Boycott still possible

May 19, 2006

It is untrue that the policy passed at the Association of University Teachers council last Thursday would "in effect rule out any future boycott of Israeli universities" ("Differences of policy over Israel could spark row in merged union", May 12).

The report of the investigative commission provides for escalating action (beginning with "greylisting" and progressing to full boycott) of an overseas institution after "a request from a legitimate organisation within the state, or within the occupied territory or institution in question".

Greylisting or boycotting may be imposed even without an external call "where institutions or branches of institutions are established in territories under unlawful occupation as defined by United Nations' resolutions".

Palestinian trade unionists have been calling loudly for the past two years for boycotts of Israeli universities.

The AUT and Natfhe are independent organisations until June 1 and have every right to determine their own positions. No doubt there are differences of policy on a number of issues that the Univer-sity and College Union will need to resolve. This is only a "big problem" for people who want to stifle further debate on the issues.

Sue Blackwell and Kamel Hawwash

Elected members of AUT special commission on Israel/Palestine

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