The Academic Friends of Israel

            Press Release



For immediate release 4 June 2007



The Academic Friends of Israel condemns the University College Union for issuing a misleading statement on the boycott vote last week


The Academic Friends of Israel condemns the University College Union [UCU] for issuing a misleading statement on the boycott vote last week which did not include details of the pro-boycott measures which the motions instruct the union to carry out. The UCU effectively has become a platform for the campaign of the SWP and the other pro-boycotters organisations against Israel.


The UCU will be obliged to  circulate a Palestinian boycott call to all its local branches, support a speaking tour by Palestinian academics presumably supporting a boycott, encourage members to “consider the moral implications of links with Israeli academic institutions” and campaign for a “moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel via EU and European Science Foundation funding”. For an organisation supposedly representing academics – this is a suspiciously one-sided, debate stifling position.


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


“Sally Hunt once again has shown weak leadership and the inability to understand the issues, which as spokesman for the TUC on International affairs is inexcusable.  On one hand she has indicated to congress that the motion on anti-Semitism should be withdrawn because the NEC has a working plan on the matter. With the same breath she indicates she doesn’t see the benefit of voting for a boycott in Congress yet she doesn’t call for the withdrawal of those motions even though the NEC, which met on 4 May with its partner organisations produced a plan for UCU support of academics and Trade Unions in Palestine and Israel.


There are lots of question marks arising from such a behavior as well as with regard to Ms. Hunt’s personal view point on the matter. If she instructs the UCU to distribute to members details of the Palestinian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) – which effectively, according to the motion passed she needs to do, she and the UCU will be party to the PACBI aim of the destruction of the State of Israel. I therefore challenge her to publically state her personal opposition to an academic boycott of Israel”


He continued:



“The real significance of the UCU’s decision is that it confirms that the battleground is now the Trade Union movement not only in the UK but worldwide. In a few weeks time Unison, Britain largest union, will be asked to boycott Israel and the showdown will come at the Trades Union Congress, the supreme body for all UK Trade Unions at their meeting in September. Couple this with the recent Canadian and South African Unions boycott calls and the message is clear: Single out one country, one conflict and set your advocacy at them. There is a real threat that the entire British Trade Union movement will be hi-jacked by an extreme minority set to de-legitimise the right of Jews to self-determination. If that is not antisemitism, I would love to hear what is.”



The Academic Friends of Israel


P.O. Box 360