[Debate] (Fwd) Israel BDS two steps forward, one back at British universities
lfcscally at hotmail.com
Thu May 28 15:03:39 BST 2009
I am currently a delegate at the UCU congress that overwhelmingly voted to adopt the BDS policy and as such our conference has ben historic with some real breakthroughs for the radical left in the union.
The main sticking point is that the pro-Zionists at the conference have tried to use the the idea that the union will be breaking the law if it adopts this policy. However, this is simply a bureauractic and anti-democratic attempt to pass a policy that the vast majority of delegates support. Also, the union has only been given legal advice that it 'may' be breaking the law. As such it is simply 'advice' and it has not been tested in practice-such is the overwhelming support for concrete Palestinian solidarity that we argued to test it in practice as a union.
> Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 15:48:31 +0200
> From: pbond at mail.ngo.za
> To: debate-list at fahamu.org
> Subject: [Debate] (Fwd) Israel BDS two steps forward, one back at British universities
> Lecturers vote to boycott Israeli universities
> Protest vote immediately declared void by university union
> by Jessica Shepherd
> Lecturers voted overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli universities and
> colleges today. Delegates said Israeli academics were complicit in their
> government's acts against Palestinians.
> But as soon as the vote was carried, the leadership of the University
> and College Union declared it void. Lawyers had advised the union to
> rule the vote null and void if passed, to avoid legal action against the
> The union's general secretary, Sally Hunt, said she "formally and
> personally commended" having the debate.
> The lecturers voted for a "boycott, disinvestment and sanctions
> campaign" against Israeli institutions in protest against Israel's
> policies in the occupied territories and January's incursion into Gaza.
> The vote was carried at UCU's annual congress in Bournemouth. It is the
> ninth time the deeply contentious issue of Israel and Palestine has
> This year feelings ran particularly deep as the vote came after a wave
> of student protests at 35 universities across the UK.
> Tom Hickey, from the University of Brighton, put forward one of two
> motions calling for lecturers to "reflect on the moral and political
> appropriateness of collaboration with Israeli educational institutions".
> Martin Ralph, from the University of Liverpool, called for a boycott,
> disinvestment and sanctions campaign. He also called for a separate
> conference to decide how to legally implement a boycott.
> But Camilla Bassi, from Sheffield Hallam University, said a boycott
> would "not help anyone" and would be "part of an anti-Jewish movement".
> She said: "It is a recipe against all Israelis when we need links
> between Israeli and Palestinian workers."
> Jeremy Newmark, joint head of Stop the Boycott, said: "Whether you are a
> trade unionist wanting a powerful union or whether you are a
> longstanding campaigner for peace, it is clear that the UCU has taken
> leave of its senses. There is the potential for this union to play a
> remarkable role at this hugely crucial time. If the UCU was a serious
> union representing their members they would be working to involve
> Israelis and Palestinians in each other's destiny."
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