The Academic Friends of Israel


7 June 2007                                                                               

Dear Colleagues

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,,2094952,00.html

2. Responding to the Boycott by Shalom Lappin

3. Why the Boycott Should Outrage All Academics by Charles 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


Ronnie Fraser

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:

3. Petition against boycott issued by SPME President Ed Beck, Alan Dershowitz and 25 other US academics

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 Tibetis, 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.


Elizabeth Goldhirsh


The Goldhirsh Foundation



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,,2096819,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=11

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

Pressure Mounts for Boycott Retaliation

Why I have nothing to say about the British academic boycott

An academic boycott? An anti-Semitic boycott,7340,L-3409503,00.html

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,7340,L-3408704,00.html 

Dissecting the British academic boycott

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,,2094171,00.html

Yousef Alhelou: UK academics back proposal to boycott Israeli ...
UN Observer -

Research funders to disregard Israel boycott
Guardian Unlimited - UK,,2092516,00.html

Envoy: Academic boycott not UK policy

UK academic boycott of Israel slammed

Long trail of anti-Semitism in Europe, ministers say,7340,L-3407905,00.html

Boycott of Israel goes against the academic ethos

Foes of Brit Boycott Make Last Stand
Jewish Exponent - Philadelphia, PA,USA

Israel Condemns British Academic Boycott as 'Discriminatory' - Alexandria, VA,USA

Letters: Open debate on academic boycott
Guardian Unlimited - UK,,2092817,00.html

Israel denounces British academic boycott

Livni protests UK academic boycott of Israel,7340,L-3407478,00.html

Israel threatens British boycott

British Academics’ Union Endorses Israel Boycott , NY Times

Largest Labor Union in Britain May Consider a Boycott of Israel

Academics express outrage at Israeli boycott,,2092194,00.html

Israel Condemns British Academic Boycott as 'Discriminatory'

Israel denounces British academic boycott call

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

Israel should be regarded as a pariah state, with racist policies – letter from MEP Chris Davies

Ynet: “Israeli professor: UK boycott justified”,7340,L-3257291,00.html



The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks


Advisory Board: 

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

Amir Lev

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.