Green party

Greens back academic boycott of Israeli universities

31 May 2007

UCU Congress support calls for an academic boycott of Israeli Universities.

The largest trade union for university and FE staff, the University and College Union, has voted to boycott Israeli Academic Institutions and condemn the 'complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation.'

The text of the motion passed notes that "Israel's 40-year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement ... deplores the denial of educational rights for Palestinians ... and believes that in these circumstances passivity or neutrality is unacceptable."

Dr. Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker and UCU member commented:

"As a member of the UCU, I teach as a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths College, I have long supported the academic boycott. It is important to act in solidarity with Palestine. Israel is crushing Palestinian hopes everyday, the boycott is an important part of the struggle towards a just settlement in the Middle East.

"Our voices could help halt the construction of the Wall and to do a little to build a better future for all communities in the Middle East.

"Palestine's pain breeds conflict, environmental devastation and injustice. I am urging UCU delegates to support the motion and the demonstration on June 9th against the wall."

Green MEP Dr. Caroline Lucas, a member of the European parliament's cross-party delegation to the occupied territories and co-founder and Co-President of the European Parliament's cross-party Peace Initiatives group has issued a statement in regard of the motion. She said:

"The time is right to consider a boycott of Israeli universities. The international community must support the Palestinian civil society organisations that are calling on us to act."

The text of Dr. Lucas' statement follows:

"The ongoing Israeli policy of withholding tax revenues from Palestinian Universities is just one way in which the Occupying Power is denying the human right to education. Ever tighter controls on freedom of movement also prevent new Palestinian students from attending Israeli Universities and disrupt the studies of those already enrolled on courses. Whilst some Israeli academics have spoken out against state oppression of the Palestinian people, their institutions have failed to condemn the violations of academic freedom that occur, and in some instances are complicit in active discrimination against Arab students. I, therefore, believe that the time is right to consider a boycott of Israeli Universities - in order to place pressure on the Israeli authorities and to support Palestinian civil society organisations that are calling on the international community to act."

ENDS

Notes for Editors

Information on the vote and the full motion before the UCU congress can be found at www.ucu.org.uk