Fair Play lead­ers plan their strat­egy

Anti-boy­cott cam­paign­ers meet aca­demics from Is­raeli univer­si­ties

The Jewish Chronicle - - Home News - JC RE­PORTER

REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIVES OF the newly launched Fair Play Cam­paign Group, an off­shoot of the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, have met the heads of Is­raeli univer­si­ties to co-or­di­nate re­sponses to any fu­ture aca­demic boy­cott of Is­rael.

Co-chairs Henry Grun­wald QC, pres­i­dent of the Board of Deputies and Brian Kerner, from the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, met se­nior of­fi­cials and aca­demics from Is­raeli univer­si­ties to­gether with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of other Jewish com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and trade unions.

Par­tic­i­pants in­cluded Me­nachem Magi­dor, Pres­i­dent of the He­brew Univer­sity, Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Ryn­hold, ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Ad­vi­sory Board for Aca­demic Free­dom, and Jeremy New­mark, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil.

Mr Grun­wald and Mr Kerner stressed the im­por­tance of pre­par­ing for this year’s con­fer­ence of the newly merged UCU, the union of aca­demic lec­tur­ers, where it is likely that a boy­cott mo­tion will be pro­posed. Each Is­raeli univer­sity agreed to ap­point a key per­son to be re­spon­si­ble for deal­ing with pro­posed aca­demic boy­cotts.

Th­ese peo­ple will co-or­di­nate with the UK groups. It was also agreed that there would be an ef­fort to in­crease the num­ber of se­nior Is­raeli aca­demics visit­ing the UK dur­ing 2007. The group was launched in the face of ef­forts by pro-Pales­tinian groups to per­suade pro­fes­sional bod­ies in Bri­tain to cut ties with Is­rael.

It will act as an early warn­ing sys­tem and, ac­cord­ing to Board of Deputies chief ex­ec­u­tive Jon Ben­jamin, al­low them “to prop­erly mar­shall our re­sponses”.

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