ULU: Why We Voted for Boycott
Why has the BBC aired every DEC charity appeal except one – the Palestinian one (in 2009)? Why did the BBC recently beep the word ‘Palestine’ out of an MC’s song on the radio show 1Extra, as if it were a swear word? More...
Submitted by: Refaat Alareer on May 22, 11 | 5:01 pm

Address by Ronnie Kasrils: "Israel Apartheid Week":
by | Media Monitors Network | 17 March 2009
Ronnie Kasrils fought for decades against apartheid in his South African homeland, and with victory served in the governments of Nelson Mandela, and later Thabo Mbeki. He is featured on Media Monitors Network (MMN) with the courtesy of the Media Review Network (MRN), which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Mar 19, 09 | 10:03 am

Double standard on divestment
by Josh Reubner | IMEU | 8 Jan 2008
Today, two movements for the promotion of human rights in Sudan and Palestine seek to emulate the successful role played by boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in achieving democracy and equality in South Africa. The two movements, however, have received radically different receptions on Capitol Hill. This double standard testifies to official Washington's selectivity when it comes to promoting human rights around the globe and its tendency to overlook the faults of its allies while using human rights as a pretext to punish its adversaries. More...
Submitted by: antiprocon on Jan 08, 08 | 9:16 pm

Academic shock and awe
by Sharif Elmusa | Al-Ahram Weekly 27 September - 3 October 2007, Issue No. 864 | 27 September 2007
The Israeli lobby has enlisted US university presidents to its cause with no debate on US university campuses, writes Sharif Elmusa*

The Israeli emperor now wears only the clothes of apartheid. Many people are noticing and are speaking up. Some have taken steps to boycott this, perhaps the last, apartheid state. The wave includes a wide range of participants, from academic and labour unions to writers, artists, church and student groups and others. Together they speak of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Some of those in the forefront of the campaign are Jewish, including the art critic Peter Berger, Steven Rose at the Open University, and Israeli historian Ilan Pappe. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who labelled the Israeli system as worse than his country's former apartheid regime, endorsed divestment. What drew the ire of Israel and the Israel lobby the most, however, is a resolution by the British University and College Union (UCU) at its congress 30 May. The UCU resolution encourages its members to "consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israel academic institutions," and to forge closer relations with Palestinian universities. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Sep 29, 07 | 9:55 am

Israel boycott campaign momentum grows
by Emma Clancy | International News, Green Left Weekly issue #719 | 27 July 2007
The campaign to isolate Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) has taken meaningful steps forward in the past few months, with major trade unions in Britain, Ireland, South Africa and Canada declaring their support for an international boycott.

The BDS campaign has been gathering momentum since the 2004 "Call for Boycott" was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a coalition of more than 50 Palestinian civil society organisations. A May 27 PACBI statement explained that the boycott campaign "is based on the same moral principle embodied in the international civil society campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa: that people of conscience must take a stand against oppression and use all the means of civil resistance available to bring an end to oppression". More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Aug 28, 07 | 12:32 am

When does a citizen-led boycott of a state become morally justified?
by George Bisharat | San Francisco Chronicle | 15 August 2007
That question is raised by an expanding academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel. The movement joins churches, unions, professional societies and other groups based in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. It has elicited dramatic reactions from Israel's supporters. U.S. labor leaders have condemned British unions, representing millions of workers, for supporting the Israel boycott. American academics have been frantically gathering signatures against the boycott, and have mounted a prominent advertising campaign in American newspapers - unwittingly elevating the controversy further in the public eye. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Aug 28, 07 | 12:22 am

The ivory tower behind the Apartheid Wall
by Margaret Aziza Pappano | Electronic Intifada | 25 July 2007
In the last few weeks, university presidents across the US and Canada have rushed to issue statements about the proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the British University and College Union. They view this boycott as a serious violation of academic freedom. Yet, given the general failure of these leaders to comment on any number of infringements of academic freedom that have occurred in recent years, including those close to home in the form of the politically-motivated denial of tenure to Norman Finkelstein and the colleague, Mehrene Larudee, who very publicly supported him, the harassment of Columbia University professors Joseph Massad and Rashid Khalidi, and the intimidation of faculty by Campuswatch, one might be excused for concluding that university presidents prefer to remain above the political fray and reserve their office for grave and important but non-controversial pronouncements on tsunamis. But now, even in the midst of the hot and hazy summer recess, university presidents have mobilized their most imposing academic rhetoric in expressing solidarity with Israeli academics and upholding the rights of all to engage in "an open exchange of ideas" and "freedom of association." More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Jul 26, 07 | 4:58 pm

The time is now
by Colin Green | Education Guardian | 11 June 2007
Just as I campaigned for boycotts against apartheid in South Africa many years ago, now I shall do so against Israeli apartheid, says Colin Green

The strong and hostile response from pro-Israeli groups, as well as the UK government fearful of offending Israel, to a recent motion carried by a two thirds majority at the University and College Union (UCU) congress is in marked contrast to the joyful response of Palestinians, which has been almost totally supportive.
Perhaps the former have misunderstood that motion. After an open and very serious debate, one outcome upon which all agreed was that Israel is an oppressive state, illegally occupying territory for 40 years while ignoring numerous UN resolutions, international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Disagreement centred entirely on what the trade union movement could or should do about it. More specifically, we discussed the role of academic boycotts, which to all academics is normally an anathema. Free exchange of ideas and debate, however fierce, is central to our life. However, after 40 years without resolution, many of us believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict is the epicentre of a global conflagration so dangerous for all of us that abnormal responses have become an urgent, indeed desperate, moral imperative.

Even then, urgency notwithstanding, the motion passed was not calling for a boycott, but for a 12-month debate about an academic boycott. I suggest that that is in the best tradition of academic freedom and free speech. We will encourage Israeli academics to visit us, as indeed they did for weeks before the recent debate, and put their case for or against.

There are, after all, many Israeli humanitarian organisations and many Israeli individuals who believe that boycotts, sanctions and disinvestment are the only non-violent ways to force Israel to escape its descent into a pariah and rogue state. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Jun 11, 07 | 7:15 pm

UCU action threatens to cause a lasting rift
by Melanie Newman and Nathan Jeffay | Times Higher Education Supplement | 8 June 2007
The UCU vote for a possible boycott of Israel divides academe. Melanie Newman and Nathan Jeffay report.
Concerns are growing at home and abroad that supporters of a boycott have let the genie out of the bottle. It is feared that their actions may inflict lasting damage on the UK's reputation for academic freedom and fair play while failing to achieve the primary objective, namely securing a boycott against Israeli academe.

Academics and union members are also questioning the role of the University and College Union. Despite a personal condemnation of any move to a boycott by Sally Hunt, the union's general secretary, some claim that the union has been undermined by groups keen to hijack the organisation to further their political aims.

Some are calling for the union to become more like a professional association and focus on representing members' interests rather than political campaigns. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Jun 10, 07 | 10:11 am

Retaliation! If we can only find a way
by Schmuel Rosner | Haaretz | 8 June 2007
The British boycott exposed yet again the extent to which Israel depends on the help of the American Jewish community. But if American Jews react, what will the Brits say?

How to react to the so-called British boycott against Israel? This is a question asked by many players in the Jewish world after the University and College Union, Britain's largest teachers union, voted to consider an academic boycott of Israeli universities. How can one take revenge against a body on which one has no influence? And, even if it was possible, would revenge make British academia more reluctant to boycott Israel, or rather more prone to spite criticism and stay the course?

Various groups and activists were struggling this week to find a way with which to convey their protest and anger. The Jewish Funders Network, for one, started collecting money to support universities' exchange programs with Israeli institutions. "We are starting strong", Mark Charendoff of JFN wrote to Haaretz. He was the one taking the softer route, encouraging Israelis rather than retaliating against the Brits. One of JFN?s members, the Connecticut-based Goldhirsh Foundation, chose a more confrontational measure: it will not give any grants to British researchers. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Jun 10, 07 | 9:55 am

'We will isolate them'
by Matthew Taylor, Suzanne Goldenberg and Rory McCarthy | The Guardian | 9 June 2007
British academics' desire to boycott Israeli universities this week provoked the threat of legal action and counter-boycotts. Will it produce a fully-fledged international crisis?

As the pop group Girls Aloud ran through a sound check on the other side of the curtain, lecturers in the main hall at the Bournemouth International Centre tried to block out the music and concentrate on the matter in hand. In front of them was a motion calling for a nationwide debate on a proposed academic boycott of Israeli universities in protest at the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories.

As the discussions rumbled on, most of those in the hall for the University and College Union's (UCU) first annual conference on May 30 realised their decision would have ramifications beyond British academia. Few, however, could have predicted the scale of the backlash when the resolution, which called on the UCU to circulate a boycott request by Palestinian trade unions to all branches for "information and discussion", was passed by 158 votes to 99.

Within hours it was headline news in Britain and Israel, within days it was making waves in Europe and north America, and soon every newspaper from the Kansas City Star ("A stain on British academia") to the Turkish Daily News ("Israel discusses retaliation to boycott threats") was in on the act. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Jun 10, 07 | 9:31 am

U.K. public services union to consider boycott of Israel
by Assaf Uni and Haim Bior, Haaretz Correspondents | Haaretz | 1 June 2007
BRITAIN - The United Kingdom's public services union UNISON will consider a proposal for imposing a boycott on Israel during its annual conference in mid-June, in the wake of Wednesday's decision by a British lecturers union to back a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

UNISON representatives who are in contact with the Histadrut labor federation have in recent days presented the Histadrut's international activities director, Avital Shapira, with a copy of the proposal.

According to the proposal, UNISON, which has some 1.4 million members, will urge other British unions to follow its lead and cut off all economic and cultural ties with Israel.

Histadrut sources said the impression they have received is that UNISON will vote in favor of the boycott. The conference will be held June 19-22 in Brighton.

If approved, the boycott would have a significant practical, and not just symbolic, impact, given that the union enjoys large economic influence in Britain. More...
Submitted by: Mona Baker on Jun 08, 07 | 7:42 pm

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