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UK proposes joint academic seminar

By Ynetnews, June 10, 2007
Source: Ynetnews

Visiting British minister suggests holding joint British, Israeli, Palestinian academic conference in the UK to signal opposition to British lecturers' call to boycott Israeli academia

The British government is proposing to host a conference of British, Israeli and Palestinian academics in the United Kingdom to signal its opposition to the boycott call of Israeli academia by the British university lecturers' union, the UCU.

Bill Rammel, the British minister for higher education who is currently visiting Israel, told Ynetnews on Sunday that he hoped this conference could be arranged "fairly quickly". The topic of the conference would be the globalization of education.

Rammel was joined on his visit to Israel by Professor James Drummond Bone, the vice chancellor of the University of Liverpool and the president of Universities UK, the representative body of all the heads of British universities.

Rammel, in his meetings with Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Knesset education committee chairman Michael Melchior and Diaspora Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog, stressed his, and the British government's opposition to the boycott call.

'Why did it start in United Kingdom?'

He pointed out that a boycott of Israeli academia would harm the progressive voices in Israel calling for reconciliation and bridge-building.

Minister Herzog told Ynetnews that he wanted to see more exchange programs between Israeli academics and their British counterparts so as to expose UK academics "to Israel, its complexities, history and beautiful people. When you ask people (overseas) about Israel, all they think about is conflict."

Herzog called Rammel's visit "very important it's something that was called for" after the UCU's boycott decision. "Our guests understood and saw at first-hand the complexity of the issue and how Israel looks at this resolution."

Herzog said the boycott call raised a number of questions: "Why, of all places, did it start in the United Kingdom, what brought it about and how can we strike it off?"

Earlier Monday, during a meeting with Minister Tamir at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Rammel said that imposing a boycott was not the right step.

Instead, he said, the two sides should promote dialogue, the necessary element for peace.

Reproduced at Zionism On The Web for educational purposes only, please site the initial source as listed above

Related items:

Press Releases

AFI Digest of March 28th

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

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

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

UCU Reconsidering Boycott, Little Bulldogs, March 27 2008

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
BICOM on the UCU Boycotts
Academic Friends of Israel
Jewish Agency page on Addressing the Academic Boycott of Israel at UCU