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    « UCU union movers for and against the Israeli academic boycott | Main | Boycott hysteria is no way to deal with empty gesture politics »




    I am sorry to read what has occurred in your country. It was, alas, predictable - and you predicted it - but, be that as it may, it fortunately involves only a small group of people.

    I might also note what I indicated from early on, namely, that this campaign will, in the end, be not so much about Israel but, instead, about UK universities. More particularly, Israel will be the excuse used to harass Jews at UK universities. Mark my word on this.

    Lastly, the way that you fight a boycott is not the way proposed by the geniuses at Engage. Rather than concede their point about anything regarding Israel - hence playing the role of the sinner begging for mercy -, you attack the boycott on its dishonest merits - and they are dishonest.



    I think that since all these wonderful unions have passed all these wonderful motions, it's time to start a counter-boycott.

    I may simply be angry--but that is how I feel at the moment. And I admit that anti-Semitism does make me mad (and this is what it is).




    The boycott is disgusting, immoral and will serve, at best, to encourage Palestinian intransigence in refusing to recognize the rights of Israeli and, at worst, to encourage Palestinians to continue murderous attacks.

    I call on all British academics to resist this undemocratic and immoral boycott, just as they would refuse comply with any other call for immoral action.


    The only thing I can say is, that Britain will become Islamic Kingdom under Sharia and then a part of Caliphate long before Israel disappears. At least Jews in Israel are having kids. Great Britain belongs to history.

    Walter E. Wallis

    Disbar the association, send them off campus and file hate crime charges against them. Those goons are way past parliamentary processes.

    Walter E. Wallis

    Disbar the association, send them off campus and file hate crime charges against them. Those goons are way past parliamentary processes.


    Fretting over the details seems pointless to me. Maybe in the humanities you could make such a thing fly, but anyone familiar with scientific research understands that a) boycotting Technion, Hebrew U, Ben-Gurion and Hadassah will seriously inhibit the boycotters' productivity, b) the people there are well positioned to exact revenge in all sorts of ways and c) even the more anti-Israel professors are unlikely to put their principles ahead of their careers.

    The fact that this was passed at all is what counts, not any real impact that it will have.

    Mr. Michael

    Now wait... I'm not part of academia, so I don't understand the effect of this boycott. But if you boycott Israel, it's Universities and all of it's technology wouldn't that include such things as Intel based computers, telecommunications either created or billed by Amdocs, any generic drugs manufactured by Teva, any servers run on PHP (Zend), etc...?!?

    Deliberately cutting your University out of a section of World Knowledge is silly enough, but crippling your Student's futures by doing so would make your University system useless fairly quickly.

    Am I missing something here?


    It's hard to see how Jewish academics or students from any country could possibly spend time at UK universities. Ditto for the non-Jewish friends and colleagues of same.

    If Britain wants to become a bastion of anti-semitism and Islamism, good luck to you.

    Shlomo Silverstein

    If the professors were true to their convictions then they would chuck their new desktops and laptops with their new Intel Core Duos out the university windows now! ALL DESIGNED AND DEVELOPED IN ISRAEL!

    Dr. Irene Lancaster

    It wasn't just Brits who wanted to outsource the whole thing to Engage, but also academics here in Israel.

    I always felt that


    I think there's a law in the US saying that US companies are not allowed to work with countries/institutions which boycott Israel. If someone could get this law to be enforced it could make life somewhat difficult for UK universities. No Windows, no Macs...And those are just two examples.

    Prof Robert

    with friends like you, who needs enemies? hats off to engage and david hirsh in particular for expressing the voice of most british academics and leading the campaign against the boycott of israeli institutions sensibly and strongly. whose side are you on?


    I simply don’t understand how supposedly intelligent people, our UK academics, can boycott a country whose schools and colleges (Sderot) are being bombarded by the missiles? They might better to boycott countries that actively sponsor extremist groups posing as peaceful S.U. societies. Surely this will have a greater impact on oppressed peoples.


    Everybody I know at my university is going to ignore the boycott, passed or not. In fact, most have no idea what all the fuss is about. And, please Israelis, stop behaving as if you were still in the galut and desperate to be liked for your Intel computers and biotechnology. All anti-Semites deserve to hear from you is 'GET LOST'



    I'd like to believe you and Judy here like I said before but...

    Unfortunately it takes ONE tenured teenager in a position of power to enact a "boycott-of-one" and make it a "boycott-for-all" even if it's for a day (or an hour). At a previous address we had one person (on another petty issue not related to Israel) do a stunt on a drop-deadline day to get even with some people in another department to didn't push hard enough to make the world revolve around him. Heads were bashed but the short-term damage to collegiality bottomed out and the idiot STILL felt that this was a victory for him.

    In the past I've been calmer about these things, but I know what damage one person can do. In this case the pushers for this boycott have been smacked down again and again and they seem to keep coming up and, indeed, telling the quiet and disintrested majority to "get lost."


    "I think that since all these wonderful unions have passed all these wonderful motions, it's time to start a counter-boycott."

    That counter-boycott has already started:

    Research foundation blocks new grants for Britons

    "UK academic boycott of Israel prompts US-based Goldhirsh foundation to cancel plans to open grant application process for British research institutions. Immigration Minister Ze'ev Boim announces intention to propose counter-boycott"

    More here

    Leo Blasse

    The first thing the boycotters should do is throw away their notebook computers with all the Intel chips developed in whole @ Israeli facilities in Haifa and Ramat Gan.

    Fair is fair IMHO.


    Israel should boycott Britain. I'm sure the latter will suffer more because of the boycott.


    This is my reply to the article of Colin Green in The Guardian. His article is published underneath.

    what is really getting to me and makes me furious
    about the whole business is the boycotters voluntary
    blindness to what Israel has been submitted to by
    these nice Palestinians. I am talking here about
    suicide bombers, the killing of a mother and her
    four children, the other killings of Israeli civilians carried out in cold blood, the Hamas wish of making not only of the occupied or disputed territories an Islam country governed by the sharia, the kidnappings , the kassams... And then you get
    this bullshit as a reason for a boycot. I especially
    liked the shooting at schoolbusses carrying
    small kids! If this has really happened and if a child had been killed or wounded as a results all
    newpapers would have been full of it. Just
    remember the case of Mohammed al Dura , case that turned out to be an hoax. Also the writer forgot conveniently to mention that at the time
    of the six days war there was NO university at all
    on the West bank or in Gaza. All were build while
    Israel was occupying that territory.
    I am fed up with people who weep over the humiliation of a student who couldn't attend
    his own graduation ceremony and who sweep
    under the mat the kassams, the kidnappings,
    the killings in the name of Allah and scream loudly that Israel has to make place for another Arab state where muslims of course have to reign supreme.
    I am more than fed up with any boycot action
    on European soil initiated by Palestinians and
    sustained by very vocal groups of the extreme
    left and the extreme right and of course muslims
    who have found refuge here. All humans should be equal, right. May we ask the muslim groups
    and especially the Palestinians and especially the
    Arabs to see to it that this becomes reality in
    their countries before they ask it from any body
    else? Well, right now the Palestinians are too busy throwing each other from apartmentbuil-dings roofs , but the other muslim states should
    take it in serious consideration. All muslims living in the west should fight for that before
    they start meddling in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. It also should be noted that Israel never
    pronounced the wish to dump all Palestinians in
    the sea contrary to what the Arabs have been proclaiming.
    "This is Arab land," they tend to scream. How funny that here in Europe we have to absorb
    them and would be accused of racism if we started screaming: 'this is Europeans land and
    we have the right to throw you out just because
    you are of arabian origian and never converted to christianity.'

    The time is now

    Just as I campaigned for boycotts against apartheid in South Africa many years ago, now I shall do so against Israeli apartheid, says Colin Green

    Monday June 11, 2007

    The strong and hostile response from pro-Israeli groups, as well as the UK government fearful of offending Israel, to a recent motion carried by a two thirds majority at the University and College Union (UCU) congress is in marked contrast to the joyful response of Palestinians, which has been almost totally supportive.
    Perhaps the former have misunderstood that motion. After an open and very serious debate, one outcome upon which all agreed was that Israel is an oppressive state, illegally occupying territory for 40 years while ignoring numerous UN resolutions, international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    Disagreement centred entirely on what the trade union movement could or should do about it. More specifically, we discussed the role of academic boycotts, which to all academics is normally an anathema. Free exchange of ideas and debate, however fierce, is central to our life. However, after 40 years without resolution, many of us believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict is the epicentre of a global conflagration so dangerous for all of us that abnormal responses have become an urgent, indeed desperate, moral imperative.

    Even then, urgency notwithstanding, the motion passed was not calling for a boycott, but for a 12-month debate about an academic boycott. I suggest that that is in the best tradition of academic freedom and free speech. We will encourage Israeli academics to visit us, as indeed they did for weeks before the recent debate, and put their case for or against.

    There are, after all, many Israeli humanitarian organisations and many Israeli individuals who believe that boycotts, sanctions and disinvestment are the only non-violent ways to force Israel to escape its descent into a pariah and rogue state.

    In all this response to the UCU motion, or indeed the call for action against Israeli policies from the National Union of Journalists, architects, artists and doctors, the opinion of the Palestinians is little mentioned.

    As one in daily communication with them at all levels, from government ministers, university presidents, professors, teachers, doctors, nurses and many involved in further education, not least the students, I can assure you that they are overwhelmingly in favour of the call for a debate, preferring that to a straight call for a boycott without debate. At last they will have the opportunity to travel outside the occupied territories and describe to the world the almost complete lack of academic freedom they endure.

    Israeli apologists frequently quote the opinion against boycotts of a tiny handful of Palestinians, but these have no credibility whatsoever across campuses in the occupied territories.

    This motion was tabled because of a call of desperation from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as long ago as 2004. PACBI is not some fringe, lunatic or radical university group, but a confederation of more than 50 organisations from across Palestinian civil society. The boycott called for by PACBI and supported by the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), which tabled this motion, is institutional. We are not targeting individuals, in some McCarthyite programme, but organisations that have political aims and collude in the occupation, however loudly they protest their innocence.

    Since starting academic work in the occupied territories during the first intifada in 1987, I have travelled a trajectory of hope to near despair. From a naïve optimism for a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians 20 years ago, in which I welcomed with great enthusiasm Israeli postgraduates to my institute for specialist surgical training and research, I now refuse any collaboration with any Israeli university or research institution because of the violations of human rights I have seen over the past two decades and in which they collude.

    As in the past, I still work with Israeli humanitarian organisations genuinely seeking justice for the Palestinians. I am no longer prepared to stand idly by and not come out publicly against the level of oppression I have seen, including ethnic cleansing and the establishment of a brutal apartheid regime, a terrible injustice against the indigenous population of the occupied territories.

    What experiences can have brought about this revolution in attitude? In 1987, I was buoyed by the gentle, non-bigoted, optimistic attitude toward the Israelis of virtually all the Palestinians I met.

    Even in the face of the violence and killings in the first intifada carried out by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), they believed that reason and good will would prevail and the international community would come to their rescue. I was amazed how tolerant academics were toward their oppressors. None of them did, or could have, forecast the descent into hell which the Palestinians would endure in the next two decades, nor believe that a people who themselves had known such a hell could possibly descend to the level of barbarity we are now witnessing.

    Just as film documentary images of British soldiers opening the gates of Belsen in 1945 was a defining moment in my life, so the immediate aftermath of the Jenin massacre and the terror of overwhelming military force in the destruction of Rafah, in Gaza, which I have witnessed in recent years have had the most profound effect on my opinions. You have to see it for yourself. We cannot go on muttering platitudes about academic freedom and exchange of ideas. What freedom?

    In those two decades, the wretched suppression of academic freedom has been so obvious and overt that the wonder was that international academe did so little to stop it or even to comment on it.

    The list of restrictions is too long to detail. Examples include: the closure of Birzeit University for four years; refusal of entry to that and all other universities for teaching faculty and students on the whim of heavily armed Israeli teenagers in uniform at checkpoints; refusal to allow passage to medical students to their teaching hospitals; raiding of campuses in the middle of freezing winter nights forcing women undergraduates to stand for five or six hours outside in their nightdresses simply to humiliate them while their dormitories were ransacked; refusal to allow doctors to attend their clinics and teach students on the ludicrous claim that their ID cards (valid for the previous 15 years) were fake; refusal to allow UK academics entry to Ben-Gurion airport and forced return on the grounds they were engaged in subversive acts simply coming to be medical teachers.

    Then has been the refusal to allow a final-year student to attend his graduation ceremony and to add to his humiliation and torment by being forced at gunpoint to stand and watch the proceedings from only 400 metres away; refusal or long delays in granting exit permits for Palestinian research workers and teachers travelling abroad to conferences; the threat that if they travel overseas (especially if they have a Jerusalem ID) they may not be allowed back into their own homes again; endless restrictions on travel within the occupied territories so that attendance at lectures or important exams are a daily nightmare; the forced return of Gaza students "illegally" studying in the West Bank, some after seven years of separation from their families and in their final year of medical training; the deliberate shooting at school buses carrying six to 10-year-old children by Israeli snipers; recently, the kidnapping and imprisonment without charge of five senior university lecturers in Nablus; the killing of a young female medical student by CN gas. All of this I have witnessed at first hand.

    My outrage is not fuelled by bigotry or racism, but by what I have seen. I am consumed with anger that I have not come out of the closet many years ago to protest publicly the wickedness I knew full well was going on in the occupied territories.

    Without inquiring my opinion about China and Tibet, or Russia and Chechnya, or Darfur and Sudan, critics demand to know why I feel so strongly about Israel. First, it is what I know first hand, initially as sympathiser now bitter critic; second, because Israel does not even pretend to be part of the Orient, but is the one lingering outpost of European colonialism that participates in Euro song contests, football cups, preferential trade agreements, and EU and NATO research grants, and, therefore, has to carry the same human rights obligations and responsibilities we Europeans recently demanded of Serbia; and most important, the Levant has long been historically, and even more urgently so now, the epicentre of world conflict.

    Just as I campaigned for boycotts against apartheid in South Africa many years ago, now I shall do so against Israeli apartheid. I strongly support the motion carried by a two third majority by my trade union, the UCU. Now, at last, we can actually have a robust, honest and fearless debate and engage with all shades of opinion on the conflict.

    · Colin Green is professor of surgical science at the University of London


    "Ema", your rants are so full of error that I hardly know where to begin. The Romans reenmad Israel after conquering it in war -- so what? They then sent the Jews into exile and now the Jews are back, and it is a good thing. The misplaced Arabs living in the Gaza strip have no homeland and deserve none -- they can return to the huge territories controlled by the barbarian Muslims. Their only desire to live in Israel is to destroy it.Don't tell me what I want to "impose;" I want to PREVENT the bigoted Muslims from destroying a nation and a people based on their hateful ideology. Giving the Muslims more territory in Israel will not bring peace, as the Muslims have no desire and no plan for peace; they were commanded by their false prophet to prevent any other religions in the Arabian Peninsula. Islam is the only religion that officially practices Jew hatred and Jewish genocide. The choice the Israelis have is to fight or die; those are their only two choices (dhimmitude, or Muslim slavery, would not count as a choice). Since you support, directly or indirectly, Israeli genocide, it is you who are clearly on the side of evil. Does your silly little signature (~@:o) indicate someone wearing a turban? You are a Muslim aren't you?I stand not against America but with over 70% of all Americans in my support of Israel, and against the anti-American, anti-Israel Marxist who now occupies the White House.


    Ema, I know you live in fantasy land, being a libaerl and all, but the only course of action that will work for Israel is to have defensible borders. The surrounding Muslims will never accept Israel nor give up their desire to overrun Israel and kill or subjugate all of the Jews. All pretended concessions that the Muslims may presently accept are merely stratagems towards that end. They can never be trusted -- ever hear of "taquiya"? No, it's not Mexican booze with a worm in the bottle.Barack Obama is a complete fool and couldn't care less if the Israelis survive or not. You see, Islam, like libaerlism, is a form of madness; in the former case, a form of homicidal lunacy.


    A good post! It would be interesting to view the resonpse from the Governors and management on this. It is easy to overlook the sacrifices lecturers and staff are making by taking strike action in the current economic climate and I feel the resonpse from on-high would speak volumes about their intentions on the matters at hand these actions are as much about respect (or lack thereof) as they are about everything else.

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