‘Early-warning system’ for boycotts launched
AN EARLY-WARNING system to encourage a swift response to “boycott Israel” campaigns has been founded by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.
Launched in the face of efforts by pro-Palestinian groups to persuade British professional bodies to cut ties with Israel, the aim will be to provide an effective communal response. Board chief executive Jon Benjamin, who, along with Jeremy Newmark of the JLC, will manage the campaign, told the JC: “Boycott campaigns can bubble up anywhere. They have appeared among academics, architects and medics. We believe it is important to deploy good arguments and to state Israel’s case. When we do this, boycott campaigns often founder.”
An early response to boycott calls was essential, said Mr Benjamin.
The body, called the Fair Play Campaign Group, would “flag up an early-warning system so that we can properly marshall our responses.” The group is chaired by Board president Henry Grunwald and Brian Kerner of the JLC.
One of the first tasks facing the new system will be how to deal with anticipated calls for a renewed academic boycott of Israel when the newly merged lecturers’ union, UCU, meets in May.