As a delegate to the utterly shameful Association of University Teachers Council last week, I think it important to supply a correction to reports on the "debate" leading to the approval of three of the four Israeli boycott motions.
Far from the vote following from a "vigorous" or "heated" debate, there was no debate at all. Before the motions were put to the meeting, the chair ruled that only one delegate from each branch could talk to the motions. Once the motions were put to the meeting, the chair then ruled that council would move directly to the voting without debate - this greatly favoured the emotively charged and strongly put motions.
Despite the strategic bias, each vote required a count and all were borderline. A debate, indeed, could have had a significant effect. Not least because three of the motions placed offered the council only one view of the particular story presented: the simple justice of permitting the accused the opportunity to respond was cynically denied.J The AUT, nationally and in individual branches, needs to recover its highly tarnished name by seeking to overturn the shameful behaviour of last week and returning to the root values of university teachers - the members - in promoting dialogue and understanding rather than closing the door on critical discussion.
The Israeli Government is clearly acting outside international law and with complete disregard for anything approaching justice: the point is to challenge it and to encourage our academic colleagues in Israel to challenge what it does, rather than merely copy that Government's reprehensible approach.