Latest Call For Academic Boycott of Israel a 'Cynical And Perverse Violation'
Update: In December 2008, the UCU made public its decision to alter the resolution and omit language mentioning a boycott. The UCU said it would instead call for twinning of British universities with those in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Zimbabwe and Burma. According to anti-boycott activists, the UCU decision followed advice from the union's lawyers that any mention of boycott would violate British law. A similar determination was made in September 2007.
New York, NY, May 28, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) denounced a vote by Britain's main academic union to reintroduce a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions, calling it "a cynical and perverse violation of academic freedom and anti-discrimination principles."
At its annual conference in Manchester, the University and Colleges Union (UCU) passed a resolution calling on union members to "consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
This reintroduction of the call for an academic boycott of Israel by the UCU is a cynical and perverse violation of academic freedom and anti-discrimination principles. Four years after the first such academic boycott resolution, it is clear the UCU's anti-Israel activists remain as determined as ever to demonize everything and everyone Israeli, while shunning constructive measures to promote Israeli-Palestinian academic partnerships.
This vote may earn these activists public relations points, but it worsens the already-sullied reputation of the UCU and British academia.
The new UCU resolution notes the "humanitarian catastrophe imposed on Gaza by Israel and the EU" and "the apparent complicity of most of the Israeli academy." It fails to mention Palestinian terrorism, daily rocket attacks against Israeli cities, or Hamas' restrictions on religious and educational freedoms.
The UCU previously passed two resolutions targeting Israeli academics in May 2007, before announcing several months later that legal counsel had advised that an academic boycott of Israel "would be unlawful and cannot be implemented."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.