The anti-Israel Academic Boycott Resource Pages
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From: Academic Friends of IsraelReproduced at Zionism on the Web with permission
The Academic Friends of Israel
Harrow Website: www.academics-for-israel.org
25 May 2006
weekend sees the NATFHE conference in Blackpool and I will be there along with
the Trade Union Friends of Israel opposing the proposal for an academic boycott
Five reasons why the motion should not be allowed to proceed:
1. There has been no consultation with the 67.000 membership at any level over the proposal to boycott Israeli academics and Israeli institutions.
Paul Mackney gave a commitment at the 2005 conference that NATFHE must learn from the AUT experience and take steps to consult thoroughly throughout the Union at all levels of the membership with regard to the proposal for an academic boycott of Israel. He also warned the delegates that if they were to follow this course of action they must ensure they do not put the assets of the union at risk. The AUT boycott motions were overwhelmingly overturned after the AUT consulted their members. As there has been no consultation with the membership during the past 12 months I ask that the motion be withdrawn.
2. Both NATFHE and the AUT agreed that both unions’ pre-merger conferences would not make new policy as this could create problems for the new union, the UCU. Motion 198C is new policy and should be withdrawn for this reason alone.
3. It is not clear at this stage if the motion will be binding on the UCU if it is approved. NATFHE is on record in saying that it is not binding but only “advisory” on the merged union yet the AUT on its website in answer to the question: Do all agreements and policies have to be re-signed or ratified in the new union? “And the answer is “No, there will be an assumption that the acts of the predecessor unions are adopted by the new union except where it specifically decides otherwise"
Another view of what may happen if this motion is passed has been set out by Professor Michael Yudkin a member of the AUT who fears that the if NATFHE conference passes a boycott resolution against the wishes of the majority of AUT members, the new union will use its funds to finance speakers who will travel from place to place inciting academics to boycott Israelis. You can read his views http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=432
4. This motion should not be
allowed to proceed because South East region submitted too many motions to the
Annual Conference, 4 instead of 3. The
Conference steering committee has “bent” the rules to allow this
debate to take place. They decided
that it would not set a precedent as this is the last NATFHE conference!
Rules are rules and have been put in place for a good reason and should not be
broken just because it is the last conference. This is blatant
misuse of the power of the steering committee and one can only conclude that
they made their decision because they wanted the motion to be discussed at all
costs regardless of whether it would be an embarrassment to NATFHE, the AUT or
the new merged
5. The call for a personal
boycott of Israeli academics in resolution 198C of the annual conference agenda
goes against the rule 2.4 [below] of the
Rule 2.4 To oppose actively all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age or other status or personal characteristic. I have written to the NEC registering a formal request for a ruling as to legality of the resolution before the conference is due to debate next Monday.
Why NATFHE should reject an
academic boycott of
Unlike the AUT resolution last year, this motion dos not specify particular universities but refers to “Israeli educational institutions” in the general sense, one can assume therefore that NAFTHE members are being asked to boycott all Israeli universities and academics.
The motion has been very deliberately worded
to be in the form of a “silent boycott” in order to avoid the possibility
of legal action being taken for defamation or misuse of Union funds. In
other words, individuals will not be detected if they carry out a boycott nor,
the motion proposers hope, will the
The very notion of an academic boycott against
An academic boycott against
Internationally, Israeli universities are
renowned for their research into fields such as water resource management,
cancer treatment, desalination, and regional disease eradication. In
recent years Israeli educational institutions have been deeply engaged in
regional development issues in countries as diverse as
While many Palestinians do call for a boycott,
The President of Al Quds University in
international academic boycott of
The resolution being proposed by NATFHE
members refers to
The motion refers also to “Israeli apartheid policies”, presumably
to evoke the academic boycott, twenty years ago, of
Israeli Arabs actually have more political
rights than any other Arab population in the
If this motion was to be approved it will cause an unnecessary rift between the AUT and NATFHE at a time when unity is needed during the current pay campaign.
This motion is itself an act of
discrimination, singling out one country and one nationality for boycott, on
grounds which objectively could be applied with far more validity elsewhere.
Ultimately, NATFHE officers have an obligation not to commit the
the reaction from the
Academic Friends of
Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of
Henry Grunwald Q.C. - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
John D A Levy -
Director of the Academic Study Group on
Andrew R. Marks,
Professor Leslie Wagner CBE
Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham
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