to promote a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, protesting Israel's policy on the Palestinians. Jewish and Israeli officials in the U.K. and Israel reacted with outrage to the motion which, for the most part, is a rhetorical move.
The motion was approved by a 158 to 99 vote, and called for freezing European funding for Israeli academic institutions, while condemning "Israeli academia's cooperation with the occupation."
In addition, the UCU decided to bring the question of whether to boycott Israel up for discussion by all the union's members, numbering about 120,000. The discussions are scheduled to take place over the next 12 months. The motion encouraged union members to "consider the moral implications of conducting ties with Israeli academic institutions."
We, Israeli professors for justice and peace, do hereby appeal to researchers, academics, scholars, and teachers in Israel and throughout the world to take a firm and clear stand against continuing occupation and denial of rights. We are of course referring to the continuing occupation of territories by Britain in which Britain clearly has no right to be. We demand that all British universities be boycotted and all academics at those universities be boycotted until these same people and institutions come out clearly and openly in favor of immediate unconditional removal of all British occupation from these territories. We demand a moratorium on all funding of academic research in Britain by sources for funding everywhere and divestment from Britain in all its forms.
Unlike Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the latter of which is not occupied any longer in any way, which has lasted a mere 40 years, but Britain's occupations of territories has lasted centuries. Take for example the clearly illegal British occupation of Gibraltar. There Britain maintains an illegal settlement in open defiance of all international accepted standards of legitimacy and concepts of national rights. Moreover, Britain has placed there an illegal security fence that prevents non-British nationals from entering Gibraltar. This apartheid fence is a human rights atrocity and must be torn down at once. And until it is, the entire world should divest from Britain and boycott British universities.
Then there are those clearly illegal British settlements constructed on occupied Argentinian territory in the Falkland Islands. What clearer example is there of the continuing colonial aggression of white European imperialism against the Third World?!
But Britain's illegal settlements have also been constructed elsewhere. Britain continues to maintain settlements on the Channel Islands that obviously belong to France. While it is true that Britain earlier ended its occupation of Hong Kong and India, that is no excuse for its settlements elsewhere.
Another Israeli-American, author Naomi Ragen, has also decided to boycott the boycotters, e mailing her readers that
I think the time has come for academics all over the world to consider a boycott of British lecturers. I'm sure there are many professors and lecturers on my list who would be able to help. We should publicize the names of the 158 lecturers who voted in favor of this, and make sure that they are not invited, their papers aren't published, and that the institutions of higher learning that employ them find it increasingly difficult to find funding for their
research, academic cooperation and cultural exchanges.
Anti-semites in academia should not get a free pass.
An academic and Nobel laureate has cancelled a planned visit to a London university because of what he perceives to be "a widespread anti-Israel and anti-semitic current in British opinion".
Steven Weinberg, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, had been invited to Imperial College in July to speak in honour of a Pakistani physicist, Abdus Salam, and to deliver a talk at a conference on particle physics.