The Academic Friends of Israel
7 June 2007
Here is a round up of the latest news, opinion pieces and statements that have been issued in the last week since the UCU voted to consider again a boycott. It is not a complete list but it is intended to convey to you an idea of the outrage it has caused around the world. Tomorrow the new UCU executive meet for the first time and are expected to decide on how they intend to discuss a boycott of Israel at branch level. It is expected that they will go forward with this matter as half the new executive are from the UCU Left which has the support of the SWP.
I have split this digest into:
1. Boycott news
2. Articles against the boycott
3. Articles supporting the boycott
Since I do not expect anyone to read everything, I would recommend that you read the following:
1. Divide and rule? By Colin Shindler
2. Responding to the Boycott by Shalom Lappin http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/06/responding_to_t.html
3. Why the Boycott Should Outrage All Academics by Charles Small http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/06/05/small
4. What if Israelis had abducted BBC man? By Charles Moore
Finally I would like to bring your attention to the following event in London.
Nick Cohen, the Observer columnist and Author will be delivering the fifth Isaiah Berlin Annual Lecture:
What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way on Thursday 21st June @ 8 p.m.
At The Community Centre of The Hampstead Synagogue, Dennington Park Road, London NW6 1AX. If you would like to come, please RSVP to Ivor at email@example.com
Academic Friends of Israel
Latest Boycott news:
1. the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Declares Its Opposition to the UK University and College Union Motion Urging Support for "an International Boycott of all Israeli Academic Institutions"
2. UCU motion 31 calls for the UCU to campaign for a moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel via EU and European Science Foundation funding until Israel abides by UN resolutions.
The IAB and SPME received this letter from the European Commission in November 2006 clearly stating they are against such a suggested moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel.
The press release from November is pasted below and you can view the European Commission statement at: http://www.biu.ac.il/academic_freedom/EU.pdf
SPME have issued a petition calling for Non-Israeli Academics and Professionals to stand in Solidarity with Israeli Academic Colleagues by declaring themselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott.
Please consider signing this or passing it on to colleagues.
To Sign this petition go to
4. Letter from Goldhirsh Foundation, Boston, MA: Deeply Disappointed in Israel
Dear Ms Hunt
As a Director of a $150 million Foundation that supports scientists around the world in the quest for a cure for brain cancer, I am profoundly disappointed in your union's decision to boycott Israel today.
This action represents a severe setback for academic freedom and open discourse.Moreover, the decision to single out and demonize Israel above and beyond all other countries—remaining silent over Russia's brutal occupation in Chechnya, for example, or China's ongoing oppression of Tibet—is, at best, troubling.
At worst, it points to a far more sinister and tragic motivation. Equally disturbing is to do so at a time when Israel's civilians are facing near-daily missile attacks from Gaza and her partner for negotiations is an organization that dispatches suicide bombers and refuses to recognize the Jewish State's right to exist.
Given this decision, I am deeply saddened to say that while my Foundation had been considering opening up our scientific grant process to British researchers we will no longer be able to do so.
I urge you to work against this boycott and restore learning's highest ideal of fairness free of prejudice to British academia.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
The Goldhirsh Foundation
4. TO VIEW ALL UCU MOTIONS SEE: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2569
Articles against the boycott
Israel advocates [AFI] blast UCU remark
Jews divided on response to British boycott threat
Blair tells lecturers to call off Israeli boycott
Blair opposes British academic boycott of Israel
U.K. education minister coming to discuss academic ban on Israel
MELANIE PHILLIPS: Israeli boycotts show Britain's academic elite has taken leave of its senses http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/columnists/columnists.html?in_article_id=459662&in_page_id=1772&in_author_id=256
Pressure Mounts for Boycott Retaliation
Why I have nothing to say about the British academic boycott
An academic boycott? An anti-Semitic boycott
Britain is Not the Only Battleground, By Ben Cohen
Boycott? A Jew-hunt won't help the Palestinians
Cooperation is the answer: Expanding scientific collaboration with Britain best response to boycott, Eitan Gilboa
Yale Expert Responds to British Academic Union’s Boycott of Israel
ADL runs ads slamming academic boycott of Israel
UK baroness: Proposed Israel boycott 'outrageous'
Watch Benjamin Netanyahu On British Academic Boycott
Israel to Boycott the British Academic Boycott
This academic boycott is an empty gesture
Yousef Alhelou: UK academics back proposal to boycott Israeli ...
UN Observer -
Research funders to disregard Israel boycott
Guardian Unlimited - UK
Envoy: Academic boycott not UK policy http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1180450954999&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
UK academic boycott of Israel slammed
Long trail of anti-Semitism in Europe, ministers say
Boycott of Israel goes against the academic ethos www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/debate/letters/article1873266.ece
Foes of Brit Boycott Make Last Stand
Jewish Exponent - Philadelphia, PA,USA
Israel Condemns British Academic Boycott as 'Discriminatory'
CNSNews.com - Alexandria, VA,USA
Letters: Open debate on academic boycott
Guardian Unlimited - UK
Israel denounces British academic boycott
Livni protests UK academic boycott of Israel http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3407478,00.html
Israel threatens British boycott http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article1878463.ece
British Academics’ Union Endorses Israel Boycott , NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/world/europe/31britain.html
Largest Labor Union in Britain May Consider a Boycott of Israel http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/01/world/europe/01britain.html?em&ex=1180843200&en=c9b6b74b3957be76&ei=5087%0A
Academics express outrage at Israeli boycott
Israel Condemns British Academic Boycott as 'Discriminatory' http://www.cnsnews.com/news/viewstory.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200705/INT20070531b.html
Israel denounces British academic boycott call http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=853012007
Fury As Academics Are Sacked For Being Israeli
By Charlotte Edwardes, The Telegraph – London
Academic Fallout From Middle East
Ken Livingstone says he opposes academic boycott
Articles supporting the boycott
On the Academic Boycott of Israel
Virginia Tilley, The Electronic Intifada, 27 May 2007
Motion in support of Palestine passed at UCU conference
Monday’s FT had 3 letters regarding the UCU boycott including a rebuttal from Tom Hickey, proposer of the motion.
Steven Rose: Why pick on Israel? Because its actions are wrong http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article2611732.ece
Israel should be regarded as a pariah state, with racist policies – letter from MEP Chris Davies http://comment.independent.co.uk/letters/article2611726.ece
Ynet: “Israeli professor: UK boycott justified” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3257291,00.html
The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks
Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Henry Grunwald Q.C. - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
John D A Levy - Director of the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East
Andrew R. Marks, M.D. - Columbia University, USA
Dr Robin Stamler
Professor Leslie Wagner CBE
Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham
The Academic Friends of Israel Ltd is limited by guarantee and registered in England No 5297417.