Thursday, May 11, 2006

British University Union Considers Boycott of Israel

Jon Pike of Engage is reporting:
The union that covers staff in the newer universities is to consider a further resolution on boycotting Israeli universities at its conference in Blackpool later this month.

The text of resolution before NATFHE reads, in part:
Conference notes continuing Israeli apartheid policies, including construction of the exclusion wall, and discriminatory educational practices. It recalls its motion of solidarity last year for the AUT resolution to exercise moral and professional responsibility.

Mr. Pike goes on to say:
198C is inaccurate, dishonest, and in conflict with NATFHE's constitution. Let's take the central point first. 198C seeks NATFHE endorsement for a private or individual boycott of Israeli academia. It doesn't say which universities, so we must presume that it refers to all the universities in Israel. It does so, disingenuously, because it couches the boycott call in terms of individual responsibility, but the foul discriminatory language is there: it asks that people consider their responsibility (in relation to) "contacts with Israeli individuals".


Let's be stone cold clear about this: what the proposers of this resolution want is union endorsement for actions that are, in effect, anti-Semitic. They aim to endorse the actions of Mona Baker, who sacked members of the editorial board of her journal because they were affiliated to Israeli Universities. We know that Mona Baker's policy is, in effect, anti-Semitic: she doesn't want to have contact with any individuals who are affiliated with Israeli institutions, and those people will largely be Jews. And we know, of course, that Mona Baker thinks these actions are 'appropriate' (and, when criticised, complains bitterly about the Jewish press). We know, too that concerned supporters of Palestinian rights like Prof. Judith Butler clearly distance themselves from Baker. Yet the South East region of Natfhe want their union to endorse Baker-type actions.

Please read Mr. Pike's complete piece here. A vote on the resolution will be held later this month.

Mona Baker is one of the academics in the U.K. cited by Dr. Alan Dershowitz in his book The Case For Peace as part of a campaign to villify Israel in academia and create a generation of leaders utterly opposed to the Jewish state. I described this in my post Poisoning The Well last month. Here Israeli academia is possibly faced with yet more tangible results of the bias against her in British and American academia.

Oh, and if anyone actually believes Israel somehow practices anything even vaguely resembling apartheid, I refer you to this piece I wrote last year and the excellent New York Times article on the security fence it refers to.

Huges thanks to Yael K. for the link to Mr. Pike's post. I've also posted this on Blogs of Zion as it seems that the mainstream British and American press aren't about to report on this. Perhaps if we get the word out far and wide they will have to take notice.

Technorati Tags:

No comments: