Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Academics vote on Israel boycott

Following the vote by the National Union of Journalists to boycott Israel, the UK’s largest professional association for lecturers and researchers is gearing up to vote on similar boycott proposals. There had already been an agreed motion for its members to ‘boycott Israeli universities and academics who do not dissociate themselves from their government’s policies’, and the new motion builds on this. It reads:

Israel's 40-year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement… The union deplores the denial of educational rights for Palestinians by invasions, closures, checkpoints, curfews, and shootings and arrests of teachers, lecturers and students…and condemns the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation.

Such anti-Israel and anti-Semitic expression is becoming so commonplace that to express anything to the contrary is increasingly considered tantamount to racism. NATFHE has said nothing about boycotting China, Iran, Sudan, North Korea or Zimbabwe, all of which have appalling records in ‘human rights’.

And these are supposed to be the nation’s academics. They must have attended some of those grammar schools that Mr Cameron finds so deficient…


Anonymous DuSanne said...

In fairness, your grace, it must be noted that the UCU (into which NATFHE is now absorbed) recommends against this motion.

It appears that University of Brighton, Grand Parade, co-sponsors of the motion (Number 30) also fear the rank and file members of their union, whose minds, less sorely afflicted by ravages of socialism, may also be less susceptible to their bigoted views.

They also propose an amendment to part of motion 29, which seeks to allow the views of all members to be represented, replacing a sensible provision:

“any motion passed at this, or a future congress, that restricts academic freedom in any way, that motion will be put to a ballot of all members with a brief statement of arguments for and against before becoming, if supported, UCU policy;”


“motions to Congress that might restrict academic freedom should only be submitted where intended to preserve a higher purpose;”

In other words, they are not that keen the membership to vote on such contentious policy items, in case their own vile views on what constitutes a ‘higher purpose’ should be questioned.

30 May 2007 at 12:17  
Anonymous bob said...

I have no particular stance on the issue, but I simply wish to ask a purely objective question out of curiosity - is it possible to object to an action of the state of Israel without being deemed an anti-Semite? Is it possible to be anti-Israeli but not anti-Semitic or are the two practically lexically coterminous?

30 May 2007 at 12:33  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Bob,

It most certainly is (and in the past His Grace most certainly has), but such objection would presuppose that nations guilty of similar and worse transgressions would be equally condemned. Since they are not, the motivation must emanate from an inherent anti-Semitism.

30 May 2007 at 12:46  
Anonymous bob said...

Thak you, Your Grace. Your point is well made. I was objectively curious and not wishing to cause any offence or detract from the topic, apologies if I did either.

30 May 2007 at 12:56  
Blogger EUBanana said...

I think more curiously, as Israel is a democracy, involved in a highly political struggle (ie terrorism), people can actually make a difference here with their puff and hot air and thus Israel attracts such measures.

Boycotting North Korean academics - would North Korea even notice? It's a siege state. Not even the most ardent peacenik could make a dent in that fortress state.

30 May 2007 at 14:40  
Anonymous Observer said...

It is funny that the Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesmann was formerly the Head of AUT and has a Communist pedigree.....this union (NATFHE) has all the right-on politicos from places like N E London Polytechnic now with a new name - and the Poly Brigade as Brighton University etc with the Women's Studies and the Marxist fetishists.......

What they really need is a huge cut in public funding in Brown's upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review to focus attention on meeting mortgage payments which is what most members of this union on their temporary contracts and contingent working would prefer

30 May 2007 at 16:24  
Anonymous דָנִיֵּאל said...

Its very upsetting to see a nation whose only crime is to defend its people against those who deliberately target innocents in the name of their "cause".
I say this as a Jew having family in Israel who are suffering because of the Palestinian terrorists. No one here in Britain really knows what it is like out there; knowing that every day could be your last or that you could loose someone you love.
If the price we must pay for defending ourselves is international opposition so be it. We put our own people first.

30 May 2007 at 18:09  
Anonymous Colin said...

I love His Grace's conclusion.

"They must have attended some of those grammar schools that Mr Cameron finds so deficient…"

30 May 2007 at 21:18  
Anonymous Voyager said...

This Conference must be under the auspices of the Royal College of Psychiatrists especially the Colleges of Further Education types from Oxford who want teachers prohibited from anything but glowing recommendations on gay relationships as preferable to any conventional form of marriage

This is Crackpots At Large and typical of the poorly-educated loudmouth trades union tendency that has left the factories and emerged in Colleges and Schools......the Red Robbos have found sanctuary in publicly-funded education

When scientists like Steven Weinberg feel unable to visit these shores because of the crackpot and ignorant loutish behaviour of these delinquents masquerading as educators, we have a serious problem affecting our national interests and freedom of thought.

31 May 2007 at 07:08  
Anonymous Tom P said...

EUbanana: I agree entirely. I've argued before that Israel attracts much more attention precisely because it is an open society where journalists can ply their trade freely and stay in nice hotels. The surge of journalists leaving the maelstrom of Iraq for the relative calm of the Lebanese conflict last summer, was almost tangible.

Of course, the very idea of a boycott is ridiculous but entirely befits the moral relativism of the left and most of the mainstream media. Furthermore, the notion that Israel is the root of all the worlds ills and not just the distended grievances of Islamicists, is fast becoming the accepted narrative on the subject.

31 May 2007 at 10:02  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

“the Red Robbos have found sanctuary in publicly-funded education”

What can you expect when we have an Education Minister Alan Johnson, next-door neighbour to that boorish pugilist Prescott, who is proud of the fact he left School with not a single qualification. Not even a GCE in woodwork, never bothered to study, never sat an exam, the British Education Minister in 2007, what else is there to be said?

31 May 2007 at 11:04  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace, while I generally agree with your comments about the boycott, one must be careful not to jump to the conclusion that anyone who wants this must be anti-semitic.

Other nations with similar transgressions are not condemned with the same voracity for lots of reasons. There is the point that Eubana makes - Israel is a democracy, and one therefore expects more from it.

But more importantly I think, the Left is angry with America for its perceived support of Israel and hates Israel for its perceived special treatment.

I think boycotts like these are more about pride and anger with America, not Israel. North Korea is not backed by Bush in any sense. So the Left does not resent it.

This isn't to say of course that people in general may or may not be anti-semitic and that anti-semitism can reveal itself in a variety of subtle ways. I just don't think this is one of them.

The logical conclusion to that way of thought would be that the Left is more anti-semitic than the Right. And that takes us down a very strange road indeed.

31 May 2007 at 16:41  
Anonymous Observer said...

When the US institutions respond by severing contact with British Universities quite a few research projects should go down the tubes.

If there is a repetition of that disgusting incident involving an Israeli PhD student applying to Oxford and being abused by the Head of Department there should be severe gets tiresome having moneys running the experiments in British institutions

31 May 2007 at 16:50  
Blogger The Tin Drummer said...

North Korea is not backed by Bush in any sense. So the Left does not resent it.

More like, North Korea is part of the left, so it does not resent it.

The logical conclusion to that way of thought would be that the Left is more anti-semitic than the Right. And that takes us down a very strange road indeed.

I think if you start to make implications that the Left cannot be antisemitic, or that the locus of antisemitism can never change and is forever of the Right, then you're just closing your eyes and resting where you feel most comfortable.

1 June 2007 at 16:05  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Hello Tin Drummer
I am not saying that the Left cannot be antisemitic. Indeed, I would argue that there is a kind of latent anti-semitism in everyone. But there isn't more of it in a left-wing minded person than a right-winger. And I do think the onus then is on you to show how or why that might be the case.

North Korea is part of the Left? Oh, you mean that Pyongyang reads the Guardian and buys fair trade bananas?

2 June 2007 at 23:03  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"But there isn't more of it in a left-wing minded person than a right-winger."
But in this country, at the moment, observably, according to the evidence, there IS more of it in left-wing minded people. Perhaps this "ought" not to be so, but if so, why?

3 June 2007 at 16:36  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Little Black Sambo - You can't just state that left-wing people are more anti-semitic as a response to my very valid questioning of the claim in the first place. You have to ARGUE the point. It is for YOU to tell me why, and how, and in what way this is demonstrated.

3 June 2007 at 18:50  
Blogger Cato, author of said...

I am afraid to say, as your Grace has probably by now discovered, that the UCU did indeed pass its anti-Israeli motion at its annual congress. The whole affair seems to have been a Marxist love-in. It is particularly telling that a motion which would have forced the UCU to include anti-semitism in its discrimination awareness campaign was dropped.

I have written about the whole sordid affair on my own blog, here:

7 June 2007 at 21:04  

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