On Campus

UK lecturers vote to boycott Israeli universities

To avoid lawsuit, union leadership immediately voids vote

According to this story in the Guardian today, United Kingdom lecturers have overwhelmingly voted to boycott Israeli universities and colleges, saying that Israeli academics have been complicit in their government’s actions against Palestinians.

However, as soon as the vote passed it was declared void by the leadership of the University and College Union. Lawyers for the powerful union, which represents more than 120,000 academics, advised them to do so in order to avoid a lawsuit.

According to the Guardian, lecturers voted for a “boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign” against Israeli schools in protest against the country’s policies in the occupied territories, and also last January’s incursion into Gaza.

The vote was carried at the union’s  annual congress, and was the ninth time the contentious issue has arisen at the meeting.

However, lecturers remain divided on the issue. The University of Brighton’s Tom Hickey, who put forward one of two motions,  called on lecturers to “reflect on the moral and political appropriateness of collaboration with Israeli educational institutions”.

Whereas Sheffeld Hallam University’s Camilla Bassi said a boycott wouldn’t help anyone, and would be part of an “anti-Jewish movement” when what is really needed is more links between Israelis and Palestinians.

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