Boy­cotters win new mo­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY LEON SY­MONS

THE NEXT time an Is­raeli aca­demic an­swers the phone and hears an English voice, there may be a dif­fer­ent type of lec­ture in store.

“What are you do­ing to help Pales­tinian aca­demics and univer­si­ties? What ac­tion have you taken to protest about the oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tinian land? Have you served in the Is­rael Defence Force?”

This is the sort of grilling that Is­rael’s lec­tur­ers may face af­ter the Univer­sity and Col­lege Union voted through a mo­tion on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. It did not con­tain the word “boy­cott”, but crit­ics claim that the ef­fect could be sim­i­lar.

The res­o­lu­tion con­tains a ref­er­ence to the “per­sonal tes­ti­monies” of mem­bers of Bri­tish and Pales­tinian aca­demic del­e­ga­tions which “will be used to pro­mote a wide dis­cus­sion by col­leagues of the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of con­tin­ued ed­u­ca­tional links with Is­raeli aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions”. “Put that, to­gether with the part that talks about aca­demics be­ing asked ‘ to con­sider the moral and po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions of ed­u­ca­tional links with Is­raeli in­sti­tu­tions’, and you have the rea­son that we are call­ing this a boy­cott res­o­lu­tion,” said Jeremy New­mark, co-chair of the Stop The Boy­cott cam­paign.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the res­o­lu­tion de­bate, the anti-boy­cott group En­gage held a fringe meet­ing where a num­ber of Jewish aca­demics are un­der­stood to have told three UCU na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers that they were ready to re­sign.

The next two weeks are likely to be sig­nif­i­cant for both pro- and an­ti­boy­cotters. The first meet­ing of the UCU na­tional ex­ec­u­tive is due in two weeks, when new mem­bers, in­clud­ing En­gage chair­man Jon Pike, will be on board. The meet­ing will test the met­tle of those in favour.

The anti-boy­cotters, sea­soned by last year’s cam­paign, have al­ready got their cam­paign un­der way and will be look­ing to rally as much sup­port as pos­si­ble from across the aca­demic world.

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