‘Early-warn­ing sys­tem’ for boy­cotts launched

The Jewish Chronicle - - HOME NEWS - BY BERNARD JOSEPHS

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.

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