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[Boycott - Academic]

UK lecturers vote to join boycott of Israeli universities


IRNA
31 May 2007

Delegates at the inaugural congress of the University and College Union (UCU) voted by 158 to 99 for a 'comprehensive and consistent boycott' by its 120,000 members.

Britain's university lecturers have backed calls by Palestinian trade unions to join an international boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Delegates at the inaugural congress of the University and College Union (UCU) in Bournemouth, southern England, voted Wednesday by 158 to 99 for a 'comprehensive and consistent boycott' by its 120,000 members.

"Israel's 40 year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement," a motion said raised by lecturers of Brighton and East London universities.

The resolution accused the Israeli academia of 'complicity' in the occupation and also deplored the denial of educational rights for Palestinians by 'invasions, closures, checkpoints, curfews, and shootings and arrests of teachers, lecturers and students'.

"Congress believes that in these circumstances passivity or neutrality is unacceptable and criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-semitic," delegates were told.

The vote for the boycott came despite the intervention of the British government and personal opposition expressed by the general secretary of the largest professional body for British lecturers, Sally Hunt.

"The UK government fully supports academic freedom and is firmly against any academic boycotts of Israel or Israeli academics," Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell said.

Rammell said that while he appreciated the independence of the UCU, he was 'very disappointed that the union has decided to pass a motion which encourages its members to consider boycotting Israeli academics and education institutions'.

The British government also suffered defeat when lecturers voted unanimously to reject its plans for universities to spy on Muslim students and groups.

A motion called on members to 'resist attempts by government to engage colleges and universities in activities which amount to increased surveillance of Muslim or other minority students and to the use of members of staff for such witch-hunts'.

Source: http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0705313233154958.htm


Lecturers vote to boycott Israeli academics


Richard Garner, Education Editor, The Independent
2007-05-31


University and college lecturers have voted in favour of boycotting Israeli universities in defiance of their union leadership.

The surprise vote at the conference of the newly formed University and College Union (UCU) in protest at the treatment of Palestinians also brought swift condemnation from Jewish groups and Israeli academics.

A boycott will be effective because Israel considers itself part of the West: when Western civil society finally says 'enough is enough', Israelis, not to mention Western governments, will take notice. A non-violent international boycott, like that of South Africa, may well play a historic role in bringing down the Israeli system of apartheid.

Dr John Chalcraft,
London School of Economics

Yesterday's motion condemns Israeli academics for "complicity in the occupation" of Palestine and calls for all the union's branches to be sent material from Palestinians calling for a boycott of Israeli institutions. It urges all members to "consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions".

The vote by 158 votes to 99 at the conference in Bournemouth came in spite of an earlier plea from Sally Hunt, general secretary of UCU, to reject a boycott. "I simply do not believe that the majority of UCU members support an academic boycott of Israel or that they believe it should be a major priority for the union," she said. "Most want to retain dialogue with trade unionists on all sides - not just those we agree with. It's the approach we have in Zimbabwe and Colombia."

Pressure will now be stepped up to persuade branches not to back it. Ms Hunt said afterwards: "Every member should have the opportunity to have their say." However, supporters of the boycott argued that it was the only way to convince Israelis to change their minds over the occupation and restore Palestinian rights.

The boycott would mean refusing to take part in conferences organised by Israelis. In the past, a similar call led to academics being stopped from writing for journals in the UK.

Dr John Chalcraft, of the London School of Economics, said: "A boycott will be effective because Israel considers itself part of the West: when Western civil society finally says 'enough is enough', Israelis, not to mention Western governments, will take notice. A non-violent international boycott, like that of South Africa, may well play a historic role in bringing down the Israeli system of apartheid."

Last night's vote is the first time UCU - the result of a merger of the Association of University Teachers and Natfhe, the college lecturers' union - has taken a stance on the issue. Three years ago the AUT passed a similar motion only for it to be overturned by members. Last year, though, Natfhe backed a boycott - knowing the motion would force the UCU to take a stand. Union leaders were optimistic they could head off the boycott. Last night they faced condemnation from academics and Jewish groups.

Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: "The motion is an assault on academic freedom. While the vast majority of academics do not support a boycott, this damages the credibility of British academia as a whole."

Source: http://education.independent.co.uk/news/article2600242.ece


UK lecturers urged to join academic boycott of Israel


IRNA
2007-05-31


Britain's largest professional body of lecturers Wednesday called upon its 120,000 members to join an international boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.

At its inaugural congress in Bournemouth, southern England, delegates from the University and College Union (UCU) were also urged to campaign for the restoration of all aid to the Palestinian Authority and revenues being withheld by Israel.

"Israel's 40 year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement," a motion said raised by lecturers of Brighton and East London universities.

The resolution also deplored the denial of educational rights for Palestinians by "invasions, closures, checkpoints, curfews, and shootings and arrests of teachers, lecturers and students." "Congress condemns the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation, which has provoked a call from Palestinian trade unions for a comprehensive and consistent international boycott of all Israeli academics," it said.

In 2006, the British government publicly intervened in the decision by Natfe [to boycott Israel] for the second successive year. Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman expressed regret about the vote, insisting that "academic boycotts are counterproductive and retrograde."

"Congress believes that in these circumstances passivity or neutrality is unacceptable and criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-semitic," delegates were told.

The call comes after the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (Natfhe) last year voted in favour of an Israeli boycott before its merger into the UCU, despite a massive campaign by the international Zionist lobby.

According to the Guardian newspaper Wednesday, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt was set to personally appeal against joining the academic boycott, which has been hotly debated by lecturers for the past five years.

In 2006, the British government also publicly intervened in the decision by Natfe for the second successive year. Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman expressed regret about the vote, insisting that "academic boycotts are counterproductive and retrograde."

A separate motion in Bournemouth, raised by delegates from the University of Birmingham, central England, called for the "restoration of all international aid to the PA and all revenues rightfully belonging to it."

Many leading British writers, artists, musicians, poets, filmmakers and poets, have also joined with their European colleagues in supporting a cultural boycott of Israel.

Source: http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0705302178173801.htm



UK University and College Union Boycott Resolutions


University and College Union
2007-06-02


On May 30th 2007, the UK University and College Union meeting at its first Annual Congress in Bournemouth passed the following resolutions. The final texts are the result of the approval of ‘friendly’ amendments to the original proposals which have the effect of strengthening them.


Congress condemns the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation, which has provoked a call from Palestinian trade unions for a comprehensive and consistent international boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.

Resolution 30
Boycott of Israeli academic institutions

The delegates earlier overwhelmingly (just one vote against) voted to accept the recommendations of a report from a body set up in the fallout of the 2005 decision by AUT to impose an academic boycott of Israel.

That interim report accepted by the union this afternoon says: ’The commission believes, after careful consideration, and noting that we are not capable of policing the academic world in a pro-active way, that triggers for actions leading to greylisting and boycott can only result from a request from a legitimate organisation within the state, or within the occupied territory or institution in question. Legitimate organisations would include a trade union movement, a recognised higher education union or other representative organisation. Exceptionally, a decision to impose greylisting or boycotting might be taken following consultation with Education International in circumstances where legitimate organisations cannot be lawfully established within the state or institutions in question, or in circumstances where institutions or branches of institutions, are established in territories under unlawful occupation as defined by UN resolutions.

Congress believes that in these circumstances passivity or neutrality is unacceptable and criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-semitic.

Resolution 30
Boycott of Israeli academic institutions

’It is recognised that this is a difficult area. We are aware of great wrongs being committed throughout the world against colleagues in other countries. But there is always a balance to be drawn between boycotting and damaging those colleagues in the hope that the state will address the harm that it is inflicting on academia, and the harm that the boycott itself inflicts on academia.’

Responding to the votes this afternoon, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ’As I have made clear in the past, and as I reiterated on the floor of congress this morning, I do not believe a boycott is supported by the majority of UCU members, nor do I believe that members see it is a priority for the union.

’Today’s motion on boycott means all branches now have a responsibility to consult all of their members on the issue and I believe that every member should have the opportunity to have their say. The earlier motion means that any future calls for a boycott must pass key tests before a boycott can implemented.’

Resolution 30 Boycott of Israeli academic institutions


Congress notes that Israel’s 40-year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement.

Congress deplores the denial of educational rights for Palestinians by invasions, closures, checkpoints, curfews, and shootings and arrests of teachers, lecturers and students.

Congress condemns the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation, which has provoked a call from Palestinian trade unions for a comprehensive and consistent international boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.

Congress believes that in these circumstances passivity or neutrality is unacceptable and criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-semitic.

Congress instructs the NEC to

§ circulate the full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches/LAs for information and discussion; § encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions; § organise a UK-wide campus tour for Palestinian academic/educational trade unionists; § issue guidance to members on appropriate forms of action; actively encourage and support branches to create direct educational§ links with Palestinian educational institutions and to help set up nationally sponsored programmes for teacher exchanges, sabbatical placements and research.

A count was taken of the voting on this motion which was as follows: FOR 155 [61%] AGAINST 99 [39%] ABSTAIN 17

Resolution 31 European Union and Israel


Congress notes:

1. That since the Palestinian elections in January 2006 the Israeli government has suspended revenue payments to the Palestinian authority (PA), and the EU and US have suspended aid, leaving public-sector salaries unpaid and earning the condemnation of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions;

2. That Israel is seeking to upgrade its relations with the EU to the same level as Norway and Switzerland, permitting free passage of goods, people and capital, while denying these freedoms to Palestinians.

Congress resolves to campaign for:

1. The restoration of all international aid to the PA and all revenues rightfully belonging to it;

2. No upgrade of Israel’s status until it ends the occupation of Palestinian land and fully complies with EU Human Rights law;

3. A moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel via EU and European Science Foundation funding until Israel abides by UN resolutions

Congress instructs the NEC to encourage Branches/Associations to

1. raise these campaigns in their Institutions and

2. investigate the possibilities of twinning their Institution with a Palestinian University or College

This motion was declared passed on a show of hands –with a majority visibly still higher than that for Resolution 30.

Source: http://alternatives-international.net/article933.html



PACBI Press Release:
Boycotting Israeli Apartheid Back on the Agenda


PACBI
2007-05-30


For Immediate Release

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) salutes the historic decision by the University and College Union (UCU) Congress today to support motions that endorse the logic of academic boycott against Israel, in response to the complicity of the Israeli academy in perpetuating Israel’s illegal military occupation and apartheid system.

Academic boycott has been advocated in the past as an effective tool in resisting injustice. In the 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi called for boycotting British-run academic institutions, to increase Indian self-reliance and also to protest the role of those institutions in maintaining British colonial domination over India. In the 1950s, the African National Congress (ANC) called for a comprehensive boycott of the entire South African academy, as a means to further isolate the apartheid regime. To their credit, British academics were among the very first to adopt the latter boycott. Moral consistency makes it imperative to hold Israel to the same standards.

Israel is now widely recognized as a state that actually practices apartheid, as evidenced in recent declarations by international figures from Jimmy carter and UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof. John Dugard to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils, among many others. During the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land, Israel’s policies have included house demolitions; Jews-only colonies and roads; uprooting hundreds of thousands of trees; indiscriminate killings of Palestinian civilians, particularly children; relentless theft of land and water resources; and denying millions of their freedom of movement by slicing up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans -- some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks.

Throughout forty years of Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Israeli academics have duly continued to serve in the occupation army, thereby participating in, or at least witnessing, crimes committed on a daily basis against the civilian population of Palestine. No Israeli academic institution, association, or union has ever publicly opposed Israel's occupation and colonization, its system of racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens, or its obstinate denial of the internationally-sanctioned rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties. Furthermore, the Israeli academy has been in direct or indirect collusion with the military-intelligence establishment, providing it with “academic” research services to sustain its oppression.

This courageous and morally laudable decision by the UCU to apply effective pressure against Israel in the pursuit of justice and genuine peace is only the latest measure adopted by an international community that can no longer tolerate Israel’s impunity in trashing human rights principles and international law. In the last few months alone, groups heeding -- to various degrees -- Palestinian calls for boycott and effective pressure against Israel have included the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ); Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; Congress Of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); and prominent British and international architects led by Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP).

Once again, the taboo has been shattered. It has now become more legitimate than ever to denounce Israel’s oppressive policies and to hold the state and all its complicit institutions accountable for human rights abuses, war crimes, and the longest military occupation in modern history. The Israeli academy will no longer be able to enjoy international recognition, cooperation, and generous support while remaining an accessory to crimes committed against the Palestinians.

Palestinians are now more confident than ever that international civil society is indeed capable of shouldering the moral responsibility of standing up to injustice and demanding freedom, self-determination, and unmitigated equality for all.

Media Contacts 972 54 557 2660 and 972 54 206 1894
info@BoycottIsrael.ps
www.PACBI.org

Source: http://www.pacbi.org/announcements_more.php?id=504_0_5_0_M


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