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[Boycott - Academic]

Comment:

The very fact that a delegation of zionist academics came to Britain to persuade and pressure UK academics not to boycott apartheid Israel indicates that the academic boycott is working, that its hurting Israel and Israel is afraid of its success.

An interesting observation - consider who bank rolled the Israeli delegation - an organisation called "Fair Play", and the "International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom". Wow! What names! How could anyone not agree with such organisations, presumably dedicated to such high ideals as fair play and academic freedom? Well, when you dont have the truth on your side, all thats left is spin and lies. Fair Play is just a front for Israels mouthpiece in the UK - the 'Board of Deputies of British Jews', and the "International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom" is in reality a pressure group set up by an israeli university with the aim of killing the academic boycott.

Israeli, U.K. academics meet to discuss proposed academic boycott


Assaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent
18 May 2007

Brighton, England - Two very different groups of academics met at the University of Brighton on Wednesday. On one side of the table were five local representatives of Britain's University and College Union, the sponsors of a resolution proposing an academic boycott of Israel. On the other were four Israeli academics who came to Britain to fight the proposal. They only managed to agree on one issue: Their argument should be conducted politely.

Though both AUT and NATFHE approved academic boycotts, the decisions became void when the two merged last year. Therefore, Hickey has introduced a new boycott proposal at the UCU's annual conference, which takes place on May 30 and June 1. Among other things, the proposal demands that no more European Union funds reach Israeli universities.

"Israeli universities cooperate with the occupation, and therefore, all coopertion with them should be boycotted," declared Tom Hickey, one of the Britons. "Israel commits terrible, exceptional crimes in the occupied territories."

However, he added that he would be willing to cooperate with any Israeli college that publicly denounced its government's activities.

Dr. Jonathan Rynhold of Bar-Ilan University retorted angrily: "You are imposing standards on Israel, and Israeli academe, that you do not demand of any other country, not even British academe, of which you are a part. And you treat the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as if it were completely one-sided."

"It is one-sided," responded Hickey.

The UCU proposal is part of a growing wave of British initiatives to boycott Israel. These include decisions for an academic boycott approved by the AUT and NATFHE the two lecturers' unions that later merged to form the 120,000-strong UCU in 2005 and 2006, respectively; last month's decision by Britain's National Union of Journalists to boycott Israeli products; the Anglican Church's decision to divest from companies doing business with the Israel Defense Forces; a demand for Israel's expulsion from the World Medical Association by 130 British doctors; and boycott calls by leading British architects.

Though both AUT and NATFHE approved academic boycotts, the decisions became void when the two merged last year. Therefore, Hickey has introduced a new boycott proposal at the UCU's annual conference, which takes place on May 30 and June 1. Among other things, the proposal demands that no more European Union funds reach Israeli universities.

Worried by the growing trend, Israeli academe which largely ignored the early boycott proposals has geared up to fight this one.

"In practice, our work has just begun," said Ofir Frankel, who coordinates the activities of Bar-Ilan's International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom. "If we manage to thwart the proposed boycott at the conference at the end of the month, that would be wonderful, but our goals are designed for the longer-term. We want to influence public opinion among British academics and provide them with a true picture of Israeli academe."

"Over the last year, you can sense that Israeli academe has united behind our goal," she continued, adding that she plans to attend the conference with a group of Palestinian students who study at Israeli universities, and they will present their work at the same booth.

At the Brighton meeting, Professor Zvi Hacohen of Ben-Gurion University, a senior official in Israel's lecturers' union, presented two arguments against the boycott: "First, there is widespread cooperation between our universities and Palestinian and Jordanian universities; the proposed boycott will damage this cooperation. Additionally, you must understand that Israeli institutions and universities are not political organizations, and they have no influence over the policies of the government or the parties."

But the British academics were not impressed. "My belief that we need to work for a boycott was only strengthened," said one, Bob Brecher. "The very fact that this delegation came here shows that the academic establishment in Israel is central and influential."

From Brighton, the Israelis proceeded to Birmingham and Manchester to meet undecided voters; they also met with British parliamentarians.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/860902.html


Israeli professors meet UK counterparts to tackle boycott


Jonny Paul, Jerusalem Post Correspondent
2007-05-17

A delegation of senior Israeli academics are returning to Israel on Friday after a successful week of meetings with their British counterparts and with parliamentarians and journalists in an effort to persuade academics and members of the University and College Union (UCU) to reject proposals to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

The Israelis' trip was organized by the Fair Play Campaign Group (FPCG,) part of the Board of Deputies of British Jews' campaign to combat initiatives to boycott Israel, together with the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom (IAB,) set up by Bar-Ilan University in 2005 to respond to calls for boycotts of Israeli academics.

Two boycott motions are expected to be on the agenda of the UCU, the largest professional association for lecturers and researchers in British higher education, at their annual conference at the end of May.

The Israelis' trip was organized by the Fair Play Campaign Group (FPCG,) part of the Board of Deputies of British Jews' campaign to combat initiatives to boycott Israel, together with the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom (IAB,) set up by Bar-Ilan University in 2005 to respond to calls for boycotts of Israeli academics.

The delegation consisted of Prof. Miriam Shlesinger of Bar-Ilan University, former head of Amnesty International in Israel and the target of a 2002 boycott when she was removed from the editorial staff of a prestigious journal by a long-time academic colleague at Manchester University on the basis of her Israeli citizenship. Shlesinger was joined by Prof. Zvi HaCohen, chairman of Israel's University Faculty Association, Prof. Daphna Erdinast-Vulkan of Haifa University and English-born Dr. Jonathan Rynhold of Bar-Ilan University.

While the delegation's members hold widely differing beliefs, they are united in their belief that an academic boycott would be politically and academically counterproductive.

"A boycott against Israel... discriminates against individual people and individual institutions and it [would] deprive me of my academic freedom," Shlesinger said.

Rynhold said that the IAB has "worked hard to galvanize Israeli academia to confront the threat of the boycott."

With the support of the UK Jewish community, Rynhold said, the delegation hoped to bring its message to British academia - that a boycott would ultimately work against peace and reconciliation.

An FPCG spokesman said that the Israeli representatives had "taken their perspective into the heart of the pro-boycott camp and made a huge contribution to our collective work to promote academic freedom and oppose discrimination in this country."

Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178708628816&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


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