Friday, May 20, 2005
NUS Vote to oppose Boycott
NUS NEC notes
1. That last month, the Association of University Teachers' Council voted to organise a boycott of Haifa University and Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and circulate materials calling for a boycott of all Israeli academic institutions among AUT members.
2. That, following a campaign by AUT members, this decision is due to be revisited at a special AUT Council on 26 May.
NUS NEC believes
1. That a boycott of Israeli academic institutions demonises Israel by singling out for special treatment. Israel is in occupation of the Palestinian territories; but the US and UK are in occupation of Iraq, and no-one is calling for AUT members to boycott American universities or withdraw from their jobs at British ones! Israel is guilty of human rights violations, but advocates of a boycott are not calling for a boycott of China, a totalitarian state where no democratic rights exist and the labour movement is totally suppressed.
2. That the comparison repeatedly drawn with apartheid South Africa is wrong. Israel should withdraw from the Occupied Territories and concede the Palestinians' right to a state of their own, but Israel itself is not an illegitimate state. Moreover boycotts of cultural, academic and direct trade union links hindered, not helped the fight against apartheid.
3. That, therefore, a boycott will undermine Israeli academics who support Palestinian rights, and hinder the building of bridges between Israelis and Palestinians. We oppose an academic and cultural boycott that treats Israeli Jewish thinkers as though they were responsible for the sometimes brutal actions of the Israeli government.
NUS NEC therefore resolves
1. To oppose the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
2. To immediately issue a statement to this effect.
3. To work with the AUT members campaigning to reverse their union's policy on this issue.
4. To reaffirm our policy on Israel-Palestine: Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, a fully independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, solidarity with the Palestinians and Israeli internationalists.
Proposed: Alan Clarke