'New U.K. attempt to boycott Israeli universities, professors'

''The largest university and college lecturers union in Britain is likely to decide shortly to recommend that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories. The boycott motion, which was drafted by the southeast region of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), will be brought to a vote at its annual national conference, which will be held May 27-29. It comes about a year after the last boycott by British lecturers. In April 2005, the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) decided to impose an academic boycott on Bar-Ilan and Haifa universities, but subsequently reversed the decision.''

The decision was reversed after the university of Haifa threatened the AUT with a lawsuit. Aware of this dimension the proponents of the boycott came this time with a motion leaving it to individuals and not institutions to boycott any individual or academic institution in Israel which they think does not condemn Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and its Apartheid policies.

''In addition to the boycott motion, the annual conference will also discuss a motion condemning the "outrageous bias" of the British government in opposing Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections and stating that NATFHE will "continue to help protect and support Palestinian colleges and universities in the face of the continual attack by Israel's government." ''

''Having learned their lesson last year, Israeli lecturers have already begun organizing meetings and conferences to speak out against academic boycotts. The Inter-Senate Committee, which was established in 2001 with the original purpose of preventing a change in the structure of Israeli universities, had all Israeli universities pass resolutions condemning academic boycotts and calling on academic organizations abroad - including in Britain - to pass similar resolutions. "We want to bring about a situation in which leading organizations say academic boycotts are improper," said Ziegler. "When they are faced with a leading academic body, organizations will hesitate to make a decision like this again."''

Yes, academic boycott is 'improper', resistance to occupation is 'improper' and they should be sued while, according to this logic, the theft of the land on Israel's part and the destruction of a whole society (the Palestinian society) is 'not improper', the boycott of the Palestinians forcing them into poor health and starvation and refusing to engage with them in peace talks is 'not improper'. I stop here, the list is too long !

I think when a whole nation, Israel, concentrates its energy on Apartheid policies and on the destruction of Palestine and the Palestinians, no matter how mighty and powerful and no matter how many boycotts it will stop, will collapse, one day, from the inside. This is no consolation for anybody since, in the process, many people will be killed and violence will engulf the two countries before Israel comes to terms with its agressive policies against Palestine and the Palestinians.

Note that if you read the article on the website provided in this post I beg you to read the readers reactions which you can find at the end of the article. An edifying lesson ! I let you judge by yourself.


Wolfie said...

The comments to that article are the most interesting part.

Naturally the repeated accusation that because a few professors in British academia want to boycott Israeli academics everyone in England is a raving jack-booted Anti-Semite has convinced me to email my old university to protest against the boycott right away....


Gert said...

Personally this kind of boycott smacks to much of a "forced vote" to me. People, academics or not, should have the right to make up their own minds re. Israel/Palestine and not be bamboozled into thinking "this way" or "that way". Such blanket boycotts stand in the way of pluralism and rational debate.

In a way that's what the Israelis want: to be able to silence all critics with allegations of anti-Semitism. Not helpful, IMHO...

Sophia said...


I don't agree with you. The boycott motion is well crafed this time. it is not a boycott from institution to institution, it is a boycott from individuals to other individuals or institutions in Israel. It leaves every individual to judge with its own conscience. My conscience dictates that I should boycott Israel and academic Israelis who do not condemn the agressive and destructive policies of their country towards Palestinians the same way I should boycott any Palestinian institution that conducts agressive and destructive actions against Israeli civilians or any Palestinian who does not condemn these actions. This is not a political issue, it is a moral issue.

You said:''In a way that's what the Israelis want: to be able to silence all critics with allegations of anti-Semitism.'' This assertion is self refuting to your position: you are against the boycott, which is a criticism in action of Israel's policies, because you don't want Israel to silence criticism ?

Since March 29th 2006