The lecturers' union the UCU has voted through a boycott of Israeli academic institutions; Here's the PA version:
ACADEMICS VOTE TO BACK BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI UNIVERSITIES
By Tim Ross, PA Education Correspondent
Academics provoked outrage from the Jewish community tonight after voting to
back calls for a boycott of Israeli universities in protest at the treatment of
The University and College Union (UCU) passed a motion urging lecturers to
consider their consciences and boycott Israeli institutions.
But Jewish leaders condemned the vote as a "frightening" assault on academic
The motion, which was passed by a margin of two-to-one after more than an
hour's debate, came two years after the UCU's predecessor union, the Association
of University Teachers, backed a similar boycott.
That decision, in 2005, drew an angry response from diplomats, academics and
writers around the world.
Today's vote at the union's annual congress in Bournemouth reopened the
controversy and sparked immediate demands for the policy to be reversed.
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said:
"Now is the time to strengthen the kinds of relationships that will bring all
sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict together.
"We call upon the union's leadership and all members who are rightly outraged
by the decision to work towards a reversal of this policy."
Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, branded the
motion "an assault on academic freedom".
He said: "While the vast majority of academics do not support a boycott, this
decision damages the credibility of British academia as a whole."
Tamar Shchory, chair of the World Union of Jewish Students, described the vote
as "frightening", adding: "The climate of hostility towards the state of
Israel and Jewish students is getting stronger.
"It seems UCU has chosen a one-sided position in a very complex and sensitive
Conference delegates backed the motion by 158 votes to 99, with 17
The motion urged lecturers to "consider the moral implications of existing and
proposed links with Israeli academic institutions".
And the union's leadership must now circulate calls from Palestinians for a
boycott of Israeli universities to all branches throughout the country for
discussion, the motion said.
But here's the difference - unlike the NUJ, where unrepresentative people at ADM can impose a policy most members do not support, the UCU has more democratic mechanisms. So their boycott will have to clear a number of hurdles - including discussions at branch meetings. What's more their General Secretary Sally Hunt said in her election manifesto that she thought an issue of this improtance ought to be put to a ballot of all members. Would that our own General Secretary had shown such leadership.