For anybody in the Manchester area.

Opponents of the boycott may like to know that Bricup will be holding the following meeting in Manchester.

Monday 7th December, 7pm
Lecture Theatre A, University Place,
University of Manchester, Oxford Road.


Ronnie Kasrils
former minister in Nelson Mandela’s ANC government and
anti-Apartheid activist

Bongani Masuku (International Secretary) / George Mahlangu
 (Campaigns Coordinator) Cosatu – the South African trade union federation

Omar Barghouti
Palestinian Campaign for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Chair: Tom Hickey
National Executive Committee of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) and BRICUP

15 Responses to “For anybody in the Manchester area.”

  1. James Mendelsohn Says:

    Folks, that’s THAT Tom Hickey just in case anyone was in doubt

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      And the same person who wrote the following (full refeence in the extract) when “debating” the question of a boycott of Israeli universities in the pages of the online version of the British Medical Journal, 27 July, 2007, (in response to a self-posed question, why boycott Israeli and only Israeli universities): “And we are speaking of a culture, both in Israel and in the long history of the Jewish diaspora, in which education and scholarship are held in high regard. That is why an academic boycott might have a desirable political effect in Israel, an effect that might not be expected elsewhere.” Now, it is true that Jews, generally speaking, venerate formal education. But so do vast swathes of the rest of humanity: not many parents declare, hand on heart, that they wish their and everyone else’s children to be ignorant, or at least no better educated than themselves and others like them.

      But what is notable here is that Israel and Jews are conflated as though they are one (which is, in itself, an antisemitic attitude), and there is an unstated assumption that no other regimes which might conceivably upset Hickey and his fellow believers care anything like as much (if at all) about education as Israelis and Jews (so much for the Chinese, Saudis, Syrians, etc). This latter is, arguably, a racist assertion.

      Has Hickey anywhere stated that the conclusions drawn (and they are hardly mine alone) are incorrect? Has he attempted any sort of refutation of the antisemitic and racist conclusions drawn above? Or does he just not care what anybody but his own immediate circle care?

      If the last, how does he expect to win over any sort of majority? Or perhaps he’s playing a different game and marching to a drum that only he can hear.

      • James Mendelsohn Says:

        “If the last, how does he expect to win over any sort of majority?”

        That’s easy Brian, it’s because Hickey and his SWP cronies exert an influence on UCU out of all proportion to their numbers, and are therefore consistently able to lead the union into policies which are against the union’s better interests, but which are ostensibly in the interests of a political entity in the Middle East. Such is the power of this small but virulent cabal at the heart of UCU that all dissent has been suppressed – some dissenters have been banned from the UCU email list and some have felt forced to resign. All in all their tactics are a bit like those of the evil …. oh, never mind.

    • Bill Says:

      I’m much more interested in his freudian slip to the editor of the BMJ! Smoking gun meet the RRA.

  2. Michael Says:

    Does this mean Omar Barghouti is taking time out from his postgraduate studies at TEL AVIV University to visit England? According to his logic, he should be boycotted as an Israeli academic.

  3. Lynne T Says:

    Funny that they aren’t inviting people from the Palestinian trade union to speak to the boycott.

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    I was at a conference today honouring the late Peter Townsend (sociologists and social policy academics and practitioners will know who he was) when one of the speakers, Prof Allyson Pollock of Edinburgh (presumably of Social Policy or Health Studies) warned that university bosses are seeking to undo the employment protection measures won in the House of Lords in the late 1980s for University staff.

    If true, what the hell are UCU leaders doing with spending time on boycotts of non-UK academics and their institutions when, if they’re not careful, they won’t have jobs themselves (not that they’d be much loss)?

    Or do they really not care what happens to the membership? Clearly, they’re out to elect another membership (to paraphrase Brecht on East Germany in 1953), one that will just keep paying their salaries (if employees of the union) or their expenses (if elected) and providing them with a convenient soapbox for their utterly irrelevant, non-pay-and-conditions policies.

    Hopefully, by the time my granchildren get to be of college age, this might have sorted itself out. But I’m not holding my breath.

  5. David Schraub Says:

    It’s also that Bongani “convey a message to the Jews in [South Africa]” Masuku. See also here.

  6. Inna Says:

    The point about Barghouti is well-taken but as has been widely announced in this state (and is mentioned on the Green Prophets blog) the Governor of California has made it a point of going to Israel to establish better relations. Why? To get more good-paying jobs in California. The idea is to have Israelis invest in California green technology firms which will lead to more and better jobs.

    Which begs the question: Is UK’s economy so robust that you lot can afford to boycott Israel?



  7. Harry Goldstein Says:

    The London equivalent is on Friday 4th December, at SOAS.

    When it was advertised on the UCU activists’ forum I responded with a suggestion that it would be a good opportunity to ask Omar Barghouti how his studies at Tel Aviv University were going. Mike Cushman responded, angrily professing himself ‘at a loss’ to see the relevance of Barghouti’s place of study. Clearly these people have no sense of irony.

    I also queried whether the Friday evening timing was chosen in an attempt to minimise the number of hostile attendees. But I was assured that it was the only time these ’eminent people’ (not my words) could make it.

  8. Inna Says:

    “Mike Cushman responded, angrily professing himself ‘at a loss’ to see the relevance of Barghouti’s place of study.”

    I would have though the relevance is plain enough: Barghouti may be considered an Israeli–albeit not a Jewish-Israeli–academic. As such, should he not be boycotted by those calling for a boycott of Israeli academics?



  9. Susan Says:

    No, Bangoni Masuku doesn’t hate Jews. He only hates the 98% of Jews that are Zionists.

  10. Bill Says:

    ” Mike Cushman responded, angrily professing himself ‘at a loss’ to see the relevance of Barghouti’s place of study. Clearly these people have no sense of irony.”

    “You’re changing the subject,” a certain Harvard president once said… we’re not talking about boycotting Barghouti. We’re talking about boycotting Jews.

  11. Jim Denham Says:

    Comrades intending to attend the meeting may be interested in reading Omar Barghouti’s views, described (approvingly) by one Edward Plattin the New Statesman of 16 November:

    Note, in particlar, his welcome for the Jerusalem Light Railway (JLR), using arguments that, logically, should lead him to also welcome illegal settlements:

    “Barghouti opposes the colonisation of Palestinian land represented by projects like the JLR, yet he is glad that it is rendering a two-state solution practically impossible. ‘For over 25 years, I’ve supported the unitary, secular, democratic solution for historic Palestine, because I regard it as the most ethical solution to all involved. It reconciles the inalienable rights of the indiginous Palestinian Arabs with the acquired rights of Jewish Israelis,’ he says.”

  12. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    One need read no further than the following in Plattin’s article:

    “On 4 November, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said what is supposedly the unsayable – that unless settlement expansion stops, Palestinians may have to abandon the goal of an independent state.”

    to see where he is coming from (and going to). This is so unsayable that American Presidents say it constantly, articles on Engage say it constantly, and neither are gainsaid by anyone outside the settlement movement in Israel and their far-right supporters eksewhere. One assumes that Plattin is signed up a devout supporter of Walt and Mearsheimer.

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