British universities and academics are not boycotting Israel, nor will they do so. What happened yesterday is that a tiny minority of hard left and pro Islamist radical activists (all 158 of them in fact, yesterday) succeeded in passing a motion committing an irretrievably hard left but otherwise pretty powerless union, dominated by fourth rate university and community college representation, to circulate to their branches a call supporting the institution of a boycott by members of their union. They set a process in motion that may lead to this union committing itself to carrying one out. The radicals in question are the equivalent of the Gideon Levys, Ilan Pappes and Amira Hasses of the Israeli hard left who seem to me to bear a great deal more responsibility for world wide anti-Israel demonization than this union could do in a hundred years.
I do not doubt that it will lead to yet more motions being passed, some of which might even lead to some sort of official union blacklisting or boycotting of Israeli academics or academic institutions. Will this actually affect UK universities? No, because they know perfectly well that no reputable academic will follow it; no university or university department will touch it– nor would they legally be able to do so.
It is in fact all part of a carefully orchestrated campaign by the unreconstructed marxist wing of Palestinian politics, dominated by the Fatah faction, to maximise their anti-Israel agitation to coincide with the imminent 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, and the defeat of the plans of Egypt, Jordan, Syria et al to destroy Israel at that time. That campaign has its roots in the Stalinist demonization of Israel that started in the late 1940s, accelerated after the defeat of the Soviet Union's client states in 1967 and culminated in the 1970s with the UN adoption of the notorious "zionism is racism" motion in 1975. It was eventually defeated, but received fresh impetus through the 2001 UN Conference on Racism in Durban which used an alliance of unaccountable NGOs and surviving former Soviet clients and crony parties of third world nations to hijack the conference to focus on the delegitimatizaion of Israel as an "apartheid" state. And of course they have consistently sought to delegitimise Israel in the name of oppostion to "the occupation".
So please, Yael, (and Israeli commenters in similar vein) lay off comments like yours to UK Brits like me– unless you think the writings and agitations of the said Israelis, or the tendency of your local hard line Islamists to blow you up, stab or shoot you, should move you to leave Israel….
I’m not going to suggest that British jews take a look about the country they are living in and consider living elsewhere because they will make their own decisions about whether or not living in a country in the journalists union, the academics’ union, the architects, and most likely coming soon the medical physicians (yes they are due to vote on boycotting us next month) and main labourers union (due to vote on boycotting us in June) are behaving in such a fashion, coupled with the fact that last year the number of anti-Semitic attacks in England rose alarmingly by over 40% — the steepest rise in Europe — to its highest level ever, is what they want to do. I sure as hell wouldn’t do it but hey.
And US commenters like Bill and sonomaca on my own blog, get a grip. The UK is not in the grasp of either Islamists or marxist revolutionaries. Nor is it going to be in either the short or the long term.
There is a whole subculture in the UK of tiny delusionary Trotskyist et al radical groupuscules who see the local Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut Tahrir and the Saviour Sects as their latest revolution fodder, now that they have given up on years of trying unsuccessfully to radicalize Britain's black population. They can find no other outlet for their grotesque policies than to capture such professionals’ unions as NUJ, UCU and whatever. They do not represent the actual membership of those unions any more than Ilan Pappe represents Israeli academics or Michael Moore represents the USA. More importantly, they do not impact on policy and practice in UK universities any more than the late Baruch Kimmerling ran the Hebrew University or Jesse Jackson runs the White House.
And I say that as an activist campaigner against them and their boycott motions against Israel, who has been predicting exactly this outcome since my blog was set up.