The (anti) Zionism (anti) Israel boycotts
Compiled by Andre Oboler and Ami Isseroff
The current anti-Israel boycott campaigns attempt to revive the Arab League boycott of Israel which was enforced beginning after the Israeli War of independence until courageous US action put a stop to it in the 70s. Most Arab countries still ban Israeli products, but European and Japanese countries are no longer afraid to do business. with Israel
There are presently two major initiatives, begun since 2000 and advanced by various groups. Divestment is an attempt to get large institutions to drop their investments in firms that do business with Israel, or firms whose products are supposedly used "in the occupation." In fact, any product that is sold to Israel for any purpose may be used anywhere, including the occupied territories. Therefore, the divestment campaign is an attempt to enforce a trade embargo against Israel. Thus far the Presbyterian Church of the USA has taken up this initiative and others are considering it. The second initiative is an academic boycott. This is particularly unfair since it would hurt Israeli academics whose work has nothing to do with the occupation, and scholars who have spoken out against the occupation, and because the boycott was adopted in a rather undemocratic way.
The boycott activities are undoubtedly fueled in part by anti-Semitism, and, they may also help generate more racist sentiment.
Title: Away with him.
The long arm of the Ministry of Education pulls a Jewish teacher from his classroom.
March 1933 (Issue #12) Caricatures from "Der Sturmer"
Source: German Propaganda Archive
At the first meeting of the new union, the UCU (a result of the previous union the AUT and NATFHE merging) the boycott was back on the table. A motion was passed expressign support for a boycott and urging academic to consider the "moral implications" of working with Israeli academics. As one student asked when a motion against the UCU policy was passed without opposition at a student union, "Why now? What are the Israeli Universities supposed to have done now?" The answer if ofcourse nothing. The boycott is back not in response to anything immediate, but because it is that time of year and campaign against Israel is unrelenting. Were Israel and the Palestinian authority about to sign a peace deal that would create a two state solution, the boycott proponents would still be pushing their motion a nd claiming only one state is acceptable. The only solution is for union members to put these people in their place. They may be entitled to their opinion, but they are entitled to persue their own agendas when supposedly representing their members. But that is for the UCU membership to tell them.
Details on the UCU boycott support motion (2007) can be seen at our Anti-Israel Academic Boycott Resource Centre
Following the AUT overturning their boycott, a year later the other lecturers union started a boycott. This was pure symbolism as any policy passed would fall within a month as the two union (NATFHE and AUT) merged.
For more about the NATFHE Boycott please see our Anti-Israel Academic Boycott Resource Centre
The British Association of University Teachers (AUT) recently voted to boycott Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities because of alleged human rights and academic freedoms violations. The AUT vote was based on allegations that Ilan Pappe was threatened with expulsion from Haifa University because of his defense of a thesis by his student, Teddy Katz. However, Haifa University has not moved to expel Pappe, and took no action at all regarding the thesis, which was the subject of a court dispute.
Thus far, the AUT Israel Boycott seems to have generated a great backlash from numerous organizations, including those who are passionate defenders of the Palestinian cause.
Note - the boycott was rescinded May 26 - we may not have heard the last of this...
For more about the AUT Israel Boycott please see our AUT Israel Boycott resources pages
The following summary is from
Americans for Peace Now Statement on Divestment
Meretz USA Condemns Divestment
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, The Shefa Fund
Labor Zionist Alliance Opposes Divestment
Divestment from a Group of Progressive Jews in Somerville Mass
Let's Work Together for Middle East Peace, Somerville Journal
to Protestant Churches on Potential Economic Sanctions against Israel from Five Major Jewish Organizations:
The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
United Jewish Communities Opposes Presbyterian Church USA Moves on Divestment: Resolution Unanimously Passes
Presbyterians Against Israel Chicago Jewish News, January 28, 2005
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