Will Norwegian universities force their employees to boycott Israel?

If “the Board of Governors of the University of Trondheim and University College of Sør-Trøndelag [were] to declare at their upcoming meeting that Israeli universities and academic institutions cannot be normal partners of any self-respecting Norwegian institution”, they would be committing an act of discrimination against fellow academics on grounds of nationality, without any prospect of affecting the conflict. As employers, they would be intervening in the scholarly work of their employees. I wonder what a trade union would make of that.

Sue Blackwell was the inspiration, it turns out. Israel unites employers and trade unionists – how beautiful is that?

Seriously though, surely these board members will throw it out. Unless, of course, they’re convinced otherwise by an Israeli academic lecturer, most recent of an series of boycotting lecturers, who will visit the institution a couple of days prior to the vote to discuss Israel’s use of antisemitism as a political tool.

(When wasn’t antisemitism a political tool?)

There’s a petition against the boycott from Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

If Trondheim’s Rector is building opposition to the boycott on the board, it’s not public.

A piece in the Jerusalem Post.

Here’s some typical support for the boycott containing many inadvertent ironies and ending paradoxically with a call for “freedom from fear”.

Meanwhile OneVoice is starting its universities tour – more on Facebook. These events are very good because in my experience you get to see how principled peace-makers – peacemakers who are out to build something – take the trouble to respond to boycotters (among other polarising tendencies) with patient but firm refutation, for the sake of peace in their own homelands.

  • EXETER! Monday, 9th November, Queens Building Lecture Theatre 2, 6.30pm
  • SOUTHAMPTON! Tuesday, 10th November, Nightingale Lecture Theatre, 6pm
  • MANCHESTER! Wednesday, 11th November, Student Union Common Room/Club Academy, 1pm
  • BIRMINGHAM! Thursday, 12th November, The Arts Building, 5pm
  • SURREY! Monday, 16th November, School of Management Main Lecture Theatre, 5.15pm
  • LONDON! (LSE, UCL, SOAS, KING’S COLLEGE) Tuesday, 17th November, University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY, 5pm
  • OXFORD! Wednesday, 18th November, Catholic Chaplaincy, 8pm
  • GLASGOW! Thursday, 19th November, the Debates Chamber, 6pm

Update: Should have said at the time: this is typical of what anti-Israel boycott campaigns are like – Jews under scrutiny.

Update 2: Another Observer, in the comments below, says:

“The old SUS laws (stop and serach) were universal (i.e. they applied to everyone), but, when examined in practice, was only being used by the Police against the Black population. In other words, whilst all the population of the UK could have been pulled under the laws, the vast, vast, majority of those affected were Black, In that instance, as in the case of the boycott, that “something more” was and is racism. As such, it was part of the anti-racist agenda to end the SUS laws on the gorunds of their racist application (as well as the general abuse of civil liberties).

Nowadays, of course, many, but not all, of the anti-racists openly support what is, in effect, and in practice, a policy of racist exclusion against Jews.”

Update 3: Ben Cohen at Z-Word blog has examined the Trondheim boycott campaign in more detail. At Harry’s Place Gene reminds us: “Trondheim, the city where the NTNU is located, is in the county of Sør-Trøndelag. The county council voted in 2005 to boycott Israel.”

EXETER! Monday, 9th November, Queens Building Lecture Theatre 2, 6.30pm

SOUTHAMPTON! Tuesday, 10th November, Nightingale Lecture Theatre, 6pm

MANCHESTER! Wednesday, 11th November, Student Union Common Room/Club Academy, 1pm

BIRMINGHAM! Thursday, 12th November, The Arts Building, 5pm

SURREY! Monday, 16th November, School of Management Main Lecture Theatre, 5.15pm

LONDON! (LSE, UCL, SOAS, KING’S COLLEGE) Tuesday, 17th November, University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY, 5pm

OXFORD! Wednesday, 18th November, Catholic Chaplaincy, 8pm

GLASGOW! Thursday, 19th November, the Debates Chamber, 6pm