UPDATE I emailed Sean Wallis and invited him to respond. Specifically I invited him to answer the two questions below. He answered saying that he refuses to explain. He refuses to explain how “bank balances from Lehman Brothers that can’t be tracked down” can be legitimately connected to anti-boycott lawyers. He refuses to explain what he was actually trying to say. DH
A meeting of 60 members of the UCL UCU branch has unanimously voted to back its branch secretary Sean Wallis.
At the pro-boycott fringe meeting at UCU Congress last week, Wallis claimed that a threat to union democracy comes from anti-boycott lawyers backed by those with “bank balances from Lehman Brothers that can’t be tracked down.”
Sean Wallis has not denied having connected “bank balances from Lehman Brothers that can’t be tracked down” to anti-boycott lawyers representing members of the UCU.
How can this connection be explained in a way which is not antisemitic?
What was the point that Sean Wallis was trying to make?
RESOLUTION: DEFEND UCU BRANCH SECRETARY SEAN WALLIS
UCL UCU notes
1. That a report has appeared in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz alleging anti-semitism in comments made by UCL UCU branch secretary, Sean Wallis, in a personal capacity, at a fringe meeting at UCU Congress 2009.
2. That UCU delegates voted en bloc in line with branch policy at UCU Congress, including in relation to our position on any putative Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions.
3. That unfounded allegations have the potential to intimidate and damage this union and its members.
UCL UCU believes
1. That anti-semitism, clearly defined as racism against Jews, must be opposed in exactly the same terms as any other racist ideology, namely, on the basis that an injury to one is an injury to all.
2. That trade union and academic freedom entails the right of members to adopt contrary positions, and to debate international issues on their merits, free from threat of legal action or libel.
3. That this particular allegation of anti-semitism is without foundation.
UCL UCU affirms that Sean Wallis has an impeccable reputation not just as a trade union activist and democrat but also as a consistent opponent of racism in all of its forms, including opposition to anti-semitism.
UCL UCU resolves
1. To stand by our branch secretary and against any witch-hunt of him.
2. To call on the National Executive Committee of UCU publicly to register its support for this union officer in all relevant publications, and to condemn the unfounded campaign being waged against him.