UK university and college lecturers union attempt a boycott of Israeli universities and professors

No, I’m not kidding. The news of this intellectual bigotry comes courtesy of Haaretz Daily:

The largest university and college lecturers union in Britain is likely to decide shortly to recommend that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories.

The boycott motion, which was drafted by the southeast region of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), will be brought to a vote at its annual national conference, which will be held May 27-29. It comes about a year after the last boycott by British lecturers.

In April 2005, the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) decided to impose an academic boycott on Bar-Ilan and Haifa universities, but subsequently reversed the decision. The two lecturers organizations are slated to merge at the beginning of June.

Unlike the previous boycott, which targeted two specific institutions, the current motion relates to all lecturers and academic institutions in Israel. Now that the University of Haifa has threatened the AUT with a lawsuit, the NATFHE motion is more cautious: instead of recommending the lecturers union boycott Israeli institutions, it calls on the union to suggest its members carry out the boycott.

“The conference invites members to consider their own responsibility for ensuring equity and non-discrimination in contacts with Israeli educational institutions or individuals, and to consider the appropriateness of the boycott of those that do not publicly dissociate themselves from such policies,” the NATFHE motion states. It also encourages lecturers to hold meetings on the issue on campus.

‘Apartheid policies’

The motion explicitly says NATFHE will recognize Israeli policies, while at the same time denigrating them as “apartheid policies, including construction of the exclusion wall and discriminatory educational practices.”

Glenn Reynolds wonders if anti-Semitism is at play here.

I like Tigerhawk’s suggestion:

There is only one acceptable response to this boycott. The American Association of University Professors, the American counterpart of the British National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), should immediately declare a boycott of any professor, from any country in the world, who declares his support for NATFHE’s policy or acts in any way in furtherance of it. People such as the leaders of NATFHE must understand that they have forfeited their credibility as scholars, turned the stomachs of people who might otherwise respect them, and trampled on the principle of academic freedom. This boycott is simply shameful.


And very telling about the priorities that are in place the British university educational system.

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