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The Academic Friends of Israel
The Academic Friends of Israel
AFI Digest: Vol 7 No 13                                                     23 October 2008
1. UCU members threaten to sue own their union over Israel boycott
2. Sally Hunt, the TUC and the Histadrut
3. 2007-2008: Another Year of Global Academic Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism
4. Academic Anti-Zionism in Australia
5. Canadian "Students against Israeli “Apartheid” hooks kids on hatred.
6. Antisemitism among Palestinian Authority Academics
7. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel   Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)

1. UCU members threaten to sue their own union over Israel boycott

        Six months ago the UK Jewish community aka Stop the Boycott changed the boycott landscape when it obtained and published a legal opinion which stated that the University and College Union [UCU] congress motions promoted an academic boycott as well as being antisemitic. Whereas previously the community was playing “catch up,” they were now setting the agenda with the UCU. Since then the UCU has spent more money obtaining further legal advice but has made no public announcements on the matter. The legal opinion has also had an impact on other trade unions who have made it clear that they do not want to end up in a similar situation to the UCU by actively pursuing policies which call for a boycott of Israel.
        Last week the Education Guardian online reported that solicitors Mishcon de Reya have written to the University and College Union on behalf of a group of UCU members, to formally threaten legal action unless the boycott motion is abandoned.  
     The article stated that:
“On September 26, Mishcon de Reya wrote to Hunt warning her that unless UCU accepted within 14 days that the latest conference resolution was "ultra vires" – beyond its powers – a group of unnamed members would take it to court. As UCU members, its clients were entitled to sue the union and its trustees to force it to declare the resolution null and void, the letter said.”
      Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary told Education Guardian: "It is regrettable that some members of the union have apparently chosen to raise a grievance through the courts, rather than though the unions own democratic processes.”
     It makes you wonder where she has been not only for the last six months but also the last six years as she still fails to understand that the union has regularly adopted boycott policies which are discriminatory towards Jewish members and Israelis. Has she not read the UCU’s own legal opinion which resulted in the 2007 policy being abandoned? - then she asks why they haven’t used the union’s grievance procedures? - could it be that the union will be judge, jury and defendant…..
     The effect of this letter has been to maintain the pressure on the UCU not to reactivate the boycott call. Some may argue that this letter was unnecessary as the UCU has appeared to have abandoned the academic boycott and the UCU has moved on especially as the boycott has had its “15 minutes of fame.” Sadly they are misguided as Sally Hunt and her colleagues on the National Executive appear to be more determined than ever to continue their campaign to promote an academic boycott of Israel. Although the UCU has had almost no direct contact with the Israeli Teachers Unions or Israeli Universities in recent years it has maintained close contact with their Palestinian counterparts, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees [PFUUPE] who first endorsed the Palestinian boycott call in 2005.
      To read the Education Guardian’s stories in full:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/oct/14/internationaleducationnews-highereducation
The UCU’s response is available here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/oct/15/israel-universities-denial

2. Sally Hunt, the TUC and the Histadrut

      At last month’s Trade Union Congress [TUC] Sally Hunt in her role as TUC spokesman on International affairs was unable to find the time to meet with Avital Shapira-Shvirow, head of international relations at the Histadrut, the Israeli trade union organisation.
      Sally Hunt appears to be a bit like Yasser Arafat of whom it was said "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity". Her first missed opportunity was last year when a delegation of Israel academics came to the UK just before Congress to campaign against the academic boycott. Several UK pro-boycotters including Haim Bresheeth and Tom Hickey found the time to debate the issues with the visitors, but not Sally and her colleagues, their diaries were "full" and were too busy.
      During her three days in Brighton, Avital Shapira-Shvirow met with Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary a well as  the General Secretaries of several of major trade unions but not with Sally Hunt. There was an opportunity immediately after the international debate on the Wednesday afternoon, but the Head of the TUC International department, instead of Sally Hunt met with Avital Shapira-Shvirow andFathi Nasser, legal adviser to the Palestinian trade union organisation, the PGFTU.
      Sally Hunt, may think that in the current climate it is acceptable to "choose" which Israelis she wants to speak with but as TUC has a policy of working with both the Histadrut and the PGFTU, she should take the opportunity as TUC spokesman on International affairs to meet with the representatives of other trade union centres especially when they are visitors to the TUC Congress.
      Fathi Nasser told the Jewish Chronicle that the Palestinian Trade Unions organisation the PGFTU was not in favour of a general boycott: "We think there should be boycotts only of companies directly involved in building settlements and the apartheid wall."
For the full story see "Palestinians say no to Israel boycott" http://www.thejc.com/node/5349

3. 2007-2008: Another Year of Global Academic Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism

Manfred Gerstenfeld
     The academic year 2007-2008 saw ongoing anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incidents in various countries. Among them is Israel Apartheid Week, which has become an annual ritual in a number of cities on several continents. So have the calls of the University and College Union (UCU) in the United Kingdom for discriminatory measures against Israeli universities and academics. In several universities, such as the University of California, anti-Israelism is endemic.
Much of the visible anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism occurs in the academic world of Britain, Canada, and the United States. There are problems in many other countries as well. The situation is obfuscated by limited media attention…….
    To read the full essay:
http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=3&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=624&PID=0&IID=2518&TTL=2007-2008:_Another_Year_of_Global_Academic_Anti-Semitism_and_Anti-Israelism 

4. Academic Anti-Zionism in Australia

Ted Lapkin
      When it comes to radical trends including anti-Zionism, Australian campuses are like most other Western universities, only even more extreme. The ubiquity of left-wing politics in Australian academia means that writing about campus Israel-phobia requires discrimination since the range of subjects is so large. The focus here will be on just a few of Australia's most egregious academic anti-Zionists………
      To read the full essay:
http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=3&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=610&PID=0&IID=2637&TTL=Academic_Anti-Zionism_in_Australia

5. Canadian "Students against Israeli “Apartheid” hooks kids on hatred.

Barbara Kay
      The idea behind Students AgainstIsraeli Apartheid (SAIA) is to hook kids on hatred of the Jewish state while they are still wet behind the ears in their knowledge of Middle Eastern history, and vulnerable to the sophisticated play on emotions and pity these fulltime activists with no respect for truth bring to bear on their "victims." ……..
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/09/29/barbara-kay-students-against-israeli-apartheid-saia-are-even-more-hypocritical-than-you-thought-yes-it-s-possible.aspx

6. Antisemitism among Palestinian Authority Academics

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
      One of the primary objectives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its establishment in 1994 was to delegitimise Israel. These efforts were evident throughout Palestinian society and involved various channels including television, schoolbooks, and culture. The delegitimisation of Israel incorporated various hate messages, especially the denial of Israel's right to exist.
The academic community was likewise recruited to this undertaking. Professors, religious academics, teachers, and schoolbook authors are all participating in this hate promotion. Certain academics are chosen by the PA to indoctrinate the people using such public venues as PA TV and, particularly, educational broadcasting……
To read the full essay:
http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=3&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=624&PID=0&IID=2205&TTL=Anti-Semitism_among_Palestinian_Authority_Academics

7. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)

      The IICC isan NGO which focuses on issues concerning intelligence and terrorism.
Its website http://www.terrorism-info.org.il regularly reports on:
1. The Palestinian Authority and its policies regarding terrorism and terrorist organizations,  
2. Palestinian terrorist organizations and their activity during the lull in the fighting
3. Anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli incitement and hate propaganda.
4. Terrorism-sponsoring countries (especially Syria and Iran)
5. The global financing of terrorism
Two recent reports are:
Summary of the Palestinian terrorist organization and Arab media reactions to the Jewish-Arab violence in Acre
      The violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs in the northern Israeli city of Acre prompted a wave of reactions from the Palestinian terrorist organizations, Hezbollah and the Arab media. They were characterized by spiteful anti-Israeli incitementwhich in some instances attempted to fan the flames and continue the events, and possibly spread them to other Israeli cities. They accused Israel of wanting to expel the Arabs of Acre from their city as part of a general Israeli terrorist policy…….
      To read the report in full
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/oct_e003.htm
Hamas recently launched a new website called AqsaTube, an addition to its extensive Internet presence
      Hamas makes intensive use of its website network to wage the battle for the hearts and minds of its various target audiences in the Palestinian Authority and worldwide. It recently launched a new Internet site called “AqsaTube.” It is a file-sharing site enabling users to upload videos. Its format and design are similar to the American YouTube's. Its name and logo are also similar to YouTube's, and without a doubt were inspired by them. The Hamas site, however, is devoted entirely to propaganda and incitement………
     To read the report in full:
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/mt_e003.htm
     Update 1: Following the ITIC report on Hamas‘s AqsaTube, it was removed by its French ISP from the net.
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/mt_e004.pdf
    Update 2: A week after AqsaTube was removed from the Internet, it returned in a similar format and with support from a Russian company.
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/mt_e005.htm