The Israel question 2

February 2, 2007

Secretary of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, and UCU member As a rank-and-file member with a deep concern for social justice I have been considering the issue of the proposed University and College Union boycott of Israeli academics and academies quite carefully.

While I sympathise deeply with the intentions of many of the boycott's proponents, I am uneasy about the likely effects of blanket action.

After all, I am aware that increasing numbers of Israelis are themselves very unhappy with their own Government's policies. They need help and encouragement to develop and articulate their opposition to a state structure dominated by demagogues.

Therefore, it seems to me that an official boycott of an entire class of people (Israeli academics) and, presumably, their institutions, would be counterproductive.

Surely it is more sensible for our union to take a proactive role, strongly supporting Palestinian academics and academies in their daily struggles against Israeli state policy while simultaneously creating a meeting space for everyone concerned about social justice, including concerned Israelis, to meet, discuss and to forge an ever grander coalition for social justice? If asked by my union - the UCU - I would vote against a crude boycott.

Chad Staddon

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