who had flown to Israel to soothe tensions, said: "An academic boycott would not have done anything to further the Middle East peace process, in fact the reverse."


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