UCU publishes the boycott motion but with a legal disclaimer

logoIt seems that what happened is that the trustees were persuaded at the last minute not to go to court, perhaps in exchange for this bizare legal disclaimer which has been tagged onto the motion, which has now been published.

It says that if Congress passes a motion to support the boycott of Israel then the union will “treat it as being void and of no effect”.

Motion 29: The union received advice from Leading Counsel that to pass this motion would be unlawful because it is likely to be viewed by a court as a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The union has previously followed advice from Leading Counsel that such a call would be outside the powers of the union to make. If the motion is amended to remove the affirmation of support for the Palestine call for a boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign, Leading Counsel has advised the union may lawfully pass this motion. If the motion is passed in its unamended form the President has been advised that she will have to treat it as being void and of no effect.

29 ��� Composite (University of Brighton Grand Parade, College of North East London, University of East London)

Congress notes:

�          targeting by Israel of civilians, homes, hospitals, UN facilities, university and school buildings to overthrow a democratically elected government;

�          blockade of medicine, food, fuel, trade and education of Gaza, and continued occupation and settlement of the West Bank;

�          complicity of Israeli educational institutions in colonisation and military preparation;

�          student occupations globally demanding justice and solidarity.

Congress believes:

�         a solution is impossible until Israel dismantles illegal settlements, withdraws to 1967 borders, and negotiates with Hamas;

�         international pressure is necessary to force Israel to abide by international law.

Congress affirms support for the Palestinian call for a boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign.

Congress resolves to:

�         intensify solidarity and renew urgently its call to members to reflect on the moral and political appropriateness of collaboration with Israeli educational institutions;

�         Support those Israelis who refuse to collaborate with Israel�s war against Palestinians

�         Demand that the British Government condemn Israeli aggression and ban arms sales to Israel

�         host an Autumn international, inter-union conference of BDS supporters to investigate implementation of the strategy, including an option of institutional boycotts.

8 Responses to “UCU publishes the boycott motion but with a legal disclaimer”

  1. john Strawson Says:

    I do wonder if there might be an emergency resolution on the events taking place currently in Sri Lanka and Pakistan?

  2. 701 Says:

    The hacks and hick(eys) of UCU are going to pass the motion boycott and all.

    They will then spin it out how the courts and the legal advice (and they will note that “Zionists” were the ones who initially sought the advice) is defeating the “democratic” voice of the Union.

    What they will not tell you, of course is that whenever the boycott motion has been considered by the general body of UCU it was rejected by a vast majority; nor the fact that no branch has ever managed to carry a boycott motion.

    Before long it will take on the rhetoric a “brave resisitance” against the omnipotent “power” of the “Israel Lobby”. (After all, this is how the SWP explained it before).

    The UCUleft/swp are now after their “pound of flesh”………and they are determined to get it and screw my union if it gets in their way.

  3. Absolute Observer Says:

    I wonder that too……………………..
    I also note that the stwc does not consider the “bloodbath” (UN) in Sri Lanka a “war” they want to stop.

    Or, could it be, in the headlines of “Socialist Unity” that,


    (for which he later “apologised” by saying, that of course he did not mean “all” Zionists but only “some”; just as others present the not “all” Jews kill babies for Pesach, only “some” kind of apology.

    You see, if you are a “Zionist” it is evident that one cannot feel for others (including, of course, the Palestinians); but instead are limited to ritually repeating that “we kill far more of them”.

    Oh, and where are all our “Jewish moralists” beating their breasts about how, after all “our” suffering, we say nothing? Or, does “Jewish morality” only apply to Jewish actors? You know the racist tinged argument that Jews are better than others?

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    This is a wonderful, almost perfect, example of bringing to life the metaphor of having one’s cake and eating it. First, the union acknowledges, if back-handedly, the legal advice it commissioned, by posting what David H. rightly calls a “bizare legal disclaimer which has been tagged onto the motion, which has now been published. [The disclaimer] says that if Congress passes a motion to support the boycott of Israel then the union will “treat it as being void and of no effect”.”

    The guts of the motion, after all the verbiage and misstatements (such the complicity of Israeli universities and faculty in the Israeli war effort – how guilty does that make SWP etc faculty in the UK in the UK’s war effort? why are you still working for Brighton University, Tom Hickey?) is
    “Congress affirms support for the Palestinian call for a boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign.”

    However, I guess that the President will also have “to treat…as void and of no effect” the following:
    “Congress resolves to:
    � intensify solidarity and renew urgently its call to members to reflect on the moral and political appropriateness of collaboration with Israeli educational institutions;”

    After all, as worded, this calls on UCU members to boycott Israel on an individual basis, also arguably illegal and certainly dangerous, as more than individual has already discovered to their cost. And the union treads on dangerous ground if it encourages members to break the law. Will it fund the legal costs of such members? And if so, will this funding be ultra vires, given the comments above and the legal advice?

    In summary, we have the ludicrous situation of the Union Executive saying if you (Congress) pass this motion, we will have to treat is as void and of no effect, but rather than be sensible and just delete the motion, we’re going to leave it on the table so that we purists can once again say “we wuz robbed” – and I thought only fanatical sports fans did that.

    We already have evidence that UCU has taken both eyes off the ball as far as the normal macro concerns of unions are concerned, in terms of national salaries and conditions. There is increasing evidence that this is happening at the micro level. Re my professional association, there was a correspondence in the latest newsletter about the threatened closure of a significant School/Faculty in a west Midlands university, and some members were asking why the professional association couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about it.

    It didn’t appear to anyone that “doing something” about this is the job of a trade union, and if it isn’t, then it’s up to the members to _make_ the union do something, and/or change the elected personnel concerned. My letter on this point may or may not be published in due course.

    A prof. association, registered as a charity _cannot_ get involved in the area of industrial relations (let alone politics on a wider scale) without risking its funds. Equally, a trade union can’t risk _not_ getting involved without risking _its_ funds and future. As I’ve noted elsewhere in these pages, the management vulturtes are already circling over the body of academe.

  5. Inna Says:


    Good to know you haven’t lost your sense of humor.



  6. Vinod Moonesinghe Says:

    There is a profound difference between Sri Lanka and Israel. In the former, there was no ethnic cleansing of an existing population, as was carried out by the Zionists in Palestine. It is true that initially, in 1977-83, the regime of JR Jayawardene carried out pogroms against Tamils. This was overlooked by the West because (a) he was a good ally of the West (popularly known as ‘Yankee Dickie) and (b) He was opening the back door to diplomatic relations with Israel, broken off after the 1967 War.
    JR Jayawardene also began the practice of buying arms from Israel, most of which proved defective and had to be replaced with Russian and Chinese weapons. The Israelis were involved in training both the government forces and the terrorist LTTE; the LTTE in particular became proficient in methods of ethnic cleansing.

  7. David T Says:

    haha! It is an all purpose conspiracy theory

    Frankly, this could be a post by the son of some mad old English trot:


    Or – more probably – it will be Bob Pitt, pretending to be this person. Again.

  8. Boycott The Planets. « ModernityBlog Says:

    […] by modernityblog on September 17, 2009 5:01 pm Not known for their love of all things Israeli, some pro-boycotters might want to ignore, forget or even destroy their pet telescopes as Israelis have discovered a new […]

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