30 May 2007

UCU backs boycott of Israel

Delegates at the first conference of the new University and College Union in Bournemouth voted by more than three to two to recommend boycotts in protest at Israel's "40-year occupation" of Palestinian land and to condemn the "complicity" of Israeli academics.

Storm of protest I guess will arrive and all the right wing trolls will be cancelling their holiday time to get on the blog o sphere.

Very proud of Caroline Lucas MEP showing such courage in supporting Palestine, I guess her visits to Palestine (one good excuse for flying!)where she has seen the damage done by Israeli occupation and aftermath have given her a lot of food for thought.

A peaceful Middle East demands justice.

So yes this member of the UCU supports the boycott and so do many of us in the UK concerned with justice and sustainable peace.

The conference motion said there should be "a comprehensive and consistent boycott" of all Israeli academic institutions, as called for by Palestinian trade unions.

Delegates voted by 158 to 99 in favour of the motion. The union's leadership must now circulate calls from Palestinians for a boycott of Israeli universities to all branches throughout the country.

Tom Hickey, a Brighton University academic and union national executive member, who led the call for stronger moves towards a boycott, said: "There will be adverse effects on individuals, but this is not targeting individuals or trying to break contacts with them."

He said the vote in favour of a boycott call to all branches reflected "the deep concern" people have about the issue. A boycott could involve lecturers refusing to collaborate on research contracts with Israeli academics and refusing to work with journals published by Israeli companies.

More from the Guardian here


bob said...

Derek, you are wrong to say that the opposition to the boycott will come from only from "right-wing trolls". There are strong left-wing cases against an academic boycott too.
First, it is damaging to the possibility of peace and justice in the Middle East, as universities have been one of the most important spaces for dialogue and dissent in Israel.
Second, it encourages global anti-semitism by singling out one state for its human rights abuses, when many other states across the world are guilty of far more heinous war crimes - not least the US, but boycotting US universities wouldn't be so easy for most academics.
Third, it is discriminatory in effect, as it will disproportionately effect Jewish academics, which in turn will encourage the climate of intimidation that Jewish students report experiencing in universities.
Finally, it discredits the union, making it harder for us to win the massive pay and conditions battle we are in the middle of.

Derek Wall said...

Dear Bob,

Indeed I would be wrong to say opposition to UCU and the Green Party on the boycott would only come from the right.

Which is why I did not say so.

Although I strongly disagree with you on this, obviously you approach is different from say a blog comment yesterday which simply attacked Ralph Nadar without advancing any kind of argument.

I think there is a very clear difference between criticism and boycotts against Israel and anti-semitism.

I think boycotts are a powerful non violent way of making a point, much like industrial action.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the broader point worth making is that the UCU's leadership and activists have almost zilch in the way of a democratic mandate - they speak for almost no one. Turnout in the recent election for UCU President was 14%! If Greens are serious about participatory democracy rather just another tribe of the far left this should perhaps concern you - and you would be thinking about some form of proper (electonic?) democracy for this country - rather than indulging the sterile and predicatble back and forth of your exchange above...

I also hope your commitment to gay rights in Palestine/Israel mentioned in another posts extends to critizing both the homophobia of Israeli religious parties AND that of Hamas. Somehow, however, I suspect you will be pretty silent about the latter...

Anonymous said...


You might not be aware that the image you've included has a link to an anti-semitic website on it.
I guess it's an honest mistake because it looks like you found it on indymedia.
Might be worth deleting the image though.

Derek Wall said...


well I will take it off...but I am trusting you on this one, I got it in good faith from indy media....

Raphael said...

As previous commentators have noticed, you got it wrong. And your post is rather insulting for those, like myself (and indeed most of the opposition to the boycott within UCU) who are neither right wing, nor trolls, but UCU and Green Party member.
At least, please do sign the petition in favor of a ballot so that the boycott issue is decided by all members.

When Keir Starmer was a Marxist.

Canvassing in Brighton back in 2017 to support Green Party MP Caroline Lucas’s re-election efforts, I knocked on a door and came acros...