Press release from Academic Friends of Israel

 

The Academic Friends of Israel

            Press Release

For immediate release 29 May 2011

The Academic Friends of Israel condemns the University College Union for passing an illegal resolution that promotes the academic and cultural boycott of Israel

The Academic Friends of Israel condemns the University College Union for passing a resolution today at its conference in Harrogate which ignores the legal advice that the UCU received in 2007 which made it clear that distributing and promoting a call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel is in breach of discrimination and equality legislation and also outside the aims and objects of the union.

Ronnie Fraser, Director of the Academic Friends of Israel, commented:

“If UCU distributes copies of the Palestinian boycott call to its members or promotes the call with Education International or its affiliates it is effectively asking them to participate in the boycott. As well as being in breach of the 2010 Equality act; their actions would also be outside the aims and objects of the union.

The rhetoric used against Israel in the debate today was totally unacceptable such as Israel is an authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist state.  The motion also contains a relentless attack on the Jewish state and follows similar motions that have been adopted at UCU conferences over the last five years.  No other state in the world has been singled out for attack in this way. There might be some justification for such an attack if the facts alleged in the preamble were true.  In fact almost everything stated is a falsehood , Moreover, any state has the right to penalise those involved in economic boycotts against it, and the implied condemnation of Israel for doing so, or for considering such action, is the application of double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

He continued:

“I recognise of course that many of these issues are open to debate and discussion and that legitimate criticism of Israel is acceptable.  But the recitation of a long list of allegations against Israel, and Israel alone, without any recognition that Palestinians might bear any guilt or responsibility for the current impasse, or for their own crimes against Israelis, is one-sided and antisemitic.”

END

For further details, please contact Ronnie Fraser, Director of The Academic Friends of Israel, via email (mail@academics-for-israel.org).

 

The Academic Friends of Israel

            Press Release

Appendix: UCU motion 36        

Composite: Threats to academic freedom in Israel and Palestine                  National Executive Committee, LSE

Congress notes:

  1. Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and daily oppression of Palestinian teachers and students
  2. the restrictions on the free movement of Palestinian Academics within the Occupied Territories and crossing between the Territories and Israel and on foreign travel
  3. Israel’s ongoing construction of settlements
  4. the current witch-hunting of Israeli academics, civil rights campaigners and NGOs who are deemed to be damaging Israel’s economic interests by their political activities
  5. the recent alarming moves in the Israeli Knesset to penalise Israeli academics who support boycott action or even just provide information which may assist boycotts; this law will lay academics open to fines of £5000 with ‘no need to demonstrate that injury was done’ and to unlimited damages if losses are caused.
  6. the petition from 155 Israeli academics expressing their “unwillingness to take part in any type of academic activity taking place in the college operating in the settlement of Ariel”, calling Ariel an illegal settlement whose existence contravenes international law and the Geneva Convention.

Congress deplores these attacks on the academic freedom of our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues.

Congress instructs NEC to:

  1. circulate to all members
  • the call by the Israeli academics
  • the PACBI call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel
  • information about the current legislation passing through the Knesset threatening heavy fines and other penalties on Israelis taking non-violent action against the occupation.
  1. seek a delegation to meet the Israeli Ambassador to raise our concerns
  2. press the Foreign Office to protest to the Israeli Government
  3. raise the issue with Education International and press them to seek similar action by all affiliates
  4. publicise these threats and our actions in response.

7 Responses to “Press release from Academic Friends of Israel”

  1. comment is not free Says:

    As Mike Cushman speaks these words
    “Israel is an authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist state”
    here is the news from other “sovereign states” that are not subject to even a consideration of “special treatment”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13588924

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13547933

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13459803

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/26/youtube-saudi-woman-driver-jail

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2011/may/27/black-professor-shortage-failure-to-nurture-talent

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/06/05/us-prison-numbers-hit-new-high

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China

    http://www.hrw.org/americas/venezuela

    “Universal Periodic Review of Venezuela
    President Hugo Chávez and his supporters have effectively neutralized the independence of Venezuela’s judiciary. In the absence of a judicial check on its actions, the Chávez government has systematically undermined freedom of expression and the ability of human rights groups to promote basic rights. It has also prosecuted government critics.”

    http://www.iranhumanrights.org/

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/11491

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/19/hungary-new-constitution-enshrines-discrimination

    The list could go on.

    But, for UCU – the real problem, the real “fascist”, the real “authoritarian”, the real “totalitarian state”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/judge-prevents-closure-of-jaffa-s-arab-democratic-school-1.146370

    Really?

  2. Evan Carden Says:

    They’re attempting to solve the problem of:

    “the current witch-hunting of Israeli academics, civil rights campaigners and NGOs who are deemed to be damaging Israel’s economic interests by their political activities”

    By circulating:

    “the PACBI call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel”

    Isn’t this a little bit contradictory? They’re being harrassed, let’s boycott them! That’ll help.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      “They’re being harrassed, let’s boycott them! That’ll help.”

      Well, it makes perfect sense from a certain point of view – after all, a bullet through the skull is a quick and super-effective cure for a headache, isn’t it?

      As for Israel being “fascist”, “totalitarian” etc., I think we all know by know that these words, to the far left, are just alternative terms for “deviationist”, or, to use to old-fashioned term, “heretic”. A fascist is anyone that they disagree with, whereas people who fit the description of “fascist”, “Nazi” or “totalitarian” more accurately are often defined as “progressives” or similar.

  3. ilan Samson Says:

    anti-Semitism always has an extra vile edge when clad in the stench of the British hallmarks of haughtiness and hypocrisy

  4. Political theorist Says:

    As Mike Cushman speaks these words
    “Israel is an authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist state”

    He’s not a specialist in political theory then.

  5. Geist Says:

    Considering Cushman is so ridiculously over the top in his depcition of Israel, one wonders of Jacqueline Rose is considering a second volume of “The Question of Zion”; one that explains why disapora anti-Zionist Jews are, put simply, so raving mad.
    I look forward to reading it.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Regrettably, that would require far too much insight into her own psyche to be bearable, I would have thought.


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