Philosophy Professor David-Hillel Ruben reisgns from UCU

Dear Sally Hunt,

As a life long socialist and a member of the AUT/UCU for almost 42 years, I could not have imagined that anything could have made me resign from the union. I have grown accustomed to the UCU’s annual adoption of illegal Israel boycott motions. But my imagination was obviously limited: the official UCU rejection of the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) working definition of anti-Semitism has accomplished just that. It has brought about my resignation from the union.

One part of that working definition rejected by the union stands out: it is anti-Semitic to ‘deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination’, within some borders, unspecified as what they might be. It is hard for me to comprehend how anyone could consider this relatively anodyne claim as unacceptable, let alone reject it as a current form of anti-Semitism, which it most certainly is.

I have no doubt that there remain some individual Jewish members of the UCU. Many publicly identify as Jews only for the purpose of opposing Israel ‘as Jews’ and at no other times. But I can no longer allow my dues to support a union that is institutionally racist and that has demonstrated its anti-Semitism so repeatedly and unashamedly. I am therefore resigning my membership of the union with immediate effect.

David-Hillel Ruben, Professor of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London


In 2009 UCU Congress was asked to mandate the union to investigate these resignations.  But Congress said no, it didn’t want an investigation into why people were resigning from the union citing antisemitism as a reason.

Jon Pike, Open University, Resignation from NEC

Ariel Hessayon,  Goldsmiths

Michael Yudkin, David Smith and Dennis Noble, Oxford

Shalom Lappin, King’s College, London   

Raphaël Lévy, Liverpool University

Jonathan G. Campbell, Bristol University  

Colin Meade, London Metropolitan University 

Eric Heinze,  QMUL

Tim Crane, Univesity College London

Eve Garrad, Keele University

Dov Stekel, University of Birmingham

Raphaël Lévy, University of Liverpool

Sarah Brown, Anglia Ruskin University

Mira Vogel, Goldsmiths

Robert Fine’s account of Congress, Warwick U

Norman Geras, Manchester University

Eva Fromjovic, Leeds University

Robert Simon, LSE

Lesley Klaff, Sheffield Hallam

Deborah Steinberg, Warwick

David Hirsh, Goldsmiths

Stephen Soskin, Buckinghamshire New University

Ronnie Fraser, Barnet College

Ben Gidley, Oxford

76 UCU members signed a public protest about UCU’s failure to take seriously the criticism made against it by the Parliamentary Inquiry. Read their protest, published in the Times Higher.

39 UCU members signed a public protest at the UCU’s refusal to meet with Ger Weisskirchen at his request. Weisskirchen is the OSCE’s Chairman-in-Office Representative on antisemitism. The protest, which went unheeded and ignored by the UCU.

7 Responses to “Philosophy Professor David-Hillel Ruben reisgns from UCU”

  1. Bill Says:

    The UCU’s “self-selection*” process continues. Eyes in the Human Resources office are beginning to roll. Has Hunt been making calls to these people? If my organization were hemorrhaging any demographic in such a manner, I would feel pressed to start talking directly to these people at a personal level. Unless she’s resigned to the process or just fine with it — *a pattern of creating a hostile and unwelcoming work environment when the end results walk, talk and quack like her (and her favored people). (Jiminy Christmas! Have any of these people been through management training?!?!?!)

  2. conchovor Says:

    It may be appropriate to paste this latest from Sacks:

    ‘The antisemitism of the 19th century was not the crude anti-Judaism of the Church. Similarly, the new antisemitism of the 21st century is not the racist antisemitism of the 19th. It is not directed against individual Jews but against Jews as a nation. It is not spread by conventional means but by the new technologies of communication – websites, e-mail, blogs and social networks – that are almost impossible to monitor and control.’

  3. Joseph Mintz Says:

    Dear Professor Rubin,

    I have written a letter to Sally Hunt expressing my concerns at the recent Congress motion on the EUMC definition. I hope you won’t mind that I adapted some of your wording for that.
    Joseph Mintz

  4. This is embarassing! Tories come for UCU’s weakspot « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    […] It is embarassing because he’s right.  The union does have a problem with institutional antisemitism.  Engage has been providing the evidence for this for years now.  Here for example. […]

  5. Karl Pfeifer: Britische Gewerkschaft UCU der Diskriminierung beschuldigt - Analysis - SPME Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Says:

    […] der Mangel an Bereitschaft sich mit Mitglieder auseinanderzusetzen die Bedenken äußern[02 ], die Weigerung den für Antisemitismus zuständigen Vertreter der OSCE zu treffen, die Ablehnung […]

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